Sticking To Our Guns: Our Basic Right or a Public Peril?

Joyce Lee Malcolm

Professor of Law, George Mason University

Videography by Nerine & Robert Clemenzi, Edited by Nerine Clemenzi
Copyright © Philosophical Society of Washington.  All rights reserved.


The shootings at Newtown revived an emotional debate over whether ordinary citizens are safer having firearms for self-defense or whether guns in their hands are a danger to public safety. Are more "gun-free zones" the answer, more restrictions on gun-ownership, or the reverse, more citizens armed to protect themselves and each other? The right of Americans to keep and bear arms, our Second Amendment, is a legacy from Great Britain yet in the last century our two countries have taken opposite approaches to the issue of public safety. This talk will focus on the paths taken by each country and the impact for their people.

About the Author:

Joyce Lee Malcolm

Joyce Lee Malcolm is a Professor of Law at George Mason University. She is a historian and constitutional scholar active in the area of constitutional history, focusing on the development of individual rights in Great Britain and America. She has written many books and articles on gun control, the Second Amendment, and individual rights. Her work was cited several times in the recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller. She has taught at Princeton University, Bentley College, Boston University, and Northeastern University. She was a Senior Advisor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Security Studies Program and also was a Visiting Scholar at Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies. She was a Bye Fellow at Robinson College, Cambridge University. She earned an BA at Barnard College and an MA and PhD at Brandeis University. She has published numerous articles in scholarly journals and seven books. Her most recent book, "Peter's War: A New England Slave Boy and the American Revolution" was a Pulitzer nominee. She is a frequent contributor to the editorial pages of national media, including The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, USA Today, and The Boston Globe.

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