The Second Amendment & NYC


Glenn Reynolds is Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee. Reynolds is also the Instapundit, an important and prolific blogger. His book An Army of Davids, is highly recommended.

So are these pieces on the Second Amendment.

Reynolds, Glenn Harlan, “A Critical Guide to the Second Amendment” . 62 Tenn. L. Rev. 461-511 (1995).

Reynolds, Glenn Harlan and Kates, Donald, “The Second Amendment and States’ Rights: A Thought Experiment” . 36 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1737-1768 (1995)

Reynolds, Glenn Harlan and Denning, Brannon P., “Telling Miller’s Tale” . 65 Law & Contemp. Probs. 113 (Spring 2002)

The Second Amendment is the reef upon which Rudy Giuliani’s Presidential run may, and should, founder. Let us examine why the Second Amendment is a problem for the ex-Mayor.

Here, Guiliani tells Sean Hannity that he understands the Second Amendment to be optional depending upon demographics and circumstance.


HANNITY: Let me move on. And the issue of guns has come up a lot. When people talk about Mayor Giuliani, New York City had some of the toughest gun laws in the entire country. Do you support the right of people to carry handguns?

GIULIANI: I understand the Second Amendment. I support it. People have the right to bear arms. When I was mayor of New York, I took over at a very, very difficult time. We were averaging about 2,000 murders a year, 10,000…

HANNITY: You inherited those laws, the gun laws in New York?

GIULIANI: Yes, and I used them. I used them to help bring down homicide. We reduced homicide, I think, by 65-70 percent. And some of it was by taking guns out of the streets of New York City. [There is no evidence for this.]

So if you’re talking about a city like New York, a densely populated area like New York, I think it’s appropriate. You might have different laws other places, and maybe a lot of this gets resolved based on different states, different communities making decisions. After all, we do have a federal system of government in which you have the ability to accomplish that.

HANNITY: So you would support the state’s rights to choose on specific gun laws?

GIULIANI: Yes, I mean, a place like New York that is densely populated, or maybe a place that is experiencing a serious crime problem, like a few cities are now, kind of coming back, thank goodness not New York, but some other cities, maybe you have one solution there and in another place, more rural, more suburban, other issues, you have a different set of rules.

HANNITY: But generally speaking, do you think it’s acceptable if citizens have the right to carry a handgun?

GIULIANI: It’s not only — I mean, it’s part of the Constitution. People have the right to bear arms. Then the restrictions of it have to be reasonable and sensible. You can’t just remove that right. You’ve got to regulate, consistent with the Second Amendment.

HANNITY: How do you feel about the Brady bill and assault ban?

GIULIANI: I was in favor of that as part of the crime bill. I was in favor of it because I thought that it was necessary both to get the crime bill passed and also necessary with the 2,000 murders or so that we were looking at, 1,800, 1,900, to 2,000 murders, that I could use that in a tactical way to reduce crime. And I did.

The Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

What part of “shall not be infringed” is subject to the “reasonable and sensible” “tactical” requirements of the Mayor of New York City? What sort of Mayor favors violating the Constitution because the Brady Bill was “part of the crime bill.” – because the ends justify the means?

Leaving abortion to the States, Rudy, in combination with appointing constructionist judges (a “trust me”), might even fly. Dodging “do you think it’s acceptable if citizens have the right to carry a handgun?” with, “You’ve got to regulate, consistent with the Second Amendment.”, will not.

And it makes me really, really wonder about what you mean by “constructionist judges.” Really, really wonder.

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