Book review: That Every Man Be Armed, by S.P. Halbrook
That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution Of A Constitutional Right, by Stephen P. Halbrook.
This is a very good book. It seeks to be the authoritative book that covers the history, justification and nature of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. In my opinion, it does an admirable job at that. In one place, the author has covered the historical underpinnings (from Rome, Greece, British common law and the founding of the U.S.), the case law and the philosophy behind this important right of any free people.
An excerpt from Ch3 (p.55), The American Revolution and the Second Amendment:
'Strongly influenced by the philisophical classics and vigorously insisting on their common-law rights, the Americans who participated in the Revolution of 1776 and adopted the Bill of Rights held the individual right to use arms against tyranny to be fundamental. British firearms control policies that had been originally established to disarm and thereby conquer Indians came to be applied against the settlers themselves ...'
'After the armed populace had won the Revolution and the Constitution had been proposed, the Federalists promised that the new government would have no power to disarm the people. The anti-Federalists predicted that a standing army and select militia would come to overpower the people. In 1791, the American federal Bill of Rights was ratified, in part, as a formal recognition that private individuals would never be disarmed.'
I have several books of various flavors that discuss the topic, but none have quite the weight of this one. It's relatively short, but dense. It will take a few weeks to read, given the depth of the material, despite only being 200 pages in length. Halbrook clearly illustrates where the 2A RKBA came from, what the motivations were of people throughout modern history to seek this power of the people, and where the U.S. citizens' right came from. It identifies many of the key discussions and debates surrounding the Bill Of Rights around the time of the founding of the U.S. It identifies the key attacks against the 2A over the past 200+ years. It clarifies the philosophy behind the 2A in a way that's accessible and meaningful.
Written in 1984, ironically, the copy I read was printed, ironically, in 1994, by The Independent Institute. He must have planned that well. For $5 or so, you can pick up a used copy at Amazon or elsewhere. Halbrook holds a JD and PhD, and his scholarship is clearly shown, here.
Highly recommended. An eye-opener, no matter what your background. I think there are elements here that will interest anyone who is interested in the history of the 2A RKBA. Want an excellent overview the the 2A? This should be on your short list of books.