The Constitutional Right to Bear Arms Has Outlived Its Usefulness : A Debate

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  • Ratified in 1791, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: "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." Is this right to bear arms broad and absolute? Or is it subject to limits and regulation? Is it primarily about self-defense or anachronistic ideas of collective defense through militias? Has the constitutional right to bear arms outlived its usefulness?


  • Encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films Media Group on August 01, 2014.
  • Films on Demand is distributed by Films Media Group for Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, Meridian Education, and Shopware.
  • Part of the series Intelligence Squared.
  • Mode of access: Internet.
  • System requirements: FOD playback platform.
  • Closed-captioned.


  • Introduction: Intelligence Squared U.S. (3:59) -- Debate "Housekeeping" (6:07) -- For the Motion: Sanford Levinson (7:33) -- Against the Motion: Eugene Volokh (7:41) -- For the Motion: Alan Dershowitz (7:35) -- Against the Motion: David Kopel (7:41) -- Summary of Arguments (1:59) -- QA: Is the Second Amendment About Self-Defense? (5:01) -- QA: Should the Constitution Include a Right to Self-Defense (5:34) -- QA: Do We Need a Constitutional Protection of Guns? (9:26) -- QA: Does the Second Amendment Allow Regulations? (4:54) -- QA: Are Guns as Defense Against Tyranny Anachronistic? (7:14) -- QA: How Can Insurrection Against Government Be Constitutional? (3:22) -- QA: Impacts of Gun Control (4:28) -- QA: How Would You Write Second Amendment Today? (2:50) -- QA: What Regulations Does the Second Amendment Permit? (3:25) -- QA: Does It Violate the Rights of the Mentally Ill to Deny Them Guns? (3:07) -- Closing Statement Against: Eugene Volokh (2:50) -- Closing Statement For: Sanford Levinson (2:28) -- Closing Statement Against: David Kopel (2:22) -- Closing Statement For: Alan Dershowitz (2:17) -- Time to Vote (3:40) -- Vote Results (1:19) -- Credits: The Constitutional Right to Bear Arms Has Outlived Its Usefulness (1:06)
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