tv History of Gun Rights in America CSPAN March 10, 2018 12:45pm-1:51pm EST
to the south and southwest. >> watch the entire program. american history tv only on c-span3. >> next, historian patrick charles discuss the history of the second amendment and american gun rights. from the drafting of the bill of rights to more recent decisions. the national constitution center hosted this event. >> it is my pleasure to introduce patrick charles and his writings have been cited by many circuits. his second book was cited by justice breyer in a landmark case.
so, in the introduction to your new book, you discussed being a student and becoming interested in a subject, the second amendment, with this case making its way through the court. can you tell me why the case struck you? >> i was an undergraduate with a history degree and everybody is trying to find a niche they feel comfortable with and i remember one parker versus the district of columbia came down and this was central to the holding and the legal analysis of the case and it drew me in, but will confuse me was that it was all history that i am familiar with and things that intuitively did not add up. as a historian might, you ask questions and that is how i
became involved and there were things of the court misconstrued and i spent about 1.5 years digging in and came to a conclusion that the right was intimately tied to the militia and not separate and distinct, as the court comes to that decision on. >> what sources did you look at? >> we went to the ratification history and the ratification debates, the understanding of the american revolution and why it was fought, the standing militia argument, and i took it to the next step. i didn't see anything that spoke to me.
there is a lot of talk of the bill of rights and constitution being written by lawyers and great legal minds. where do they learn law? it is in statutes and treatises and i did an exhaustive look on the microfilm reels and started to read to see if there was a link with these terms, justifiable homicide, hunting, rights to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, if they all exist and i found them in militia laws. my argument was related to that idea of legal language speaking to that conception and it wasn't about self-defense.
it did not mean that they did not own arms, but to understand the right and the importance in the constitutional republic. >> and also wrote a casebook about guns and the law. >> we were talking about this a little earlier. history is obviously relevant. ishink what has happened others have created a usable past. get some of the early amendment opinions.
historically that's very dubious. they would have restricted speech a lot more. think there is an appeal to this path beginning in the 18th taking up arms, the government not having a monopoly or an instrument to speak to a particular relationship. then you get this evolution up to the 19th century. the minuteman we are talking about, protecting the rights over african-americans, then it takes on an individual list cast. they have done pulling on it.
sometimes i think -- history is practiced by historians. have a little bit of reading into the history. maybe a clear my own usable path. >> to continue to focus on the history, if you look at the language, the militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the rights of the people to bear arms will not be infringed.
when madison was drafting the second amendment, what were the founders debating about the actual language? >> what we have left from the surviving ratification is it is all centralized on this militia. can still control the militia and give power to the federal government. the same federal government that has power over the standing army. this seems to be a violation of liberty and states rights. there was no talk. there was talk about the religious clause, a lot of fear that people religiously bear arms. at the printook culture of the press at the time
that were discussing the second amendment. that was all done in secret. there was no talking to the press about what is going on. all that critical commentary is from the basis of the militia. that's why i came to the conclusion that didn't proceed to do with the -- it doesn't exist today. it grew in the 19th century. the central idea of how to thent a militia was founding era's view cannot be overstated. you will see how that legal language was referred to.
available for communal self-defense and law enforcement. and the understanding of english history, this glorious english path, it would protect the community. it was used to invade foreign countries. the militia represented an andar of republican virtue communal good versus standing versus the service of tyrants. for that reason the constitution limits appropriations for armies for two years. that reflects the framers anxiety.
>> what do you make from the of the alignment to the second amendment? >> because ae militia was the people, well regulated militia -- not necessarily like regulations from the epa. the right of the people to keep and bear arms. it speaks to both. it speaks to trying to ensure aat the militia will remain force.
preventing sort of invasion of and the double security, we are not going to let you disarm individuals that you would effectively render the militia useless at some point in the future. patrick has a different view, i'm sure. that's my law professors understanding. >> feel free to respond, but -- howake us to what they interpreted the amendment. >> this idea of an arm people, you cannot have a militia -- if you take away the people's arms you can't have one without the other. but to the founding fathers a well regulated militia wasn't
just being well-trained and standing up and fighting and being loyal to government. there were all tenants from the late 17th century to the late 18th century. they go well beyond having a gun. many commentators say having arms is not the greatest part of a well regulated militia. firing a consecutive shot at each other. that armand was more dangerous to liberty than to just have a gun. offstage --out this i'm not saying there weren't americans at the time. this is exactly how it was interpreted. i think the close as we have is
-- who refers to it in an editorial at the time, that they will have their private arms. also doesn't anything about what happens when we lose the militia and a standing army takes over our national security? you have to think about the importance of a well-regulated militia in the sense that if you are a militia, you would never turn your arms on your own people. the military construct is made up of the people themselves. you would never hurt euro own people because you live with those people and you could not take those people, especially state to state to be waged. they did not want to get involved in foreign conflicts. it is a very different time living then then today in our understanding of how we exalt
the military today and look down on the militia more so than we would in years past. if we were to spend two or three hours, patrick and i could end up agreeing on more points than we disagree on. he is right. the idea was that the militia was to be trusted with military force because they would never turn on their own people like a standing army might have it is made up of people from different states who do not know you and live next to you. court,as the supreme fast-forward 200 years and inally, there was one case the 20th century where the court interpreted the second amendment directly. there have been no other cases since then. ,he parker case comes up
brought by a guy named bob leavy with the cato institute. the nra was opposed to this litigation. they were nervous. they were not quite sure there were five votes on the court to support an individual rights reading of the second amendment and had preferred to continue to win victories at the legislative level, where they had been effective, particularly when throughout the 20th century you had numerous examples of judicial hostility to the individual rights reading of the second amendment, warranted or not. the bet paid off. he had a good lawyer who argued the case and what the court held was interesting. the first thing i noticed about
it is it modernizes the right. talking aboutwe militia, we are talking about individual self-defense, in the home. what the court held was in so far as the district of columbia made it impossible for you to have an operable firearm available to you in your house for self-defense, that violated the second amendment. at the time, the second amendment had not been incorporated through the 14th amendment to apply to the state and local government. i can explain a corporation later. another case had to be brought so it would apply to states and local governments. casewas the mcdonald decided two years later, still saying it is about self-defense. there is still this qualifying language that i call the heller safe harbor.
long-standing restrictions on gun ownership are ok, lower courts, do not go nuts and start striking down laws. of the right exists and is protected by the second amendment to the extent that you make it impossible for people to engage in armed self-defense with privately owned weapons. you go too far. patrick, feel free to add anything about the heller decision and talk about what you decision to court's conceptualize it as an individual right versus a collective right. i have semi-criticisms of heller i do not know where to start -- i have so many criticisms of heller i do not know where to start. all my criticisms stem from the historic view of the right.
there was one general understanding from everyone at 1689 all thefrom way through the 14th amendment in 1868. that is untrue and unfounded. i do not know any historian thinks that is credible. advocates have gone to town criticizing heller for its uses of history because it does not go far enough and giving them gun rights. no one is 100% happy with heller. i do not think you ever make everyone happy. some opinions are arguing that certain things they argued in heller are not true. i think heller is correct, and if i am not doing a history of law analysis, original intent or original meaning, i think heller is correct and you could say the doctrine since the 14th century in german law extended to
england and this law says i have a right to defend my home if my home is under attack. if you apply commonsense logic, a handgun is one of the most common weapons owned in the united states. the core holding of heller is legitimate on its face. everyone around it, i think everyone on on -- on all sides once to throw away and write their own narrative. i think that answers the question. brannon, you mentioned mcdonald where the court applied the second amendment to the state. talk about that case and why it was a plurality decision. in 1830 five, the supreme court decided that the bill of rights applied only to the federal government. if you wanted to protect your
rights against state governments you had to look to state constitutions. beginning in the late 19th the 14th amendment was ratified in 1868, contained the equal protection clause and the privileges or immunities clause. immediately strangled the privileges or immunities clause in its cradle or trained and of meaning. the court then began to use the due process clause to protect liberties and rights that were not enumerated in the constitution itself. an additional project of this was to begin saying the use of the word liberty in the due process clause cannot deprive you of life, liberty, or process without due process of law, that liberty contained all sorts of additional rights that were not spelled out.
of thesee sources rights was the bill of rights and the court began the slow process, beginning in the late 19th century which accelerated in the 19th century of taking rights one by one and applying them to the states. the second amendment was one of the few that had not yet been incorporated. the mcdonald case did that. lawyers in mcdonald through a huge amount --the lawyers in a huge amount of effort into trying to get the court to breathe some life into the privilege and immunities clause. they devoted so much of their original brief to that argument which was asking the court to reverse 100 years of jurisprudence that the nra got nervous and asked to intervene and file its own brief that said do not pay any attention to that argument.
this thest do old-fashioned way you have been doing for 50 or 60 years. when the lawyer got up to make the argument and started it on the privileges and immunities clause, justice scalia interrupted him and asked if he was tried to get on as some academic at a law school. when you stand up to make an argument in the supreme court and the transcript has laughter in there, you know the argument has gone off track. is a brilliant lawyer and really thought he could sell this argument. the court was having none of it. they retreated and started having the due process argument. only justice thomas said if you're going to do incorporate take -- if you're going to do incorporation, the privileges and immunities clause is the way to go.
lana: patrick, i'm interested in , bothhoughts from heller the majority and the dissent used history in support of their argument. there was also the approach in found a about how alito fundamental right. what do you think of the court's methodology and given how controversial the history is, other other methodologies the court could use to look at the second amendment? patrick: i wrote a book on this. no matter if you are on the dissent or majority opinion, they pick what history they want and they go with it and they take it to the next extreme. side'snore the other arguments. history is not so clean.
history is complex. when we use history to make arguments about the law, we need to do so in a way that is honest and say why we chose x history over y history versus just saying x is right and you're wrong and admitting we are not answering a historical question, we are answering a legal question. the fallout from heller that has been troubling to me is that people automatically, that our , sayrights activists heller answered this, you are wrong. heller is not a historian. heller does not change the documents. it does codify that law but it does not change what you are doing. i would argue that moving forward, we need to be careful. if we do not have consensus , and accepted historical
understanding that we should not use as a rationale to move forward. what the law is is taking a certain amount of key facts and rationalizing on those facts to come to a legal conclusion. that is what the law is. the more facts you have in the more those facts are interconnected, the more legitimate that opinion is recent and will be supported over time. facts are, those which i would argue is heller, the more illegitimate it will become over time. i would say it is illegitimate in that regard. as long as we have this fervent gun rights/gun control divide, it is just going to continue. people will accept what history they want and move on and we cannot even have a discussion. this is why i wrote the book, to hopefully have a discussion. i could go on forever. respond.l free to
thisre also talking about analogy between the second amendment and first amendment. thehere anything for how court has approached first amendment interpretation that might infer how it should approach is second amendment interpretation? on our interactive constitution we have explainers and one opinion is that courts should be thinking about the second amendment like the first amendment, that guarantees important rights but not absolute rights, whereas the other says we should not be talking about the first amendment like the second amendment, it is totally different. brannon: two things. to round out the comment on history, i think one of the difficulties is that historians usually do not approach historical subjects in order to answer or be informed about the correct outcome of some
contemporary controversy. why theant to find out framers were so held up about standing armies, but historian would just do it. you are not usually trying to answer or haven't shed light on some contemporary controversy. many historians will caution. it is hard to draw a lot of lessons from the past. i think one of the problems with at -- history is we are we are asking history to provide answers for questions that the participants in the past might not have understood and they would not understand what the debate is about. that is probably where you get some of this disconnect and some of the difficulty of having people agree about what the right lessons to draw from history have been. amendment, i first
think the court has doctrine.lly borrowed it is one thing to say that the sayingution means x, but that the first amendment protects free speech the second amendment gives your a right to arms does not help you decide cases. what the court does is they have to develop i'm going to put on my academic hat -- they call them decision rules. these are the tools that allow the court to implement a constitutional command and provide a result to our case -- to a case. theink the court are as all time from different areas so i do not think there's any reason why you cannot analogize to the first amendment and borrow some of the tools.
the court is already doing so. thing theng -- one heller court did not do was provide instructions on what level of scrutiny to apply to gun laws. the lower court thrashed around for a bit and ended up saying intermediate scrutiny. we are going to require the government to show some evidence that whatever goal it is pursuing is important and some regulationst the they proposed are going to advance the ball. this -- advance the goal. this is different from the lowest level of the scrutiny which puts the burden on the challenger to prove that the government is being irrational. i think doctrinal law happens all the time in the first amendment is good as any for furnishing those tools to
provide answers for concrete cases. patrick: i would tend to agree with winkler with one caveat. i agree there will be certain tests and tools and that is going to happen. is there is aned movement to try to make the first amendment test applicable to the second amendment. this idea that freedom of assembly and freedom of speech and freedom of access to information and freedom to publish being one and the same is carrying a gun. they say if i can carry a book b, whyint a to point can't i carry a gun? there is a difference. they are right next to each other, but they have similar histories and a similar impacts -- but they have dissimilar histories and dissimilar
impacts. in the 18th century there was an op-ed that talked about the first and second amendment and it was used to talk about freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. it said just like there is a line that prevents the militia its neighbors, there needs to be aligned with the first amendment. you cannot use these amendments for the destruction of people. in the 19th century, these first amendment's arguments start coming in and people start arguing about the right to carry outside the home. the court starts answering in saying freedom of assembly is not the same as the right to arms. the right to arms is different and the consequences to liberty from everybody carrying guns as they please could be dangerous. today i think we view it differently. we have gone to a society where people view arms as an extension of free speech. people carry arms at free speech rallies saying i need to carry
it in case my right to free speech is under attack. these are new ideas. there is no historical precedent for them. ift is where i would say -- there is something to take from the first amendment, it would be there are legal tools. there is a point where history does not matter. you have to make a decision. historians do not answer the question. that is the role of judges. lana: feel free to respond to that, and that i want to ask about some of the more pending controversies that have been ongoing through the courts in the wake of heller. did, as youia mentioned, the core right was you had a hand gun for self-defense, but he specifically said that you do not have the right to carry a weapon for any manner. now there are these
controversies about assault weapons and ammunition and what kind of scrutiny should be applied to those. i think the first one we could talk about his assault rifles -- assault rifle -- is assault rifle regulations. at one point about the first and second amendment analogies. i think at some point the history will not matter because heller is a matter of fact. now you will see starting from court, to the extent the returns to the issue, they are not going to go back to first principles, they are not going to rehash the historical debate, they will start with heller and it will develop according to our common-law method, taking the principal, deciding whether to extend it or not or whether it applies to the next case or the next case. soon you will get a body of law that has grown up separate and
apart from the historical debate that informed the first two decisions. that is what you have seen with the first amendment. nobody has a debate anymore about what was the intent of the framers with regard to the free speech clause and the establishment clause. it just becomes about the case law. as far as the assault weapons , justice scalia did create a lot of -- he left a lot of leeway for regulation and that heller safe harbor in the question becomes -- he mentions there is no right to carry dangerous and unusual weapons, and i think there is some debate over whether assault weapons, assuming you can define them, whether those are truly dangerous or unusual considering
how many tens of thousands of them there are in the country readily for sale. he did talk about weapons in common use. as it happens, the lower courts that address the issue have upheld state and local bands on assault weapons and i think it a largely because by banning class of weapons, you're not necessarily striking at the core, you are just removing one tool. somebody wants to engage in self-defense, they can always get a handgun. things thatof the has informed the court's decision in that regard. lana: patrick, if you want to talk about the assault weapons ban. in november, the supreme court
declined to hear a case upholding maryland's assault weapon ban. is there anything that indicates why the court may have declined to hear this issue? patrick: i think because there's is not a split right now. if there is a split, they will hear it. it is a complex issue because if you do history arguments, they have a thing called a civilized warfare test that was created in 1937 in tennessee and it said that the weapon is in common use , especially in common use as a , then it is a weapon protected by the right to arms. under that test, you would say assault weapons are part of common use because there are so many in circulation and they have gone on the fire sale because the assault weapon ban ended and people are so fearful they will be banned that people
keep buying them in droves. under that test, assault weapons are protected. in the late 19th century, they talk about banning things like bowie knives and tagger's. -- and daggers. soe said these weapons were dangerous to the public safety that we do not need them. strongerou can make a argument that if the civilized warfare applies, this assault weapon is more similar to me to produce as an -- as a melissa -- as a militia. this is the best weapon for me if we are invaded by communist. this is the problem with history in this area is there are so many rabbit holes we can go down that the court can going make a decision. ultimately, if they do hear it they will go down these rabbit holes and they will go to a test. they will say we do not want to
go down that road because we did that road before and we are criticized so heavily that it is not useful for us. lana: we have a couple audience questions. the first one is a similar question. didn't justice scalia support reasonable regulations? now, assault weapon laws are concealed carry laws and there is a case pending in upstate new york about new york's regulations on concealed carry. do you think that is a closer question than the assault weapons laws? my own view is that concealed carry is an easier call because up until very , in the 19th century i'm pretty persuaded that
concealed carry was tightly regulated, prohibited in many that a to the extent license to carry was available it was usually left to the discretion of some law enforcement official. this changed about 30 years ago. there began to be a movement may issue regimes where officials had discretions, to where if you could satisfy certain requirements they had issue you a license. this is a reaction to stories about places like new york city, new york city had may issue regimes and politicians, people like donald trump would get concealed carry permits and ordinary people who lived in high crime areas who wanted a gun for yourself protection could not.
additionally, it was also a for the pro-gun rights really managed to make inroads in legislatures. that battle, except in places like california and new york, that battle has largely been one in most states -- has largely been won in most states. must carryhat regime, i'm not sure the second amendment -- the understanding was in the 19th century if you are going to go strapped, you ought to be willing to advertise that fact. concealed weapons were for river boat gamblers and other disreputable sorts. patrick: we mostly agree on the
history. i would add that there is a inety of the peace approach the north, especially up here, for carrying guns. there was a law that said you cannot carry a firearm in public places unless you had a reasonable fear of assault or injury. that reasonable fear had to be imminent. you could not say that potentially this person could attack me today. i think he may be down the alley . that was not justifiable to the court. this worked well and then starting in the late 19th century they came up with this , the may issues license. some local officials went to town and gave everybody a license. they took the revenue and pocketed it and took -- and issued your license. throughout the 20th century, gun rights advocates supported may issue laws because they feared that if they let everybody go armed, more accidents would
happen with firearms and therefore more people would be calling for more gun controls and it would lead to more gun control and off -- ultimately the confiscation of firearms. they did not wholeheartedly support them. they would prefer that more people went armed, but they always cautioned that they be trained. in 1968, the president of the says to duke law school, he asked the questions, does the second amendment to protect a -- -- does the second amendment protect a right to carry a weapon openly or concealed? he says obviously not. this is the president of the nra. this is now the new standard. constitutional carry is the new movement. why are we even having a license? under that rationale, there is
an argument to be made that there is a right to concealed carry. ,ow, rather than open carry this idea of it being accepted open kerry seems to full them because you are advertising to criminals that you are armed and concealed carry seems to be the better way to go. i do not think it will win, but i think there is a legitimate argument to make. writes likeor lgbt i am and you look at the jurisprudence two decades ago they have nothing and now they have something. that is not through history. that is through constitutionalism and applying fair liberty principles throughout. if you apply that and say there is a living constitutional conception of armed self-defense and having the ability to carry a concealed weapon, there is maybe an argument. brannon: there is language in
heller that when justice scalia characterizes it as a right, he says you are right to private ownership of a firearm for use in a confrontation. there was a case in the seventh circuit and illinois was the only state in the union that band public carry -- that banned public carry weapons. the author of the opinion was a well-known federal judge and one of those federal judges that everyone thinks is a shame they never made it to the supreme court. he was a bitter critic of heller and mcdonald and he writes this opinion where he says the logic of heller cannot be restricted to the home. a right tore is public carry of some sort. ban on publicl
carry cannot stand. was this a good-faith application of precedent? i have my doubts. i think he was channeling hl the spirit once said of democracy as people -- i think the judge was trying to show the court that they had, in right, created a broader than the court itself was willing to knowledge. lana: this question asks a little bit more about the history. you mentioned that what constitutes well-regulated was what the founding fathers saw as the distinction between a militia and an armed mob. how did vigilantes of the old
west influence this conception and i would add even earlier rebellion,ike shay's was there any relevance with that? patrick: the only thing i could say is that as united states expanded westward and we got moved west and there was more lawless frontier or susceptibility to be exposed to being murdered, robbed, or what have you, people had common sense and they understood that you needed to go armed in this lawless area and in san francisco there is an ordinance where they talk about this. a 19th-century op-ed is criticizing san francisco's ordinance that prohibits people carrying firearms in the municipality, and the guy criticizing it says the town is only so big, but this ordinance extends to the entire
municipality. this ordinance does not make sense. it makes sense on the streets and thoroughfares where we have lawmen not to be allowed, but that is going too far. has everthink it guided the second amendment, other than in the 20th century we start talking about -- the gun rights movements starts talking about vigilante is him and how it is a good idea. there was a time when people took care of situations themselves, what a wonderful time that was. americans do not agree with that. that is when this idea starts seeping in. was the 19thle century, josiah campbell on the mississippi supreme court. although he upheld the concealed carry restrictions, he later came out in set i do not see this law stopping anybody,
especially in places where crime is. maybe we should give everyone a gun and let them have at it. he thought women should especially be armed because that would definitely stop a lot of crime. people supported him, but the overwhelming amount of americans at that time said this is a bad idea. we have the rule of law for a reason, we have courts of law. i hope that answers the question. you read different , thes about the west frontier west, and what the west approach to regulation was in the 19th century. popular conception, mine included, was chewed out in the ok corral. municipalities,
apparently the reality was quite different. if you came to town you are expected -- i've read some accounts that you are expected to go to the sheriff's office and drop off your gun before you went drinking and carousing in order to cut down on that kind of violence. , i am as vigilantes go sure that some of it was a function of spontaneous orders and a lack of any other kind of law enforcement that could be depended upon. asks, its question mentions the war on drugs controversy that has been going on, the crackdown on drugs and the fact that it has not been working and we have the opioid crisis and if you want to compare that to statistics about
murder rates and things like that in the cities and whether , if one thinks that the drug laws are failing does that indicate, if you think there is a gun murder epidemic, that gun laws are not working either. eightler, justice scalia knowledges there are some problems in certain cities with murder rates. this is a constitutional right and takes policy choices off the table. should courts take into consideration a city like chicago where they have a lot of gun violence, is that something that is relevant to courts in considering the scope of certain rights? maybe different regulations? how different -- how relevant is it, mass shootings that have happened and the nra has even come out in support of bump stocks. what you make of that kind of debate? patrick: first i thought you
were going with the drug area, i was ready for that answer. firearm localism made sense for so long. even the nra supported firearm localism until a case came down in the supreme court. the first argue against firearm localism -- that states and municipalities needed to have stricter gun laws then rural areas -- the idea was that if -- that provides uniformity areas that have less gun owners, and it protects hunters and sportsmen and will ensure they do not get stared by some local rule when they are traveling with their guns. what it has become, this --alism, they realized that
they first said localism is a great idea because every place is different and maybe new york should have that law. they later changed their mind because if you can preempt and get rid of localism and say the firearmn control the laws, you just took away a lot of the nra had to fight. now that the second amendment is incorporated there has to be a national standard and it has to apply uniformly. the court of law cannot say that this is where a first amendment crossover is. in one county, you have a first amendment freedom to put a sign in your yard and in another place that can cause a riot, it is in the city. that is an offensive sign. you cannot do that. what goes in one area has to go in the other. i almost want to say we have moved away from localism.
i think the court is going to be very lenient and allowing for .un control experimentation the problem gun control has is that you cannot say a life has been saved by gun control provisions because the person did not die. you do not know that the gun control provision work. we do not know how many people are saved. all is the same by preventative laws, whether medical laws or traffic laws. you cannot say this law saved 2000 people, but we have them because they are common sense. you want to save somebody's life. even if it saves a couple lives, it is a good law. we cannot verify what lives are saved. i hope that answers the question. go back to the drug laws/gun laws thing. let me start back with the bump stocks. i think it was an easy issue for the nra.
friends who have a lot of guns, they say they do not work very well and it takes a lot of training to get good with them. if you are in the nra and you needed to be seen to give on something, that was an easy give because i do not think they are terribly common. not a lot of people use them. i would say that as a strategic matter and why they gave on that. as far as drug laws, gun laws, i do not know. what i thought you were going to say, what i thought the question was going to go was talking about the intersection between the legalization of marijuana and gun laws. i will come back to that. limits.speed
simply because people break lost is not mean we should not have them. i think the question is trying to ascertain the right mix of ,egulation that is effective that passes some sort of cost/benefit test. you do here if it only saves two lives it is worthless -- if it .aves -- it is worth it if it saves lives at a cost of three joy in dollars -- if it saves two lives at a cost of $3ree joy in dollars -- trillion --i think the more interesting debate is that there is a constitutional dimension to the gun control debate. if you're a law abiding gun
owner, confiscation, total bans are now off the table. , and this may be beginning to happen, i was hoping this may be a place you can build on and say you cannot ski the slippery slope all the way down. the court has closed that option off. let's set up a debate about what is reasonable regulation. about which debate of the possible choices to reduce gun violence may be effective without impugning the rights of law-abiding gun owners. how do we get the guns out of the hands of bad guys. reduce some of these horrific levels of violence in ,ities like chicago or d.c. which have strict gun control regimes in place. something is not working. you: patrick, last word to if you want to respond to what
saidon -- to what brannon and what do you think the future of second amendment jurisprudence is. what do you think the chances of that are versus lettering the lower courts parse out what might be a reasonable regulation? patrick: i wholeheartedly agree that we need to start talking about what is a reasonable regulation. my fear is that we cannot have that discussion as long as we interests or people dedicated to rebutting every argument that could be a reasonable regulation and trying to find some reason it should not be passed. if it is a good regulation, you argue it will cost too much money or too difficult to enforce. this is been a century long debate about what is reasonable. it is not an honest discussion in many ways. in some ways it is very light
and i hope you'll read the book and see what that discussion has been going on for a long time. are havingion we today parallels what they're having in 1918, the 1960's especially, if you look at where we are at today and the parallels with the political conversations we are having. in terms of the future of the second amendment, i am hoping common sense prevails. we look at it and we come up say,reasonable tests that could this potentially save lives? don't -- to deny law-abiding gun gun owners the ability to buy guns, is that the purpose of the law? not of a lobby says that is the purpose, what if this is in fact
the purpose. if that is the purpose, we should strike those laws down. i do not know that it would go to that, but that is my hope. if we are going to move forward as a democratic republic, at least one that can have open and honest conversations, although i think all of you that watch the news know it is just the extremes every day. they do not put reasonable people on tv because that does not get ratings. you want to hear your side and that is at. maybe the court will step in and answer the debate for us. thank you so much for joining us. [applause] lana: patrick is available after the program to autograph books if you want to pick up your copy. thank you so much for coming. thank you.
>> 1968 -- america in turmoil. starting next weekend, american history tv will air a nine week series looking back 50 years. the vietnam war, race relations, women's rights, a fractious presidential election. your calls on "washington journal" and here on american history tv on c-span3. "q&a," a night on former u.s. border agent talks about his book the line becomes a river, a memoir of his experiences and what he has learned about our immigration system before -- since leaving the border patrol.
>> the woman was pregnant. that is why she cannot keep up. they were lost for three days and drinking filthy water. and made it to the village the border patrol got called and i was the agent that was supposed to take them in. i started talking with them. it turned out that this pregnant woman had grown up in iowa and she spoke perfect english. she was a schoolteacher in iowa. that we wereaw talking and we had a connection canhe leaned over and said we skip the arrest and deportation thing, can you just try was back to the border and let us cross back into mexico? no,d not hesitate, i said this is my job. i took them in. what i remember about that
encounter is i remember asking their names and i remember introducing myself to them and i remember wanting to remember them because i have this connection and i wanted to hold them in my mind, i wanted that woman to be safe. and for their child to be safe. a couple hours later i went back out on patrol, i was sitting in my car and i'd completely forgotten their name. the reason that encounter sticks with me so much is because that is the first step in the heat -- is forgettingion what makes someone an individual. >> sunday night at 8:00 on c-span's "q&a." >> american history tv, historian presents a talk titled frederick douglass at 200. professor blight discusses as anick douglass' work
abolitionist, public speaker, and writer. the american historical society posted this 90 minute event to mark the bicentennial of the birth of frederick douglass. in thee are few people history of this great country who have left as indelible of a mark as frederick douglass. he is one of the most important men in american history and his extraordinary legacy continues today. born into slavery in 1818 in maryland, frederick douglass the way for generations of americans who fought for justice and equality peacefully and with great eloquence. his writings are as relevant today as they were in the 19th century. this month we celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of this great man and we are honored to welcome speaker and frederick douglass biographer david blight. david is a teach