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Do Guns Make Us Free?Do Guns Make Us Free?

Democracy and the Armed Society

Firmin DeBrabander


Book published by Yale University Press


An essential examination of the political and philosophical arguments of the contemporary gun rights movement in the United States

Possibly the most emotionally charged debate taking place in the United States today centers on the Second Amendment to the Constitution and the rights of citizens to bear arms. In the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut, the gun rights movement, headed by the National Rifle Association, appears more intractable than ever in its fight against gun control laws. The core argument of Second Amendment advocates is that the proliferation of firearms is essential to maintaining freedom in America, providing private citizens with a defense against possible government tyranny, and thus safeguarding all our other rights. But is this argument valid? Do guns indeed make us free?

In this insightful and eye-opening analysis, the first philosophical examination of every aspect of the contentious and uniquely American debate over guns, Firmin DeBrabander examines the claims offered in favor of unchecked gun ownership. By exposing the contradictions and misinterpretations inherent in the case presented by gun rights supporters, this provocative volume demonstrates that an armed society is not a free society but one that actively hinders democratic participation.

REVIEWS:

“DeBrabander’s arguments are novel, powerful, and compelling. He turns the arguments of gun advocates against them, showing that a society in which a high proportion of citizens are armed must become a society in which individual freedoms are eroded and democratic procedures are continuously threatened.”

—Jeff McMahan, author of The Ethics of Killing, and White’s Chair of Moral Philosophy

“Firmin DeBrabander does us all a substantial service by reminding us that the gun rights movement, though cloaked in self-righteousness, is a threat to democracy rather than its protector.”

—Stephen Teret, Founding Director, The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research

“A provocative philosophical argument that an armed populace is a Machiavellian idea, not the guarantee of freedom the NRA insists it is—because only agreement on the rule of law ensures that.”

—Craig R. Whitney, author of Living with Guns: A Liberal’s Case for the Second Amendment





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