In this paper, I engage foundational theorists such as Jean Bodin, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke to examine the philosophies of sovereignty that underpin the US Constitution and the creation of the Second Amendment. I find that the US Founders' reaction to these foundational theories of sovereignty allowed for a breakdown in the system of sovereignty in the country, and made way for the implementation of the Rule of Law. The Rule of Law, in turn, created the conditions of possibility for the psyche of radical individualism that now permeates the US. This radical individualism allowed for the reinterpretation of the Second Amendment as demonstrated in cases such as DC vs Heller, and in turn upholds models of liability that prevent gun violence from being addressed as a systemic issue. Utilizing traditional and contemporary theorists, I wade through all of this discourse in order to propose a normative shift toward a more connection based model of political engagement and gun policy in the United States.
Brown, Lola I., "Interpretations of Intent: Sovereignty, the Second Amendment, and US Gun Culture" (2023). Political Science Honors Projects. 98.
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