Busy on the documentary
I'm spending the 4th in proper style, doing the video edits necessary to create a second draft of my right to bear arms documentary film. I'm quite pleased with it. The folks appearing in it include Professors Joyce Malcolm, Glenn Harlan Reynolds (Instapundit), Gene Volokh (the Volokh Conspiracy), Randy Barnett, Brannon Denning, Nelson Lund, Daniel Polsby, Joe Olson, Nick Johnson, Gary Kleck... not to mention Steve Halbrook, David Kopel, Clayton Cramer, Don Kates, Sandy Froman. I'm sure I missed a few in there.
Intro & how RTBA reawakened as scholarly issue after 1975: 6 minutes
Origins of the English right: 8 minutes
Early colonial laws: 6 min.
Revolution, early state bills of rights: 7 min.
Constitution, ratification battles, drafting of 2nd Amendment: 18 min.
Early commentaries: 9 min.
Analysis of collective rights: 13 min.
Afro-American experience, Dred Scott & the 14th Amendment: 29 min.
Utility of the right -- genocide, self defense, resistance: 22 min.
I do have to move fast (and leave material out) to keep within the target of 2 hours. One amusing thing is that several of the people filmed now look rather unlike their film image. I started on this in early 2003, and we've all aged 3 1/2 years over that span. Some of us have acquired grey hair in the meantime, or lost or added a few pounds.
I think, BTW, that it'll be ready for distribution around early September.
[UPDATE in light of comment--not yet! I'm editing the second draft. After this, I polish it into final. Then I get a fellow who knows a lot more about audio than I do to polish the audio. Then (maybe mid August) I'm ready to get it replicated. I'll be very glad when it's done. It's been 3.5 years of work. Or maybe 30+ years (I published my first law review article on 2A in 1975, while still a law student, and have worked on it ever since. But I'll throw a few teasers in the extended remarks below.]
1. Decades ago I discovered a copy of the Journal of the First Senate. It had long been said that the Senate met in secret in the early Republic, and thus we had no clue as to what it did. But there was a journal kept of motions made and votes taken. It showed there was a motion to add "for the common defense" after the right to keep and bear arms, and it lost on a voice vote.
2. Recently a draft of a bill of rights by Roger Sherman was found among Madison's papers. After Madison introduced his BoR, it was referred to a three man committee that included Sherman and Madison. Sherman's draft said nothing about the right of the people, but did have a state's right over the militia -- states shall have governance of the militia when not in actual federal service. It apparently was rejected by the House committee.
3. This is more widely known -- in its infamous Dred Scott decision, the Supremes held that a free black could not be a citizen of a state or of the US. The reasoning was that if they were regarded as citizens, they would have the right to free speech and assembly, and "to keep and carry arms whereever they went," despite the Slave Codes.
4. In the Congress that drafted the 14th Amendment (ratified 1868), which forbids States to make laws which abridge the "privileges and immunities" of US citizens, the right to arms was a major issue, because the former Confederate states were disarming blacks. One Representative read in a state law against black gun ownership, then reads in the Second Amendment, and says that he will oppose readmission of the state to the Union until it learns to respect the Second Amendment.
5. Plus a discussion by two former civil rights workers of how they ALWAYS packed guns, and so did everyone else except for a handful of idealistic students who thought nonviolence meant letting yourself be killed by Klansmen. Standard drill was that when the Klan ran a vehicle right up behind you and started bumping your bumper after dark, you held your pistol out the window so they could see it. That was their cue to back off and leave you alone.