Cornell University Law School: Individual Right to Bear Arms Created in 2008

AP Photo
AP Photo

On Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute (LII) webpage introducing the Second Amendment, the individual right to keep and bear arms is presented as dating all the way back to 2008.

They claim the “theory” of an individual right was given legs by the Supreme Court of the United State’s decision in District of Columbia v Heller (2008), and that prior to this decision, the right to keep and bear arms was viewed as a “collective” one.

Here’s how they introduce the Second Amendment:

The Second Amendment has most recently been interpreted to grant the right of gun ownership to individuals for purposes that include self-defense. At first it was thought to apply only to the Federal government, but through the mechanism of the Fourteenth Amendment, it has been applied to the states as well.

On Cornell University Law School’s LII webpage, the phrase “most recently been interpreted” contains a link that takes the reader to the ruling in Heller. This shows the reader how the SCOTUS struck down DC’s gun ban in 2008 and therefore used it to imply the recognition of a right that was previously not there–at least not for individuals.

The phrase “mechanism of the Fourteenth Amendment” references the decision in McDonald v Chicago (2010), where the SCOTUS ruled that the individual right to keep and bear arms is incorporated and limits the actions of states via the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.

The Cornell University Law School’s LII webpage on the Second Amendment also has a “learn more” tab that students and researchers can click to be taken to another page where they learn that the individual right to keep and bear arms–to whatever degree it might exist–exists only because the Second Amendment “creates” it.

This is 100 percent contrary to the view of our Founding Fathers, who included the Second Amendment to hedge in a pre-existing natural right with which we are endowed by our Creator.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.