• Project Title: Regulated Liberty: How to Interpret the 2nd Amendment's Oxymoron

  • BASIS Advisor: Mr. Lentz

  • Internship Location: Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University

  • Onsite Mentor: Professor Robert Leider

“Regulated Liberty” sounds like an oxymoron. Because it is. Everyone understands that order is necessary for safety, but what if there is a provision that specifically prohibits the abridgment of a right granted by founding documents? And to make it worse, what if it conflicts with the beginning that calls for some “well-regulation”? That is the issue at hand with the Second Amendment of the Constitution. The policy grants the right to bear firearms. At the beginning of the text, the prefatory clause calls for a well-regulated militia. The operative clause contains the four most controversial words: “shall not be infringed” with regard to the right to bear arms. This already leads to multiple questions: Who is the militia referring to? Normal people or the army? What does well-regulated mean? Is it to the standards of the military in terms of what guns can be sold? What are the limits of this contradiction? Thankfully the Supreme Court is here to examine those questions. In my research, I will work alongside Professor Robert Leider, who teaches at George Mason University and analyze various perspectives on the amendment via legal literature, court documents, and other scholarly articles. I will be qualifying the perspectives and choosing the more plausible ideas and then mixing them into an interpretation that seems to best fit the Amendment. I don’t seek to find an answer, but rather a “best answer” if you will.