Corpus Linguistics and the Second Amendment – – Reason

Corpus linguistics is the scholarly technique of searching historic databases to gather information on the use of important words or phrases. In the pending U.S. Supreme Court on the Second Amendment to right to bear arms, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, a pair of amicus brief purport to apply corpus linguistics to the Second Amendment. The briefs say that they prove that individuals have no right to bear arms, and that even if such a right exists, it is tiny. This post examines the claims in the briefs.

This post is co-authored by Campbell University law professor Gregory Wallace. Professor Wallace and I are two of the five co-authors of the just-published third edition of the textbook Firearms Law and the Second Amendment: Regulation, Rights, and Policy (Aspen, Wolters Kluwer). Professor Wallace wrote the textbook’s section on corpus linguistics and spoke at a colloquium on the

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