A Debate: “Was The Second Amendment A Mistake?”

March 11, 2024
University of Wisconsin-Madison Fluno Center
6:30PM CST

Does our society require a constitutional right to bear arms?

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution affirms the rights of U.S. citizens to keep and bear arms. This amendment is at the center of one of the most hotly contested issues in American politics and culture. The recent and rapid increase in mass shootings has led some people question the idea of readily and legally available firearms. Others have looked at the rise in violent crime and gang violence as proof that an armed populace is more necessary than ever. 

Did the Founders make a mistake in enshrining gun rights in the Constitution? Or, are current government efforts to regulate gun ownership preventing citizens from being able to defend themselves? 

Join ISI and the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy as we explore this nuanced and oft-disputed question. On March 11, 2024 at 6:30pm  CST at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sanford Levinson and John Lott will square off on this controversial issue. A reception with hors d’ouevres begins at 5:15pm CST. Sign up below to reserve your spot!

Email Sebastian Pestritto at spestritto@isi.org with any questions or concerns. 

Your Debaters

Sanford Levinson

Sanford Levinson joined the University of Texas Law School in 1980. He is the author of approximately 450 articles, book reviews, or commentaries in professional and popular journals–and a regular contributor to the popular blog Balkinization.

He has written, edited, or co-edited a total of seventeen books on topics including the Constitution, the Second Amendment, and the American Founding.

He has been a visiting faculty member of the Boston University, Georgetown, New York University, and Yale law schools in the United States and has taught abroad in programs of law in London; Paris; Budapest; Jerusalem; Auckland, New Zealand; and Melbourne, Australia. He has also been a regular visitor at the Harvard Law School since 2004. He is married to Cynthia Y. Levinson, a writer of children’s literature, and has two daughters and four grandchildren.

John Lott

John L. Lott, Jr. is the President of the Crime Prevention Center, and the Author of More Crime, Less Guns, The Bias Against Guns. He is a political commentator, economist, and well known gun rights advocate. He is currently a contributor for both TheHill.com, and Foxnews

Ryan Owens (moderator)

Ryan Owens is the George C. and Carmella P. Edwards Professor of American Politics, a Leon Epstein Faculty Fellow, and an Affiliate Faculty in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School. Professor Owens is the Interim Director of the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy and formerly directed the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership. Owens studies law and courts and American political institutions. His work analyzes the United States Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeals, legal institutions, and judicial behavior.

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