Kevin Sweeney: Guns, Militias, and the Second Amendment

Kevin SweeneyFebruary 5, 2013

Interview by William Sweet • Photo by Rob Mattson

The citizen soldier, ready to defend his family, property and liberty, is a powerful and cherished image, and one often invoked in debates around the Second Amendment and gun violence.

But that image just isn’t accurate. According to Kevin M. Sweeney, professor of American studies and history, the militia man isn’t who we think he is, and the Second Amendment doesn’t do what we think it does. In short, he says, the NRA and the Supreme Court need a history lesson.

The BBC recently interviewed Sweeney about guns in American culture, and he has co-authored a piece in the current Chronicle of Higher Education with Saul Cornell ’82, professor of history at Fordham University. Sweeney is at work on a book about guns in rural America.