A Stanford University law professor took the view that the Second Amendment permits strong gun control, telling the crowd that “restriction has to be at the core” of the right to carry a gun.
John J. Donohue, a member of the Stanford Law School faculty, made his remarks during a debate with attorney Donald Kilmer, an adjunct professor at Lincoln Law School of San Jose.
“I support the right to self-defense,” said Donohue during the debate, according to The Stanford Review. “But that doesn’t mean that you have a right to high-capacity magazines.”
Donohue explained that the Second Amendment must be interpreted in historical context. The founding fathers had no idea how powerful–and destructive–today’s weapons would become, he said.
He also criticized the argument that the right to bear arms was necessary for American citizens to guard against tyranny.
“It’s fanciful to think that guns in the hands of citizens acts as a realistic check,” said Donohue. “They’re not really trained to do so. And it’s fanciful to think that the military would ever turn on U.S. citizens.”
Kilmer disagreed, saying that citizen militias have waged successful defensive campaigns against armies all over the globe.
He reminded the audience that gun control has historically given dictators free rein to abuse their citizens.
“Taking away citizens’ arms has always been the first step of the greatest human rights violations,” he said. “The mistake of giving up your arms is a mistake you only get to make once.”
The two professors also disagreed about the role of armed citizens during mass shootings. Donohue said more people with guns only leads to catastrophe.
“There are less lethal methods of self-defense, and it’s always a bad idea to ramp up firepower,” he said.
Donohue did not address the fact that most would-be spree killers deliberately target places where they know armed resistance is either unlikely or explicitly prohibited, such as schools and college campuses. (RELATED: Santa Monica’s strict no guns policy questioned after mass shooting)
According to The College Fix, Donohue is a noted critic of the work of John Lott, who wrote “More Guns, Less Crime,” in defense of gun ownership.