Alumni Update: Alexander Gouzoules (C’08) Publishes “The Diverging Right(s) to Bear Arms”

Alexander Gouzoules graduated from Emory College in 2008 and subsequently attended Harvard Law School. He recently published an article, “The Diverging Right(s) to Bear Arms: Private Armament and the Second and Fourteenth Amendments in Historical Context,” in the University of Alabama Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review (Vol. 10, 2019). The blog Second Thoughts from Duke University recently featured Gouzoules’ piece in their Scholarship Spotlight series. Read part of their summary below, along with the full article here. Gouzoules is an attorney in New York City.

“The main thrust of the article is to emphasize and explore the nature and scale of change in how private armament was understood between 1791, when the Second Amendment was ratified, and 1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment (which makes the Second Amendment applicable to the states) was ratified. To over-simplify a bit: While private arms-bearing to deter the tyranny of the standing federal army might have made sense in the 1790s, the situation was entirely different by the late 1860s. In showing as much, Gouzoules deepens (and credits) an argument that Akhil Amar made more than a decade before Heller. Gouzoules’ target is not simply the Second Amendment, however, but originalism itself: ‘These radically different understandings can only be reconciled by defining the right to bear arms at such a high level of generality as to overlook the actual intentions of both amendments’ framers, thus undermining the project of originalism to which these contemporary decisions were ostensibly committed.’