BLS 380 Great Gun Debate

Wall of Guns in a store
Few issues rile American passions like gun rights and gun control. This course provides a comprehensive study of guns in America, including the origins of the Second Amendment, gun ownership in early America and the “Wild West,” laws prohibiting African Americans from possessing guns, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the prevalence of machine guns in the 1920s and 1930s, the Black Panther Party, the evolution of the National Rifle Association (NRA) as one of the nation’s most influential lobbies, and the landmark Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008, declaring that an individual has the right to possess a firearm. By the end of the course, students will have a firm grasp of the key arguments on both sides, enabling them to refine their position on America’s great gun debate.


Winkler, Adam. Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America. New York: W.W. Norton, 2011.