U.S. History Textbook Guts the Second Amendment (Update: AMSCO’s New Owner Reacts)
September 17, 2013 - 8:46 am
Author John J. Newman has some explaining to do. His textbook, United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination, literally rewrites the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
On page 102 of Newman’s book (page 134 of the PDF version), the author cuts the Second Amendment in half and leaves out several key words.
The truncated Second Amendment is also in the print version.
The actual Second Amendment reads:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Newman leaves the second half of the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms without infringement by the
federal government, completely out.
Newman may defend his editing of the Second Amendment via the sentence that precedes his rendering of the Bill of Rights: “Here is a summary of the rights guaranteed in each amendment.” “Summary,” in that sentence, would be his key word.
But the Second Amendment clearly guarantees the individual’s right to keep and bear arms. Newman has relegated that right only to those who are members of a government militia. That is not how the courts see the Second Amendment. In District of Columbia vs Heller (2008) the United States Supreme Court held that “the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”
Newman’s textbook, therefore, is wrong. His book makes no mention of the Heller decision, and mutilates the Second Amendment in such a way as to remove the core of its meaning, which is that firearm ownership is a civil right on a par with the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press and the right to peacefully assemble to protest government action or policy. Those are guaranteed in the First Amendment; firearm ownership is guaranteed by itself in the Second.
Newman and his publisher, AMSCO School Publications, need to provide some answers. As the book stands, it teaches a wildly incorrect reading of one of the most important civil rights that the Constitution guarantees.
I have reached out to AMSCO School Publications for comment, and will publish their reaction if and when they provide one.
Update: AMSCO’s new owner reacts:
Perfection Learning recently acquired AMSCO School Publications including the AP U.S. History book. This title is currently being revised and it is our intention to include the original language of the Bill of Rights in the new edition. This title is just one of hundreds of texts acquired through purchase of the company and Perfection Learning will continue reviewing all these new materials to identify any needed corrections and updates.