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Reading: Language Log » Corpora and the Second Amendment: “bear arms” (part 3)


From part 1

My focus in this post will be on the Supreme Court’s conclusion that at the time the Second Amendment was proposed and ratified, bear arms unambiguously meant ‘carry weapons, for purposes of being prepared for a confrontation,’ without regard to whether the carrying was in connection with military service. What I conclude is that even without taking account of how bear arms was actually used, the court’s arguments don’t hold up. Assuming for the sake of argument that bear arms could reasonably have been understood to mean what the court said it meant, the court didn’t show that it unambiguously meant that.

If you doubt the conclusions, you can run your own analysis on the data he provides.

the pool of data that is inconsistent with Heller (not including lines that are ambiguous) is increased by about two-thirds, from 505 to 847.