A strange right to bear arms: District of Columbia v Heller as narrative

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Abstract

This article is an investigation into the unusual tolerance for guns in the United States (U.S.): how can such tolerance be sustained? It is a legal discourse analysis - a major legal text is its object of inquiry and it proceeds from the philosophical position that discourse itself reproduces substantive social experiences (here, living-with-guns). The legal text is District of Columbia v Heller (the U.S. Supreme Court's declaration on the 'right to bear arms'). Through a reading of Heller it is argued that one of the ways by which the place of guns in the U.S. is sustained is through the narrative occlusion of gun killers, as subjects. Discursive strategies are employed in Heller that shut killers as subjects out of the story, and that occlusion is a condition of the story's coherence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-76
Number of pages26
JournalGriffith Law Review
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018

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