Why Annie Can’t Get Her Gun: A Feminist Perspective on the Second Amendment
Inge Anna Larish   |   1996 U. Ill. L. Rev.

The Second Amendment speaks of the "right to bear arms" in gender-neutral terms. Yet, participants in the gun control debate portray women most often as the victims of gun use, rather than actors with the right to protect themselves. This exclusion, the author contends, ignores the realities of women's lives: women are subjected to violence by strangers and spouses, unable to call on the police for effective protection, and bound by male-oriented views of self-defense. After examining each of these circumstances in turn, the author analyzes the impact on women of specific gun control measures, drawing on feminist jurisprudence and current interpretations of the Second Amendment. The author concludes that, in this arena, society currently denies women the liberties possessed by men; in doing so, it enforces both physical and political subordination. Finally, the author constructs an inclusive view of gun control measures and self-defense doctrine that gives shape, for women, to the Second Amendment's guarantee of self-protection.