Angela Riley has posted the abstract of what looks to be a fascinating paper titled “Indians and Guns” on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In this article, I seek to fill a hole in existing legal scholarship by detailing the untold story of the relationship of Indians to guns in a set of crucial law-making moments: at the drafting of the U.S. Constitution and ratification of the Second Amendment; in 1924 as the Indian Citizenship Act was passed; in 1968 when Congress passed the Indian Bill of Rights; and today, where tribal governments still make their own laws and govern beyond the scope of the U.S. Constitution in Indian country. I examine and explain the unique positioning of Indian nations vis a vis the Second Amendment and lay out the contemporary implications of that undefined relationship. I provide an understanding of gun control and ownership as linked to Indian sovereignty and a complex dynamic of racial hierarchy and social control and show how, though developing in some ways parallel to the status of African-Americans and guns, Indian gun rights – largely because of complexities associated with Indian national sovereignty and peoplehood – diverted in crucial ways, both in the colonial period and today. Mark Tushnet has written that “[t]he Second Amendment is one of the arenas in which we as Americans try to figure out who we are.” I focus here on the corollary to that position, concluding that the history and, indeed, the current reality of Indians and guns is, in many respects, a reflection of a long-standing understanding of Indians and Indian nations as the un-‘we’, as peoples existing consistently outside the American polity.