The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
I just learned that Don Kates, the father of the modern Second Amendment revival, died Tuesday. Don wrote "Handgun Prohibition and the Original Meaning of the Second Amendment," 82 Mich. L. Rev. 204 (1983), the first modern article in a major law review arguing for the individual-rights view of the Second Amendment, and since then he wrote or co-wrote over 15 more law review articles, as well as writing, co-writing or editing four books. His work has been heavily cited both by courts and by scholars—and he did this while a lawyer in private practice (with occasional time as a think-tank researcher), rather than a law professor. Though he made his greatest mark on gun law and policy, Don started his career as a lawyer doing legal aid for the poor, chiefly in the area of civil rights and police misconduct. (He worked with noted radical lawyer William Kunstler.)
Don was also a funny and warm person, whom it was always a pleasure to be around. He will be long missed, and long remembered.