Don Kates, A Constitutional Scholar Who Changed the Course of History

I don’t think that’s an overstatement. Don is an attorney and former law professor who led the renaissance of Second Amendment scholarship that has flourished over the last 50 years. I attended two of his Second Amendment scholarship conferences, having the privilege of sitting in a conference room with such luminaries as UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, law professor Joe Olson, and other prominent figures from academia.  The product of this exchange of ideas was many law review and other scholarly articles that influenced Second Amendment court decisions at the federal appellate level and U.S. Supreme Court. The result is today’s widely accepted understanding of the Second Amendment as an individual right to own firearms for self-defense, a right that the United States and all 50 states must now recognize.

Here is the anti-gun Washington Post’s grudging acknowledgement of Kates’s crucial role in making it all happen.


Dr. Tim Wheeler

—Timothy Wheeler, MD is director of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation. 

All DRGO articles by Timothy Wheeler, MD