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The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide in McDonald v. Chicago whether the Second Amendment right to bear arms applies against the states. The case is set for oral argument on March 2. Attorneys for Otis McDonald, seeking to overturn Chicago’s ban on handguns, have argued that the Court should not use research based on digital searches and should rely solely on established secondary histories. Virtuous history, however, should always check its prior conclusions against the surviving evidence from the adoption of the Constitution. The new digital searches allow us to collect a very large sample of the original evidence in a very short period of time.

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