About AEP

Enough Is Enough.

End the Gun Violence Epidemic at its Source.

 

What is AEP?

The American Enlightenment Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on ending America’s gun violence epidemic. Launched on the 10th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s divided decision in D.C. v. Heller (2008), AEP opened a missing front against the epidemic that arose after Heller announced a constitutional right to own a gun.

Though already forgotten, there was no individual right before Heller’s “radical change in the law” (dissenting Justice Stevens). Courts in the 20th century held the 2nd Amendment was “meant solely to protect the right of the states to keep and maintain armed militia.” After Heller and its new right, expanded nationwide in McDonald v. Chicago (2010), gun purchases and violence increased and then accelerated to what we see today.

AEP approaches this national health epidemic from a different perspective – its source.

  • It’s crucial to see the malignant role of Heller and the need to overturn it.
  • It’s crucial to know Heller is the product of guesswork and vulnerable.
  • It’s crucial to understand the 2nd Amendment is no bar to gun reform. The amendment is constitutional bedrock, just not the bedrock assumed.

Who is AEP?

With its board and advisors, AEP is led by appellate counsel with long experience resolving legal enigmas. After the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, AEP founder, Robert Ludwig, began years of in-depth historical and legal research unraveling the mystery of the 2nd Amendment. Undeterred by long-held orthodoxy that the amendment is hopelessly inscrutable, he uncovered the amendment’s forgotten origins and plain meaning, allowing its enigmatic text finally to be understood and proven.

Finding long-unexamined assumptions and oversights, he applied insights and persistence used, in one case, to end a half-century inability of courts and scholars to explain other vexing text, persuading Justice Scalia who wrote Heller and other justices that “substantial” means “minimum” as an overlooked term of art, and in another, untangling century-long conflicts in a resolution adopted in unanimous Supreme Court decisions by Justices Scalia and Thomas.

His first article, “2nd Amendment Still Undecided, Hiding in Plain View” (Law360 Jan. 11, 2016), was published weeks after the Gun Epidemic was declared and weeks before Justice Scalia’s death. That and later articles are available on AEP’s website, including “High Court Gun Rights Case Ignores Key Case Law Problem” (Law360 Nov. 5, 2021).

The American Enlightenment Project was formed to bring to light the true meaning of the 2nd Amendment, and to undertake the necessary legal challenges to overturn Heller.

The Supreme Court itself has already paved the way. Vindicating AEP’s finding that the amendment’s command “shall not be infringed” protects a sovereign, not individual right, a near-unanimous Court recently reaffirmed that patent infringement involves a “public,” not “personal right.” That 7-2 decision, correcting a related misconception, is ironically by Justice Thomas, a defender of Heller’s personal right.

This and other key findings upend years of conventional wisdom and futility. Together they enable a return to a rational reading of the amendment, the undoing of Heller, and an end to this crisis.

Why AEP?

We know there are many groups advocating for sensible gun reform, and donors have donated hundreds of millions to fund their popular “common sense” solutions. So far to little avail. In fact, the epidemic has gotten worse.

AEP is unique in its approach. Though less flashy, it offers the best strategy for turning back the tide of gun violence in this country.

First AEP makes the direct case that the epidemic of gun violence is tied to the exponential growth of the number of guns in American homes and streets. Then using widely-available data we show that this increase in guns and gun violence has been caused by the DISASTROUS SUPREME COURT DECISION in the Heller case, that turned America’s longstanding gun problem into an epidemic.

This leads to the second prong of AEP’s approach. Heller must be overturned. We know most of you are saying, “Sure, but that is not going to happen with the current makeup of the Court.” We disagree. Only four (soon three) of its members were part of that decision. All the justices have, to varying degrees, indicated a willingness to overturn precedent where new historical facts come to light. AEP’s research has uncovered key oversights that never were argued or considered by the Court, and clearly demonstrate that Heller plainly misread the amendment and its history. Its attorneys also have a proven record of resolving intractable problems.

With your help AEP can bring these oversights to the attention of the courts and the Supreme Court, and help it right the glaring wrongs of Heller before its consequences grow worse still.

AEP’s Mission

AEP is dedicated to ending America’s gun violence epidemic by refocusing the gun debate and the courts on Heller and the real 2nd Amendment by:

  • Leading legal challenges to overturn Heller, a decision so flawed it can have no binding effect.
  • Reinstating legislative choices to enact sensible gun reform based on empirical judgments that legislatures, not courts, are best suited to make.
  • Educating the public on Heller’s deadly effects and the forgotten meaning of the amendment.

 

You can make a difference. If you see the critical need to address this epidemic at its source – the only strategy that offers real hope – please support us in any way you can.

For a fuller overview, please visit What AEP Does.”

For more information, see 2nd Amendment Explained and Heller’s 2nd Amendment.