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Robert J. Spitzer

Distinguished Service Professor and Chair of Political Science, SUNY Cortland

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About Robert

Spitzer's chief areas of expertise are gun policy (including politics, history, law, and criminological consequences of guns) and the American presidency (especially president's veto power and other constitutional powers, presidential behavior, electoral, political, and policy dimensions of the office, and inter-branch relations).

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In the News

"Texas and New York: A Tale of Two State Gun Laws," Robert J. Spitzer, New York Daily News, January 25, 2022.
"The NRA Could Be Winning Its Long Game Even As It Appears To Be in Dire Straits," Robert J. Spitzer, The Conversation, November 24, 2021.
"The Coming Collision of Gun Laws and Rights," Robert J. Spitzer, Expert Opinion, Rockefeller Institute of Government, May 10, 2021.
"The Problem With a Self-Pardon," Robert J. Spitzer, History News Network, January 14, 2021.
"Capitol Riot a Fitting End to Trump Presidency Built on Lies," Robert J. Spitzer, Opinion, Syracuse Post-Standard, January 8, 2021.
"Guns and the 2020 Elections," Robert J. Spitzer, Election Analysis - United States, November 15, 2020.
"Originalism, Shot Full of Holes: A Primer for Amy Coney Barrett," Robert J. Spitzer, New York Daily News, October 14, 2020.
"President Trump’s Record on Promises: Did He Keep Them? (Analysis)," Robert J. Spitzer,, October 1, 2020.
"Guns Don’t Belong Near Polling Places. Right Wingers Want Them There Anyway," Robert J. Spitzer, Perspective, The Washington Post, September 30, 2020.
"The NRA Is Doomed. It Has Only Itself To Blame," Robert J. Spitzer, The Washington Post, August 8, 2020.
"Why Are People Bringing Guns to Anti-Quarantine Protests? To Be Intimidating," Robert J. Spitzer, The Washington Post, April 27, 2020.
"There’s No Second Amendment Right to Large-Capacity Magazines," Robert J. Spitzer, New York Times, August 5, 2019.
"The Gun-Safety Issue Is Actually Helping Democrats," Robert J. Spitzer, The New York Times, November 12, 2018.
"Laws We Used to Have on the Books Could Have Prevented the Florida School Shooting," Robert J. Spitzer, The Washington Post, February 15, 2018.
"America Used to Be Good at Gun Control. What Happened?," Robert J. Spitzer, New York Times, October 3, 2017.
"The Link between Domestic Violence and Mass Shootings, Explained by a Gun Policy Expert," Robert J. Spitzer, Interview with Hope Reese, Vox, July 21, 2017.
Robert J. Spitzer quoted on implication of Scalise shooting on gun laws by Emily Cochrane, "After Scalise Shooting, a Twist: Lawmakers Want to Loosen Gun Laws" New York Times, July 9, 2017.
Robert J. Spitzer quoted on the incentive to buy guns by Editorial Board, "Even as President, Donald Trump Panders to the N.R.A." New York Times, April 29, 2017.
"The NRA Wants to Suppress One of Guns' Most Important Safety Features," Robert J. Spitzer, Washington Post, January 23, 2017.
"Stand Your Ground Makes No Sense," Robert J. Spitzer, New York Times, May 4, 2015.
Regular contributions by Robert J. Spitzer to Huffington Post.


Guns across America: Reconciling Gun Rules and Rights (Oxford University Press, 2015).
Argues that our understanding of the gun issue as it has evolved in the U.S. is upside down, looking at gun law history, the Second Amendment, stand your ground laws, and New York State gun laws.
The Politics of Gun Control (8th Edition) (Routledge, 2021).

Applies policy theory to the key elements of the gun debate, including analysis of the Second Amendment, cultural-historical factors, interest group behavior, criminological consequences, legislative and executive politics.

Saving the Constitution from Lawyers: How Legal Training and Law Reviews Distort Constitutional Meaning (Cambridge University Press, 2008).
Offers a sweeping indictment of the legal community when it enters into the realm of constitutional interpretation.
The Presidency and the Constitution: Cases and Controversies (with Michael A. Genovese) (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2005).
Analyzes and examines the courts’ view of presidential power.
President and Congress: Executive Hegemony at the Crossroads of American Government (McGraw-Hill; and Temple University Press, 1993).
Provides an analytical and critical treatment of presidential-congressional relations.
The Presidential Veto: Touchstone of the American Presidency (SUNY Press, 1988).
Discusses the constitutional antecedents and modern applications of the veto power, including contemporary controversies.