second amendment

The Second Amendment & the Right to Bear Arms

by Chad Brooks, LiveScience  |  published on January 24, 2013

At the center of the gun control debate, few things are as hotly disputed in the United States as the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

History of the Second Amendment

The Second Amendment provides U.S. citizens the right to bear arms. Ratified in December 1791, the amendment says:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

James Madison originally proposed the Second Amendment shortly after the Constitution was officially ratified as a way to provide more power to state militias, which today are considered the National Guard. It was deemed a compromise between Federalists — those who supported the Constitution as it was ratified — and the anti-Federalists — those who supported states having more power. Having just Interpretations of the Second Amendment

Since its ratification, Americans have been arguing over the amendment’s meaning and interpretation. One side interprets the amendment to mean it provides for collective rights, while the opposing view is that it provides individual rights.

Those who take the collective side think the amendment gives each state the right to maintain and train formal militia units that can provide protection against an oppressive federal government. They argue the “well regulated militia” clause clearly means the right to bear arms should only be given to these organized groups. They believe this allows for only those in the official militia to carry guns legally, and say the federal government cannot abolish state militias.

Those with the opposite viewpoint believe the amendment gives every citizen the right to own guns, free of federal regulations, to protect themselves in the face of danger. The individualists believe the amendment’s militia clause was never meant to restrict each citizen’s rights to bear arms.used guns and other arms to ward off the English, the amendment was originally created to give citizens the opportunity to fight back against a tyrannical federal government.

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