second amendment


by Tiffany Gabbay, The Blaze  |  published on March 7, 2013

At the center of today’s contentious debate on gun control is the U.S. Second Amendment and its role, interpretation and place in modern-day society. Indeed, times have changed since 1791 when it was deemed that 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.”

But what does this statement mean, exactly, and how does it inform our present-day circumstances, especially in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting?

Does the term “well regulated” imply that gun reforms and regulations are perfectly within the purview of the constitution? Or does the term “well regulated” have a militaristic, rather than legal interpretation? In other words, does it simply mean a “well-organized” militia.

When polled, most gun owners hold moderate views on gun ownership and look favorably on imposing background checks and strict vetting processes for those seeking to purchase guns. It is typically only when lawmakers propose outright bans that public discord and resistance mounts.

Would making the culture around guns more like the culture around smoking and drinking and driving, like some people believe, change the landscape around firearms thereby making America a safer place?

These questions and a myriad others abound as TheBlaze continues its series on this complex and at times, misunderstood subject matter.

First, we will begin with the most basic question: What does a “well-regulated militia” really mean?

Constitutional historian Saul Cornell explores the basis of the Second Amendment in his book, “A Well Regulated Militia,” arguing that the founders actually considered the right to bear arms a civic, rather than individual or collective right. This means that each citizen would be obligated to arm himself so that he could participate in a well regulated militia.

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