Second Amendment Debated
For or Against Guns

The Truth About the Second Amendment

“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.”


The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
According to the Violence Policy Center:

Issue: The Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees an individual citizen the right to own and carry a gun.

Response: While the gun lobby focuses its arguments on the second half of the Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms as stated in the Constitution is fundamentally based on states’ need for a well-regulated militia. The Second Amendment was adopted to ensure the right of states to maintain their own militia to protect themselves against foreign and federal encroachment. It does not guarantee an individual’s right to own firearms for self defense. The National Guard, created in 1903, is the contemporary equivalent of the organized state militia. The citizens in the National Guard are provided with arms when called to duty, and are not required to privately own firearms for service.

No federal court, including the U.S. Supreme Court, has ever overturned a gun control law on the grounds of the Second Amendment. The federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court, has been remarkably consistent in finding that the Second Amendment protects a state’s right to keep a well-regulated militia, rather than an individual’s right to bear arms. In one definitive Supreme Court case, United States v. Miller, Miller claimed that his Second Amendment rights were violated by a federal law that prohibits the possession of sawed-off shotguns. The Court ruled,
“In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a [shotgun] at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.” The federal courts have always upheld gun control laws when they
have been contested on Second Amendment grounds.

This information and more on it can be found at
The Violence Policy Center at www.vpc.org

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last revised 05-Dec-2011 10:33 PM

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