The second amendment is one of the best known amendments to the Constitution. It provides “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.”
History of the Second Amendment In early American colonial times, the right to carry a weapon was carried on by the early English colonists who needed arms to defend their property and the families from the Native Americans. Even if there had been an army, it would have taken too long for it to arrive in the event of trouble. Standing armies were very unpopular to the colonists because many of them had experienced standing armies in their native lands that ended up ruling …show more content…
Two Basic Arguments The crux of the question is: what does the second amendment really mean? There are two basic ideas about this. The first idea is that the purpose of the second amendment is only to give states the right to train a militia under state control, in other words a National Guard. This interpretation means that the right to bear arms is not an individual right but a state right for state purposes. If this is so, then the state can regulate guns however it sees fit. This interpretation is bolstered by the opening phrase: “A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free state.” This interpretation also construes the right of the people to be a collective right and not an individual right. The second interpretation is that the second amendment does not only refer to the state’s security but to individual self-defense. Proponents of this argument point to the fact that many state constitutions and the early British Common Law have defined the right to bear arms as an individual right.
The Supreme Court Opinion