What is the 2nd Amendment?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In the United States today, the Second Amendment is one of the most controversial amendments to the Constitution.  The Second Amendment is the amendment that protects Americans’ gun rights.  It is hard to interpret just how much it protects those rights and the amendment is, for this reason, the subject of much debate.

The Second Amendment is rather short.  It reads simply

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.

Clearly, this amendment is meant to give Americans some degree of freedom to own guns.  The question is how much of this freedom it is supposed to give.

To gun rights advocates, the important part of this amendment is the part that says “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  To them, this means that the government has no business imposing regulations on the types of guns that people can buy or putting hurdles in the way of buying those guns.  For example, they argue that people should be able to buy semi-automatic weapons capable of firing a bullet every few seconds.

To gun control advocates, the important part of the amendment is the phrase “A well regulated Militia.”  They argue that this means that the whole purpose of keeping guns is to be part of a militia.  Therefore, they say, the government has the right to regulate guns since people no longer need to keep them for use in the militia.

The Second Amendment, then, is a very controversial amendment that has to do with the right to bear arms.

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nicole8923's profile pic

nicole8923 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

The Second Amendment, protects the right of individuals to keep and bear arms. The Supreme Court of the US has ruled that the right vests in individuals, not merely collective militias, while also ruling that the right is not unlimited and does not prohibit all regulation of either firearms or similar devices.

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Jyotsana's profile pic

Jyotsana | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

The 2nd Amendment was the right to keep and bear arms in English common law and was influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689. 

fashionableb1's profile pic

fashionableb1 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

2nd Amendment: Right to bear arms (1791)

This has caused a lot of controversy for past few years because of President Obama's view on the amendment and the Gun Rights situation.

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