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Why was the Second Amendment written, and why is it still important today?

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ask996 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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On one hand, one might consider that fire arms are so prevalent in our society, that perhaps it no longer needs to be addressed as a fundamental right. However, the second amendment takes it farther than that. It's about more than carrying weapons. It's about our right to protect our home and our family. Considering the increase in crimes against families and homes--this should still be a fundamental right.

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kjcdb8er eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The second amendment exists because the American founders, and the American people as a whole, recognized that the right to defend one's self, one's family, and one's property is a fundamental human right. A person does not need the government's permission to defend themselves, and it is immoral for the government to hinder them in that regard. The founders did not delineate between the need for self-defense against criminal elements or government, and used both as examples for why American citizens needed to retain personal firearms.

That there are those today, in and out of government, who desire to disarm law-abiding citizens demonstrates the wisdom of including the second amendment among the personal rights and privileges that are enumerated to citizens of the United States by the Constitution.

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brettd eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The main purpose of the Second Amendment was so the people, mainly the anti-federalists, had a final check on the power of government.  If the contract of the Constitution was violated and someone tried to seize power like a King or to withhold the rights of the people, another armed revolution would be possible.

If the government was aware of this right, and knew that the population was armed, then they felt the government would be much less likely to take undemocratic actions for fear of popular revolt and overthrow.

We are a gun culture, and a very well armed society, with estimates of over 250 million guns in private hands, in a country of 310 million people.  You can do the math on that one.  The 2nd Amendment is both controversial and beloved by American citizens, who still defend it ardently, and support the National Rifle Association which is designed to do just that, to the extreme even.

Some people believe that, since we have a democratic tradition dating back over 200 years, and a military that would defend the Constitution before any individual President, that the 2nd Amendment should not be taken so literally.  This view, of course, is also controversial.

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krishna-agrawala | Student

The second amendment pertains to the fundamental right of people to carry firearms. I believe even when this amendment was introduced, it was an emotional over-reaction. People can be allowed to carry guns without making it a fundamental right. I am sure there are many more people in the USA with automobiles or with driving license that the people possessing guns. But for this it is not necessary to make ownership of an automobile or the right to drive it a fundamental right.

In any case even if he second amendment was justified when it was passed, I do not think it has any importance today.

frizzyperm | Student

The original idea was that 'the people' could, if necessary, resist tyrannous governments by forming militia to fight against the state. That is what the ammendment was for. That provision has absolutely no relevance to the modern world and now the second ammendment prevents law and order, rather than protects it. (For example, The Waco Siege.)

The 2nd ammendment is the excuse behind which emotionally inadequate gun-freaks can lovingly fondle their shiny phallic substitutes. Guns have no place in a civilised society. All the arguments put forward by the KKK... sorry, I mean NRA, are irrelevant, because they avoid the real issue; guns give people feelings of ultimate physical and social power, and some people lust after that feeling. The very popular pro-gun phrase, 'you can have my gun when you prise it from my cold dead fingers' tells you all you need to know about the emotionally unintelligent and aggresive mindset of the hardcore pro-gun supporter.

The Second Ammendment is cleary out-dated and should be repealed. What militia?