Origins of the 2nd Amendment
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is one of our country’s founding documents. It was adopted in Decemberteenth, 1791, and the nine other provisions of the Bill of Rights were later adopted by the states. The second amendment guarantees an individual right to “keep and bear” arms within the limits imposed by the constitution and laws. This right was intended as a deterrent against arbitrary laws which “deprive people of their right to keep and carry arms and impose burdens and embarrassments upon them not required to their existence.” The right to bear arms has become deeply rooted in American history and is one of our country’s greatest unifiers.
The second amendment was included in the Bill of Rights
after the Constitutional Convention. Since the amendments were adopted by the states, it was debated and amended in the several states ratifying the document on the eve of the Constitutional Convention. Most of the amendments repeated the same sentiment and all had to be approved by the states before they could be applied. Today, many state constitutions retain second amendment rights. However, many have added amendments that restrict the rights.
The first amendment protects
the right of the people to keep and bear arms as well as the right of the state to maintain a well-regulated standing army. Being necessary for the security of a free state, the second amendment also safeguards the people from excessive government interference with the right of the people to arm themselves for self-protection. The right of the people to assemble, petition, and speak freely is secured by the second amendment to the united states constitution. Individual rights are secured by the second amendment to the constitution as well. The right of the citizens to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable seizure or damage, are protected by the second amendment.
The 2nd amendment
to the constitution has been interpreted differently by different courts. Some courts have held that the second amendment protects an individual’s right to have a concealed handgun in their home for protecting themselves from threats or protecting their family. Others have ruled that the second amendment protects an individual’s right to possess firearms if they are registered and certified to do so with the Selective Service. Still others, including the United States Supreme Court, have ruled that the second amendment protects an individual’s right to own and possess a gun whether they are a member of a recognized gun club or not.
One interesting part of the Second Amendment’s history
is that it was adopted during a period of intense confrontations between the Constitutionalists and the Anti-Federalists. The outcome of the struggle led to the adoption of the second amendment by a majority of states. A century later, in what is known as the “Whiskey Rebellion,” many anti-Federalists writings and pamphlets promoted the second amendment as an essential part of the U.S. constitution. Many Americans viewed these anti-Federalists as anti-gun and therefore any violation of the second amendment would result in the confiscation of firearms in a very dramatic way indeed.
Throughout the years,
amendments have been made to the Second Amendment. The contemporary amendment can be seen as creating a new right for individuals to own firearms even if they do not belong to any organized army camp. Today, the right to own firearms is seen as related to individual rights of freedom of speech and worship. These amendments were designed to help maintain a government guarantee of citizens’ right to bear arms to protect them from tyrannical rule. This is not to suggest that all American governments have abided by these amendments. The amendment may have been weakened in the 17th Century by Parliament’s misuse of its power by limiting the rights of individuals.