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What is the Second Amendment

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states, “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” (U.S. Const. amend. II).

“A well-regulated militia” has many interpretations as some may regard it as being limited to citizens of the military or those who have been trained by the armed forces. However, as the Amendment goes on, it states “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Therefore, “well-regulated militia” is specifically referring to “the people”. But who are “the people” the Second Amendment is referring to? “The people” is whoever falls under the umbrella of the community the Second Amendment was designed for, which in this case is the United States. Many may argue that “the people” is simply the military because the Second Amendment uses the words “well-regulated militia”. According to the District of Columbia vs Heller (2008), “The unamended Constitution and the Bill of Rights use the phrase ‘right of the people’ two other times, in the First Amendment’s Assembly-and-Petition Clause and in the Fourth Amendment’s Search-and-Seizure Clause” (para.7). This confirms that the Constitution use of “the people” refers to individuals’ rights and not just those of the military.

A well-regulated militia is necessary for the security of a free state since without any militia present, crime would be more amok. Criminals would commit more crimes knowing a law-abiding citizen would be defenseless since the threat of possible handguns or other military force would not be on the person, so the victim would not be able to protect themselves adequately from criminal attacks. Some may interpret “arms” as being a club or a bat. “The 1773 edition of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary defined ‘arms’ as ‘weapons of offence, or armor of defense”’ (Heller, 2008, para.12). This means that “arms” isn’t limited to just bats and clubs. Arms can be anything that is a weapon- however deadly it may be. Citizens have the right to keep and bear arms, and these rights cannot be infringed or undermined.

The Second Amendment allows American citizens to carry weapons to protect themselves from attacks. We can always use these same weapons to keep crime from happening to us or to maintain the security of our community regardless of if we are members of the United States military or not-and to undermine this right would be deemed unconstitutional.


District of Columbia v Heller, 478 F. 3d 370 (2008).

District of Columbia v Heller, 478 F. 3d 370 (2008) (Bryer, J. dissenting).

Second Amendment. Interactive Constitution.

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