The Second Amendment of The Constitution and its Controversy and Application Today

April 27, 2011
By Anonymous

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.

The Founding Fathers were in strong favor of the rights of the people to own guns, and this was one of the main causes for the Revolutionary War. But what does this amendment mean today, where our population has skyrocketed, and we have massive, crowded urban areas our ancestors could never have imagined. What were the Framer's original intents for this amendment? Does it still hold today? Examining this issue shows that yes, American citizens still do, and always should have the right to own guns.

Many people today strongly reject the idea that all people are allowed to own guns. They claim that the 2nd amendment seems to say that the purpose of the right to keep and bear arms was only for a State Militia, and now that we have an official army, which was not present in those days, this amendment is null and void. This is a legitimate argument. However, if we examine some quotes of the Framers, we see that many of them were of the opinion that everyone should own guns, and not just for the purpose of keeping a Militia. Richard Henry Lee states, "To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." Mr. Lee is of the opinion that all should own arms "To preserve liberty". It would seem that what he means by "to preserve liberty", is that the people should own weapons to protect their rights from being taken from them. This is interesting because the main force that the Framers considered to be a threat to rights of the people is the Government itself. Mr. Lee advocates that people be armed mainly as a check against tyranny. He does not believe that only those in a militia, the modern day equivalent being the National Guard, should own guns, but rather "the whole body of the people". The other Framers were of the same opinion. James Madison says, "[the Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … (where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." It is obvious that the Founding Fathers were of the opinion that everyone should own arms, mainly for a check against tyranny, despite the fact that they may be unconnected with a National Guard.

The second Amendment has gathered a great amount of controversy in the past years, and one of the most influential court cases is District of Columbia v. Heller, 2008. In this case, the District of Columbia had passed laws barring the registration of handguns, the requiring of licenses for all pistols, and mandating that all legal firearms must be kept unloaded and disassembled or trigger locked, and a group of private gun owners sued on the claim that this violated their second amendment rights. The court in D.C. ruled against the gun owners, claiming that this amendment applied only to state militias, and does not apply to private citizens. The case was then taken to the Supreme Court, and they ruled 5 to 4 in favor of the gun owners, claiming that the second amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia.

However many would also argue that the people could take up arms and attack a government which is not being unjust or tyrannical. This could certainly be the case, however, it would seem that this situation could almost never arise, simply because it would be near impossible to get an entire country to revolt if their rights were not being taken away. So we see that the right to bear arms to protect against an unjust government is completely legitimate.

However, what about the rights of people to own guns to protect themselves and their families? A popular argument against gun ownership is that if nobody could own guns, there would be no lethal attacks and therefore no reason to own guns for self defense in the first place. This argument does not hold up for very long. There are of course, many ways that criminals can get guns illegally, and even if they can't, lethal force can still easily be delivered. What if a young man breaks into the house of an elderly couple with a steak knife and a club? The victims should at least be allowed to own guns for protection.

But what do the Founding Fathers say about self defense? John Adams states, "arms in the hands of citizens (may) be used at individual discretion…in private self defense." The Founding Fathers understood the importance of arms for defense of home and family, and that is a principle that still holds today and probably always will.

It seems obvious that the Founding Fathers were of the opinion that all able bodied adults should own arms, to defend their lives, homes, and families, and to protect against tyranny, whether they are in the Militia, National Guard, or not. The courts of the United States have also done an excellent job protecting this fundamental right, and I believe that this shall hold true, and shall do more good than it ever could do wrong, for as long as America endures.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Jan. 10 2012 at 6:41 pm
i cant believe kids like me wrote this

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