A Guide to the Second Amendment
The Second Amendment, or Amendment II, of the United States Constitution is the amendment and the section of the Bill of Rights that says that people have the right to keep and bear arms. The Second Amendment was adopted into the United States Constitution on December 15, 1791, along with the other amendments in the Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights were introduced into the United States Constitution by James Madison.
The Text of the Second Amendment
There are two important versions of the text found in the Second Amendment, but the only differences are due to punctuation and capitalization. The text of the Second Amendment which is found in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights is the following:
" 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."
What Does the Second Amendment Mean?
The Second Amendment is only a sentence long. However, there are some very important phrases that need to be carefully looked at. Here are some explanations for key phrases in the Second Amendment.
Militia: During early American history, all males who were between the ages of sixteen to sixty were required to be a part of the local militia in their towns and communities. Almost everyone during this time used and owned guns. The few men who did not use or own a gun were required by law to pay a small fee instead of participating in the military services of their communities. These militias defended the communities against Indian raids and revolved, acted as a police force when it was needed, and was also available to be called upon to defense either the State or of the United States of America if it was needed.
Bear arms: When the Second Amendment was written, arms meant weapons. The word arms did not necessarily only mean guns, but it definitely included guns. The Second Amendment did not specifically explain what categories or types of arms nor did it list what weapons were considered arms. When you bear arms, this means you physically carry weapon. You may have arms in your home as well as on your person.
Shall not be infringed: The Second Amendment does not grant any right to bear arms. Furthermore, the rest of the Bill of Rights does not describe any right to do so. These rights are thought of as natural rights or God-given rights. In the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is just a reminder to the government that they should not try to stop people from having this right.