Interpretation of the Second Amendment

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, United States Constitution, United States Pages: 5 (1738 words) Published: March 21, 2014
Dyllon Mahan
Professor Roberta Zehner
Composition 2
16 April 2013
The Second Amendment
Claim: The literal interpretation of the Second Amendment is still valid.

Argument: The latest interpretation of the Second Amendment by the Supreme Court guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Counter-Argument: The Second Amendment does guarantee an individual right, but there's still no connection to a militia.

Rebuttal: The combination of the New Jersey Constitution and New Jersey Statute Title 38A:1-2, the state of New Jersey does recognize an active militia. Regardless of ones knowing it or not, they belong to an unorganized citizens militia rendering the second amendment of the bill of rights valid in a literal interpretation.

The Second Amendment
Interpreting the meaning of something that was drafted hundreds of years ago can be quite a challenge; however, it's a task that the Supreme Court is asked to do every day. With all of the recent mass shootings that have occurred throughout the country it's almost inevitable that the court will be asked to once again interpret the Second Amendment, and establish whether or not it's still valid. The liberal media will have you believe that the Second Amendment is out-dated, and that the country is begging for it to be changed; however, the literal interpretation of the Second Amendment is still valid in today's society.

The Second Amendment reads, “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” ("District of Columbia v. Heller."). The terminology is difficult to connect with today's society; however, the latest supreme court decision has offered tremendous insight into what it means to the people of current times. That landmark case was District of Columbia v. Heller, and it was decided in 2008. Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the majority opinion of the court, “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home” ("District of Columbia v. Heller."). The key words in Justice Scalia's opinion are, “unconnected with service in a militia”. This case undoubtedly set precedence that citizens of the United States, regardless of there connection to a militia, have an individual right guaranteed by the United States Constitution to keep and bear arms.

Individuals who are for increased gun control measures argue that the Second Amendment is heavily out-dated, and that the contextual meaning is not valid in today's society. Using a literal interpretation of the amendment, opponents argue that citizens are not connected to a regulated militia, and therefore don't have that individual right to keep and bear arms. This stance does hold limited weight and validity. The average citizen doesn't claim any affiliation to a well regulated militia, realistically any militia, and most certainly doesn't practice the act of the Second Amendment's intended purpose, to protect against government tyranny. In an article published by The Atlantic, "Why the Citizen Militia Theory Is the Worst Pro-Gun Argument Ever", Mark Nuckols explains the logic, “... Individual Americans armed with military-style assault rifles could hardly pose any serious resistance to any future tyrannical central government supported by overwhelmingly powerful military capabilities.” (Nuckols). It's no secret that the United States Military is powerful, and any common-day militia would stand no realistic chance against the United States' superior armed forces. It would be foolish to suggest anything different. Using this kind of logic the Second Amendment surely does seem to be out of date. If the average citizen doesn't claim an affiliation to a militia, what purpose does the Second Amendment serve, and how could it possibly be considered valid?...

Cited: "District of Columbia v. Heller." Cornell University Law School. Web. 9 Apr 2013.
"New Jersey Permanent Statutes Database." New Jersey Legislature. Web. 9 Apr 2013.
Nuckols, Mark. "Why the Citizen Militia Theory Is the Worst Pro-Gun Argument Ever." The Atlantic. Web. 8 Apr 2013.
Volokh, Eugene. "Sources on the Second Amendment and Rights to Keep and Bear Arms in State Constitutions." UCLA Law School. Web. 11 Apr 2013.
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