the right to keep and bear arms

Topics: United States Constitution, Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, Supreme Court of the United States Pages: 6 (935 words) Published: April 15, 2014


The Right to Bear Arms

Chad Hill

American Government
Maj. David Thorneloe
January 09, 2014

The right to bear arms is the most important liberty to American citizens. It allows people to protect themselves from other people and the government. Even though firearm technology has vastly improved the fundamental right remains. The founding fathers had the foresight so see this and call it arms. Even in the late 17thand early 1800 century fire arms where even then progressing.

The reason why we have the 2nd Amendment

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people shall not be infringed1. The framers understood that a public without arms would be force to submit to the will of the government. Having arms was important to the framers that a lot of citizens had to hunt for there on food. The need to protect your self-from attack on your property and your safety is a natural right. Another reason why they put the right to bear arms in our Constitution is because of history. They themselves had arms when they fought the Revolutionary war against the British. It was on logical for them to give this right to us because of how our great nation was founded. They also knew that by having a militia they would protect the states form the government. Without the ability to protect yourself the government can do what it wants without worrying about armed citizens and well-funded militia. By having a armed citizenry it keeps the government somewhat honest and makes sure both state and national governments follow the rules.
The right to bear arms

The 2nd Amendment is so important that it was not changed until 2008, a remarkable 200 years.2 The case which is called District of Columbia vs. Heller had a very important ruling. District of Columbia law bans handgun possession by making it a crime to carry an unregistered firearm and prohibiting the registration of handguns; provides separately that no person may carry an unlicensed handgun, but authorizes the police chief to issue 1-year licenses; and requires residents to keep lawfully owned firearms unloaded and dissembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device. Respondent Heller, a D. C. special policeman, applied to register a handgun he wished to keep at home, but the District refused. He filed this suit seeking, on Second Amendment grounds, to enjoin the city from enforcing the bar on handgun registration, the licensing requirement insofar as it prohibits carrying an unlicensed firearm in the home, and the trigger-lock requirement insofar as it prohibits the use of functional firearms in the home. The District Court dismissed the suit, but the D. C. Circuit reversed, holding that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess firearms and that the city’s total ban on handguns, as well as its requirement that firearms in the home be kept nonfunctional even when necessary for self-defense, violated that right.3 There are two clauses that stand out the most from this court case: 1. 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. 2. The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Supreme Court interpretations

Until 2008 the Supreme Court of the United States had never seriously considered the constitutional scope of the Second Amendment. In its first hearing on the subject, in Presser v. Illinois (1886), the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment prevented the states from “prohibiting the people from keeping and bearing arms, so as to...


Bibliography: 1. The U.S Constitution 2nd Amendment
2. The American Democracy 11th edition
Chapter 4
3. http://www.loc.gov/law/help/second-amendment.php
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