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The Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights guarantees gun rights for millions of Americans and has contributed to the United States becoming the most heavily armed population in the world.

However, every state interprets the “right to bear arms” and a “well-regulated militia” differently. More recently, Congress passed the most significant gun control bill in 30 years that incentivizes states to enforce more red flag laws and expands background checks for gun owners between 18-21-years-old. The legislation directly results from the Uvalde shooting in Texas that left dozens of children dead.

Although The Supreme Court has thrown out state gun regulations that they view as unconstitutional, like in the recent case of New York, where the Court ruled 6-3 against a law that made it difficult to obtain a concealed carry handgun license. Nevertheless, the Second Amendment is at the center of the gun control debate and is blamed by Democratic politicians for the rise of mass shootings.

What does the Second Amendment mean in simple terms?

The original text of the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights 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.” The text has been interpreted as the right for individuals to buy and protect themselves with guns. In 2008, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that individuals may use this right for self-defense and other lawful purposes.

The United States has the most heavily armed citizenry in the world.

The United States has the most heavily armed citizenry in the world.
(iStock)

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The Court also ruled state governments, like the federal government, may not infringe upon this right.

What was the Second Amendment meant to protect against?

Why was the Second Amendment created? In modern times a common belief is that the Second Amendment was made to protect the right of citizens to hunt or defend their homes from unlawful entry. While these are examples of rights the Second Amendment protects, the historical purpose is broader.

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The historical purpose of the Second Amendment, according to constitutional scholars, was to give the citizenry of the newly formed nation the ability to fight against a tyrannical government and defend itself against unlawful violence. This mindset comes from the framers of the Constitution, who had just defeated the British Empire and wanted to ensure a tyrannical government would be less likely in the future.

Who wrote the Second Amendment?

James Madison, one of the founding fathers and framers of the Constitution, proposed the Second Amendment at the Constitutional Convention because he feared the government could use a centralized military to oppress an unarmed citizenry.

 

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