Americans Have the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

1559 Words7 Pages
Americans Have the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Our rights as Americans started to take shape when the Constitution of the United States was drawn up by the delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Three years later, a very important part of American history called the Bill of Rights was added. The Bill of Rights is looked upon and interpreted every day. It gives the citizens of the United States many of the rights and freedoms that we value today, and some of those are in jeopardy. One right that is at stake is our right to bear arms, which is addressed in the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is a highly debatable topic, and many legal scholars and the Supreme Court have yet to resolve the issues and controversy dealing with the Amendment. Until a decision can be made, the law will remain as it is currently interpreted. The citizens of the United States of America have the right to keep and bear arms.

The controversy about the Second Amendment is derived from how it is worded (Jordan). The debate about the wording can be broken into two different arguments. To understand the arguments it is important to know how the Amendment is worded. The Second Amendment 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 (qtd. in Anastaplo 61).” The first argument is that some people view the Second Amendment as two separate rights. The right of the people to keep and bear arms can be interpreted with the idea that each individual has the right to keep and bear arms; whereas, it could be a collective right giving just the members of the Militia the right to have guns (Gold). It is believed that the original meaning of the right to bear arms and the militia in the same Amendment was because in the early times of America the citizens needed weapons to guarantee their freedom and prevent the government from forming a dictatorship (Edel xi). The second debate is that the Amendment is one statement, therefore meaning that the militia has the right to bear arms. The problem of understanding the meaning of the Second Amendment has been brought before many courts all across America and has been ruled upon in different ways at different times. However, the Supreme Court has never declared it illegal to own guns.

Over the years, t...

... middle of paper ...

...iminals would be able to get guns illegally if they wanted them (Smith 25). It comes down to the age old saying of “guns do not kill people, people kill people.” The ability to keep and bear arms is also a right given to the American people by the Bill of Rights and was reinstated when one of the framers, Thomas Jefferson, said, “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”

Works Cited

Anastaplo, George. The Amendments to the Constitution: A Commentary. Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 1995.

Chidsey, Donald Barr. The Birth of the Constitution: An Informed History. New York: Crown, 1964.

Edel, Wilbur. Gun Control: Threat to Liberty or Defense Against Anarchy?. London: Praeger, 1995.

Gold, Bruce. “The 2nd Amendment: A Historical Understanding.” Keep and Bear 5 April 2004

Hickok, Eugene W., ed. The Bill of Rights: Original Meaning and Current Understanding. Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1991.

Jordan, Stan. “The Common Sense 2nd Amendment.” Keep and Bear 2001. 5 April 2004

Klein, Chuck. “What the Second Amendment Says.” The Cincinnati Enquirer 28 March 2001: B7. 5 April 2004

Smith, Guy. Gun Facts Version 2.0. 2000. 1 April 2004
Open Document