Understanding the Second Amendment


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The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

By David Freestone


“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”. (EMPHASIS ADDED) It would seem that this short but concise amendment would be clear to all Americans, that the bearing of arms by honorable citizens of our country is inviolate. However, this simple statement has become one of the most controversial tenets of our constitution and is constantly vilified by those who would take this basic right from law abiding Americans’.

To understand this confusion, I think we need to return to the time in which it was authored…As you will recall the American Revolution was fought to remove the tyrannical yoke of Great Britain from the necks of the colonists. The increasing taxation, as well as onerous laws, without any representation caused incrementally increasing frustration among the colonists.

This ultimately resulted in rebellion and war with England. The first battle was in fact fought to stop the British from seizing a stockpile of arms and powder that the colonists had gathered at Concord Massachusetts. This resulted in the battle known as Lexington and Concord.

Early in the war the colonists struggled to supply enough arms for their ragtag army to fight with and the English sought to deprive them of all arms. After the war was concluded the colonies began the laborious task of creating a constitution that all of the states could agree on.

When the constitution was finally ratified in 1788 it was recognized that there were some things not addressed and so on March 4, 1789, the congress again met to address the additional needs of the infant country. The following is the opening statement of the meeting. “The Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution”.

It is my belief that the constitution, which includes the bill of rights, was inspired by God, who worked through these men to develop a document which would stand as a guardian of freedom to lead this country to greatness. I would also submit that without the second amendment the protections of the constitution would be impossible to maintain as it was meant as a bulwark against a central government encroachment on the rights and freedoms of the citizens of this country. One must remember that these people had just thrown off the powerful and overreaching government of England and desired to have a counterbalance to the powers of the newly established government, should any such excesses again creep in. Additionally, we as citizens need to be able to defend our loved ones and ourselves from those who would cause us harm.

Some people try to twist things by saying that the second amendment only applies to a formal militia like the national guard. In 1990 then Chief Justice William Rehnquist reviewed the phrase “the people” as used by the framers of the constitution and he and four other Supreme Court Justices agreed that “while this textual exegeis (explanation) is by no means conclusive, it suggests “the people” protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and

Second Amendment, and to whom the rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community. “(1)

In Summation the Second Amendment is an inalienable right, guaranteeing the citizens of this country the right to “keep and bear arms” in defense of their families, themselves, and their rights and freedoms. Our rights are derived from God and not government and as such must be valued and protected.

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