The Importance and Meaning of the Second Amendment

The importance and meaning of the second amendment.

The main purpose of the second amendment was to protect your right to defend yourself from other people and from the government. The founding fathers agreed that the people had the right to overthrow the government if it ever became tyrannical. We can see this in the Declaration of Independence:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government

In the Federal Papers number 28, Alexander Hamilton also expressed this view:

If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.

These two pieces of writing show that the founding fathers believed that the people have the right to overthrow their government.

The individual Right to Bear Arms

In many of state constitutions the individual right to bear arms is clearly defined. Which some of the founding fathers help write. The Pennsylvania constitution of 1776 says:

That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

This shows that the founding fathers believed in the individual right to keep and bear arms.

The 2nd Amendment Protects All Firearms

A common misconception is that the founding fathers were only talking about muskets or that they couldn't foresee the strength of firearms today, this is extremely false. In the early 1700's the Puckle gun was invented. This was one of the first "rapid fire" guns. In 1777, Congress asked for the Belton flintlock to be made, which was a repeating rifle and could fire around 4 rounds per second. The only reason why Congress canceled the request was due to the price. But this shows the founding fathers knew these type of rifles were out there and they would be improved and they didn't decide to restrict those firearms.


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Most Helpful Girl

  • sometimes my older boyfriend takes me to the target range .
    he has a few rifles and handguns . i've learned to shoot and handle a gun safely .
    and love it . when i'm 21 i'm buying at least 2 handguns . bc girls are not safe
    on campus, in their homes, in their cars, at the mall or anywhere on the planet . from men .

    other interesting quotes by founding fathers
    www.buckeyefirearms.org/gun-quotations-founding-fathers

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    • America must be really dangerous if you need a bloody gun to protect you from men. What do they do there? Where I live, girls are perfectly safe from men. If a guy in Australia was found to be harassing a girl, the guy would be the next person to be harassed. That kinda thing does happen here.
      Also, shooting someone is going way too far. Learn martial arts.

    • @RachelleDraws not everyone can protect themselves good without a gun. Just look at the elderly and disabled. Even if they knew martial arts it probably won't help them.

    • I'm saying that shooting someone that is flirting with you is too far.

Most Helpful Guy

  • If the Second Amendment did not apply to any type of firearms invented after the adoption of the Bill of Rights, then the First Amendment would not apply to radio, television, or the internet.

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    • @Bell44444 I already understood those facts. I am not saying that the Second Amendment does not apply to any firearms invented after the adoption of the amendment. That is simply an argument which is occasionally heard from the left and I was providing the obvious response.

Join the discussion

What Girls Said 3

  • And now we have mass shootings. Yes!

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    • That has nothing to do with the second amendment.

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    • @D_Bone_Steak : Cain killed Abel with a rock. McVeigh used fertilizer. The Australian government uses bad legislation to commit murder. Dueterte in the Philippines once encouraged civilians to do in druglords "through any possible means, turning them in dead or alive."

      Homicidal savagery is part of a curse on the very essence of the human condition. The reason everyone picks on guns, is because cartridges can be controlled. The human heart, however, is often an un-tamable cesspool of venom.

    • @D_Bone_Steak People would still kill people, but guns make it easier to do this, and statistics show this. Guns also make up a large number of accidental deaths. Guns are a problem not just because they cause suicide and murder, they're a problem because they make it more deadly.

  • it's important to protect oneself

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  • I don't have a problem if people want guns.

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What Guys Said 33

  • 2nd amendment was written hundreds of years ago and times have change.

    If we look at history, there has been 0 successful rebellions against their government without strong military presence. To think that by having a couple rifles and bullets are going to do anything than be a pesky mequito is silly.

    Homedefense, don't even get me started on that fairy tale. By simply having a gun in the house increase your chances to be killed by 70%.

    Anyways.. this debate goes on forever however there is 1 good argument for having guns:

    - they are fun to shoot.

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    • Can you show me statistics of the 70%?

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    • You can't ban handguns. The supreme court already said you can't. But assault rifles are already banned.

    • According to history, Japan didn't even consider invading the US because our civilian population was so heavily armed.

      "By simply having a gun in the house increase your chances to be killed by 70%."
      There are two things wrong with that. First, is that you include suicides. Suicide is not a chance, it is a choice. Someone first chooses suicide, then he chooses the method. If a gun is available, it is a rational choice. It is likely to be more effective than pills. Second, many people have guns because they live in a dangerous area. Their increase of death is already enhanced.

  • Totally agree. The Constitution is clear about this and many other things. However it does not matter, and sadly will not protect us. The right of the people to keep and bear arms has already been infringed beyond repair. Now we have to have special licensing to own machine guns, explosives, short barreled shotguns, even sound suppressors. And a whole host of weapons are totally off limits to civilians. Also there are stipulations added to where your right to own any firearms can be stripped away, even for unrelated and victimless offenses. Make no mistake, we do not have the right to keep and bear arms in this country, even though the privilege is less restricted than in most other countries. Of course, we don't have the rights to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness either. Nor can we own our own property, nor speak freely. All our supposed rights are subject to government discretion, and are effectively rendered privileges or licensed activities.

    100 years ago in this country, the concept of defining possession of anything as a crime would be considered absurd. What you did with it would be your responsibility, and doing wrong actions against others were crimes - nothing else. I may be partly wrong on that - there were some victimless crimes and absurd and oppressive laws for sure, but I say this in contrast to how things are now, where countless articles and substances are illegal to merely possess by most anyone.

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  • I'm all for the second amendment.

    In the USA, every mass shooting occurs in tourist spots that usually don't allow open carrying (Las Vegas tourist area, downtown Boston during a marathon, etc.), or happen in buildings that don't allow open carrying (churches, movie theaters, schools, government business buildings, etc).

    If more citizens open carry somewhere, the less likely a mass shooting will occur, because the shooter will know he/she will be shot and killed before the plan is fully carried out.

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  • The founding fathers made the constitution a living breathing document that can be modified. Also by looking at your reasoning, if the 2nd amendment protects all firearms. . . then I should be able to own anything type of weapon up to and including nuclear bombs.

    Lastly, if the founding fathers felt that the people had the right to overthrow the government, why did we fight the civil war?

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    • A nuclear weapon isn't a firearm.

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    • @WalterRadio that is true, but where I live most people think of firearms when they hear arms.

    • "I should be able to own anything type of weapon up to and including nuclear bombs"
      Sure, but you have find someone willing to sell one to you. I personally knew some people who owned an unarmed ICBM.

      "the people had the right to overthrow the government"
      The Confederation was not trying to overthrow the government and there is nothing said that even if they were that they would win.

  • Here's the problem I have with it - the constitution starts out by saying:

    "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

    Widespread gun ownership very definitely does NOT "ensure domestic tranquility", and nor does it "promote the general welfare". Back in the 18th century, sure, it made sense - but now the effect of the second amendment is the exact opposite of what the constitution was intended to achieve.
    People need to stop using it to try and defend their right to continue a practice which results in thousands of deaths each year, and start looking not just at the letter of the law, but at the spirit of the law as well.

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    • "Widespread gun ownership very definitely does NOT "ensure domestic tranquility"
      Yes it does. Some of the nicest people you will ever meet will be met at the range.

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    • For my concealed carry permit class, the police officers giving the class specifically stated that deadly force was justified for stopping any felony in progress.

    • @WalterRadio - They can say what they like - if it ever went to court, you'd still be going to jail, so I guess you're lucky noone ever did try to steal a car in front of you (another reason for banning guns - people who own them but don't even know the laws surrounding their use). Anyway, this is all way off-topic - I have no interest in arguing over whether guns are good or bad - my point was that if gun ownership could be shown to be bad, the 2nd amendment could not be used to defend it. You can't argue that the law *should* allow a particular thing purely because it currently does allow it.

  • Actually the 2nd amendment doesn't actually give you the right to bear arms it treats that right as preexisting right. And thus protects that preexisting right.

    Also here.

    https://youtu.be/FOwy9OWfnAMhttps://youtu.be/kRAw3VWVyD8

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  • This is hundreds of years old and many things have changed. Saying that you need guns today to overthrow the government is ridiculous. The US is based on a strong democratic foundation with many systems in place making sure that it stays like this. And even if you get some shitty governement... it can only keep it's power if it has strong support in the population and in that case all those guns work against you.

    With every other law people complain if it's completely outdated and changes will get made... but with guns that doesn't matter. Every year, ten thousands of people die because of gun violence in the US, it's much higher than in every other western country and that all for some stupid reasons like this. If history has shown us one thing, then that more guns to protect against other guns won't solve the problem.

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    • Actually our murder rates aren't very high. Also, there has recently been western governments become tyrannical. Look at Turkey, and Spain is starting to go down that path as well.
      Also, the founding fathers were worried about the majority oppressing the minority.

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    • Also almost all guns were banned in the UK by the late 90's.

    • @Yumix
      "the homocide rate has dropped by 50% in the last 15-20 years in the UK"
      The murder rate in the US has also dropped by 50% in the last 35 years. But the US has seen an explosion in the number of people carrying concealed firearms and in the number of guns in circulation.

  • The definition of “to bear” means to own and carry according to Webster’s

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  • I have guns... nobody will take them.

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  • Go ahead and arm yourself to the teeth, you won't be a match for the United States Military, not even close.

    You'd have to be incredible to even last against the police once they focus on you. Don't kid yourself, you're not going to revolt and if you do then in all sincerity, you are dead.

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    • Dude, if the people ever overthrow the government, it won't be just one person. It will be millions. And most likely the military would split as well.

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    • Wouldn't take long. Bunch of rednecks with ARs and 12 gauges. That'll be over in a week

    • Also as previously mentioned not that many people are going to rebel. Organization will be bad also. Logistics are going to be a problem.

  • Don't be confusing the antis with facts.

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  • You are interpreting this. Actually the second amendment was to insure that the individual STATES had the right to form a well regulated militia. Read it again. What does a well regulated militia have to do with allowing any Tom, Dick, and Harry to acquire a firearm from Walmart? Did you get this from the NRA?

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    • Do you realize that militias aren't state run, right? Also, the second amendment reads, the right of the PEOPLE. But I already shared sources from the founding fathers that stated it was an individual right, you can refer to those sources.

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    • ok I read about the Heller case. It was over a law in Washington DC, not a state of the union. The Supreme court majority ruled that DC could not prohibit registration of handguns grouping them with hunting rifles and shot guns as protected by the 2nd Amendment. The court did expand the definition of militia to include ordinary people.

    • It really doesn't care if it was about a state law or a local law. The court decision has to be followed by all governments in the US. And yes, they actually named Pennsylvania's constitution as a evidence for their ruling.

  • Further, the wording of the Second is pretty explicit. to the founders, who loathed the idea of a standing army of professional soldiers, the citizenry at large were the "militia". Every able-bodied man from 16 to sixty was a soldier. And the only way to have them "well regulated" (trained, in the vernacular of the time), was to allow them each and every one have a military grade weapon (the musket, for them) at home. Regular use was the principle way to keep up shooting skills, even then.

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  • As non American i understand that you want fire arms to protect yourself from others and the government if shit ever gets too crazy to handle... however i also believe that the laws in the USA are way too loose, you can own pretty much anything you want , weapons that will enable you to start your own army... and its obvious that some are taking advantage of that and are shooting others whenever they feel a need to.

    now the reason i often hear is its for protection, to defend yourself against thugs or enemies or who knows what... except that if you're really up against organized crime unless you have your own mafia i doubt you will be able to fight them on your own no matter the amount of guns you have so its kinda useless to even have guns.

    and if your reasoning that you wanna use it in case some mass shooter starts shooting... well so far we haven't really heard of any cases of anyone shooting a mass shooter and usually these shooters end up causing some serious damage.

    to think that every person you meet has a gun is simply insane, plenty of people won't think twice about shooting you if you cut them in line at the grocery store, and such people should not have guns.

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    • Actually we can't own any gun we want. Also there has been mass shootings stopped by armed citizens. It doesn't happen much because most mass shootings happen in gun free zones.

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    • Also another purpose of a gun is to deter people from attacking you.

    • @Z-Spark
      "some are taking advantage of that and are shooting others whenever they feel a need to."
      There is something like 300,000,000 guns in the US. About 40% of American households have a gun (I know a Democratic household that has a gun, but no bullets).

      You need to understand there are several motivations for murder. The most common is economic. Drug gangs kill each other all the time. The next is a domestic dispute. Spouses and SOs kill each other.

      Terrorism and random mass shootings are very rare.

      "we haven't really heard of any cases of anyone shooting a mass shooter"
      That is not correct. There have been several cases of armed civilians stopping mass killers. You don't hear about it because the body count doesn't get high enough to make the news.

      Police officers are law abiding people. Concealed carry permit holders commit crimes at 1/7th the rate of police officers, per data.

  • I have no problem with anyone owing weapons to protect themselves , their property and (hopefully never needed) fight against tyrannical government but the version of gun control I would like to see is the authorities knowing who has, how many and what type of guns you have. For example the Vegas shooter stockpiled a large amount of weapons, it is reasonable to ask why. Then the question of lists whether a person has mental health issues or suspicions of domestic/international terrorism, if they wanted unusual amount or type of weapon again it is reasonable to ask why? - If you want to live in a society with guns then you should want the right people to have them and they are stored safely.

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    • No it is not reasonable.

      If the government had a list of who owns guns and what kind of guns they own, then they can pass a law to make those guns illegal and proceed to confiscate them. That is what the UK did. That is what Australia did. That is what New York City did.

      Paddock's motives are still an enigma. But in nearly every other random mass killing (not related to terrorism or a personal dispute), the killer had been prescribed psychiatric drugs. It isn't the guns, it is the drugs.

      Instead of knowing who has guns and what kinds, maybe the government should know who is on meds and what kinds. Then make that information public, so anyone can look to see if a crazy person lives in their neighborhood.

  • OP, I agree with you.

    Now, how do you feel about the fourth amendment? That's the one I'm passionate about.

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  • So, you're saying the Army, Navy, Air force and Marines should be disbanded immediately, since standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty and ought not to be kept up?

    Because, if you're willing to accept that they were wrong about that, you have to admit they might have been wrong about everyone having a gun, too.

    Frankly, any country would have to be insane to try to invade the USA (and, yes, that's at least partly because of all the guns), so the only reason you have a standing army is to protect your rich people's wealth and trade.

    If gun ownership was associated with a well-regulated militia, there would be less of a problem; create a chain of command, have ranks, and require regular training etc.

    If Puckle's inventions had worked, they would have been bought.

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    • Puckle's invention did work. It just was too expensive.

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    • There is no business the Armed forces have in the US. I think our current law enforcement is too much like a standing army, they should only be on call, like firefighters. I am insulted that small towns in the US give their forces BEARCATs and Humvees. That's a fucking police state. It's about time we remove this standing army from our streets. Standing army was referring to the army actually on patrol in the early US at the time. We can have a national defence, I support that, but it needs to be kept on reserve for defence only. We have no business being apart of the War on Terror.

      By the way, I'm a libertarian, not a liberal or BLM supporter.

    • "I go after your stronger arguments after." Did I miss it? :)

  • An amendment that was completely right... in the ages when the government was as corruptige as the worst gangs 8) 8)
    Should have been removed from the constitution tens of years ago.

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    • Who said the government isn't corrupt now? Even in modern times we have seen some tyrannical governments take over. Just look at Turkey.

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    • @TheGuyFromMiddleEast as long as the big leader is a fair person, no problem with it.
      But people like Erdogan or Putin... hum hum!
      Do you think these guys defend the interests of their people, or that they just do as if and only defend their own interests?
      Moreover, if Erdogan would be defending the interests of his country he'd proudly work on good bonds with European countries instead of constantly getting into riots with Western governments.

    • @Hans222 there is no way they can stay fair, that's the problem. That much power eventually corrupts everyone, even if they were angels at the beginning.

  • It'd important to protect yourself

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  • Gun laws are useless because cartels can simply import guns from South America, thereby enacting laws we are effectively enhancing the strength of cartels. It's much different than Australia here. And yet at the same time, the absolute freedom has allowed people to cause injury/death to themselves and others countless times.
    The founding fathers are centuries old, using their arguments is pointless this is a different time.

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