As part of my pre-class homework for the TeenPact leadership school I was required to write a paragraph about any three amendments in the Bill of Rights. I chose the second, sixth, and eighth. Below are my thoughts on the Second Amendment. The next one will be up next Friday. Please take time to share your thoughts in the comments, I’d love to hear what you have to say.
“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.”
On the surface, we can see that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to “keep and bear Arms,” but digging a little deeper, there is more to this amendment than it is usually given credit for. Let’s step back and look at The Bill of Rights as a whole. Its purpose is to hold the federal government in check by specifically enumerating additional rights that individuals and states have under this new system of government. It is also largely based off of the conditions in Europe that the founders had tried to escape from by creating the United States. The right guaranteed by the Second Amendment is to keep the federal government from being the only entity with military force. All too often in the founders’ days, as well as ours, weapons become the property of the state, unarming the populous and leaving them at the whim of whoever is in power. The founding fathers were not so arrogant to think that their government could succeed where others had failed and better control weapons than the citizens. However, let’s look for the purpose. This is the only amendment in the Bill of Rights that specifically gives the reason for its existence. It is because a well-regulated militia is necessary for the security of a free state that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Without the citizens of a nation being in possession of physical force, a free state could never last; it would cease to exist or cease to be free.