What is the TRUE meaning of the second amendment?

Well, i know that its usually miss understand. I looked it up (for a class assignment) and i'm a little confused.

Was it implying that the militia (which were most local men) had the right to bear arms and could not get in trouble for it? and hunters?

So if you turn that into more modern day stuff, is it saying only people licensed to have guns (such as cops) or people who are licensed hunters are able to have guns with no penalty (unless misused of course)

Update:

Although your guesses thoughts and ideas are indeed very helpful and interesting but, i really do just need to know the meaning of the second amendment, i'm not trying to start an argument.

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  • 6 years ago
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    The Second Amendment is a limitation on the power of the Federal government which was part of the Bill of Rights (1791) package submitted by James Madison after being elected to Congress. The BOR is a collection of "restrictive and declaratory clauses[.]" See, Preamble, Bill of Rights (1791). The Second Amendment does not grant any right; it protects a right already possessed by the People. This premises arises under English common law and the Blackstone commentaries. Through the 18th century particularly during the Antebellum Period, and moreover after the decision in Barron v. Baltimore, 32 U.S. (7 Pet.) 243 (1833), it was understood that the Bill of Rights applied only to the Federal government; not the States. Thus, the split interpretations arise: States' Rights of Collective Interpretation (prefatory phrase) versus the Individual Rights (operative clause). Arkansas and Kentucky leaned towards the State's rights interpretation mostly to combat crime during the 1820s and 30s; while Tennessee and Georgia supported the individual rights view as it was supported in their state constitutions. Furthermore, in Nunn v. State, 1 Ga. (1 Kel.) 243 (1846), the State supreme court struck down a law prohibiting possession of firearms citing the Second Amendment protected it. Nunn never went to the United States Supreme Court. There was a brief reference to the Amendment in Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857) and would not again resurface until after the Civil War when Congress enacted the Second Freedmen Bureau Bill of 1866 which specifically granted Freedmen the "constitutional right to bear arms." Another interesting fact is that Union General Grant allowed Confederate General Lee's officers to leave after surrendering with their sidearms which provides further evidence of the understanding of the right at that time seemed absolute at the federal level bearing in mind these individuals raise arms against their nation in an insurrection or rebellion generally punishable by death. This right was further protected in the Reconstruction Acts and its' amendments to prevent adoption of Black Codes disarming Blacks in the South which resulted in a Supreme Court decision called, United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1876) which defined the applicability of the Amendment and was reiterated in Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252 (1886). Barron still applied and New York enacted the Sullivan Law. It was until 1927 that Congress found a new tool to combat violent crime under the Commerce Clause. Restriction of sending firearms through the U.S. mails. In 1934, Congress taxed and mandated registration of certain firearms under its Taxing Power and Necessary and Proper Clause. In 1938, Congress prohibited for the first time possession of firearms by a specified class of individuals (violent felons). The Supreme Court heard arguments in a case from the District Court in Texarkana, Arkansas. In Miller v. United States, 357 U.S. 301 (1958), the collective rights view dominated the Courts view of the amendment as it read it together with article I, sec. 10 of the Constitution. Despite the meaning of the Second Amendment in 1968 (Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145 (1968)), Congress under the Commerce Clause enacted the Gun Control Act with a companion law the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 which remains with us today as amended. Several facial attacks have challenged the Act, but it has survived. In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) shifted the view of the Second Amendment to the individual interpretation holding that Second amendment protects the right to possess firearms for lawful purposes such as protection of hearth and home. The irony is that the United States filed an amicus brief (friend of the Court) which asked the Court to accept the 'individual rights' interpretation; while a group of American generals argued in support of the collective rights view (militia clause). In 2010, the Court extended the amendment to the States in McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 3025 (2010). I hope this helps you understand the amendment a little better because most people really do not understand it. Any argument that the right is absolute is meritless just as those who argue registration violates the amendment especially when each of the 13 colonies mandated gun ownership during the Colonial Period. Failure to comply resulted in fines. So even then, a government knew where the guns were and who had them. Restrictions extended later to Blacks and Indians. During slavery, slaves in some states were permitted to have firearms as long as they possessed a license signed by their master for protection and hunting or other lawful purposes. Moreover, the Supreme Court has not declared the Second Amendment protects or is deemed a 'fundamental right' which is extremely important. Insofar as the the militia clause, the Colonist feared a standing army especially since they just ousted the British Army from the United States. So each free male was required to have a firearm in the event the President or State governor called forth the militia. Thus, the possession of a firearm was fundamental in the home was necessary.

    Source(s): Second Amendment analyst
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  • 6 years ago

    The intention of the 2nd amendment is still being debated.

    My opinion is that the 2nd amendment is there to protect the first amendment, which is the most important one.

    However .. there are some court cases on the subject.

    In United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that, "The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence" and limited the applicability of the Second Amendment to the federal government. In United States v. Miller (1939), the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government and the states could limit any weapon types not having a “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia”

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  • 6 years ago

    You are going to hear a lot of interpretations, including wing nuts who think that you have the right to sarin, h-bombs, and all the high explosives you can make in your basement, or the other wing nuts who will tell you that states no longer use militias in the US, so the whole Amendment is moot. But the wing nuts on both sides are all wrong and telling you how they wish it was.

    Most who look at it think that the reason the 2nd was written is so that the US wouldn't need to maintain a large standing army. A smaller army could be used most of the time and if the need arose for a larger army then the public could be called upon to serve their country. I think that a major reason for allowing the right to bear arms is so that when that need arises that some of our brand new soldiers will have firearms experience that goes further back than basic training. The ones who know something can help the ones who don't--having members of the general public who understand the basics of weapons leads to a better trained army whenever the army needs to be expanded for warfare.

    If we didn't have that, then most draftees or people who volunteer when they hear the nation is at war would touch a gun for the first time during basic training. I can't see how an instructor can give hours of instruction to make up for years of experience, no matter how good that instruction is. Whether or not we still call our 'extra' military "militia" doesn't change the purpose of the second--to have a public that could be trained as soldiers if needed.

    How about Love big words right on this board pennybags? You have a right to arms Period. Others have said "what part of 'shall not be infringed' do you not understand?" So either you are denying that WMDs are "arms", or you are limiting the rights granted under the second amendment to bearing non-WMD's?

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  • 6 years ago

    The 2nd Amendment references a well regulated militia, because that was the purpose for guaranteeing the right of the people to own arms.

    If it were written a little more clearly, it would read something like, "Being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to own arms, and bear them in service of a well regulated militia when needed, shall not be infringed."

    If an emergency were to happen, be it natural disaster, invasion, rebellion or tyrannical government, the people were supposed to grab their weapons and use them in service of the state militias.

    @wayfaroutthere - you won't find a single wing nut, except on the left, saying the 2nd Amendment is about owning WMDs.

    UPDATE: @wayfaroutthere - Like I said before, only lefty wing nuts advocate that the 2nd protects the right to own WMDs.

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  • 6 years ago

    To cut through all the blather:

    When all is said and done, the 2nd Amendment means what the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) says it means. In its two most recent landmark decisions on the 2nd Amendment the SCOTUS ruled:

    A) That it protects the individual citizens' right to keep and bear arms, including handguns, for defense in the home and independent of militia membership (D.C. v. Heller, 2008)

    and

    B) That the 2nd Amendment applies to the states through section 1 of the 14th Amendment (McDonald v. Chicago, 2010).

    Further details are awaiting further court rulings. The current hot issue seems to be bearing arms for defense outside the home. Several lower courts have contradicted each other on that point and it's hoped the SCOTUS will settle it as soon as the right case is appealed to them. No one knows when that will be.

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  • 6 years ago

    Restriction of sending firearms through the U.S. mails. In 1934, Congress taxed and mandated registration of certain firearms under its Taxing Power and Necessary and Proper Clause. In 1938, Congress prohibited for the first time possession of firearms by a specified class of individuals (violent felons). The Supreme Court heard arguments in a case from the District Court in Texarkana, Arkansas. In Miller v. United States, 357 U.S. 301 (1958), the collective rights view dominated the Courts view of the amendment as it read it together with article I, sec. 10 of the Constitution. Despite the meaning of the Second Amendment in 1968 (Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145 (1968)), Congress under the Commerce Clause enacted the Gun Control Act with a companion law the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 which remains with us today as amended. Several facial attacks have challenged the Act, but it has survived. In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) shifted the view of the Second Amendment to the individual interpretation holding that Second amendment protects the right to possess firearms for lawful purposes such as protection of hearth and home.

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  • 6 years ago

    We've gotton too accustomed to politicians and "deep thinkers" interpreting and reinterpreting the heck out of everything for their own purposes. It's a right to keep and bear arms, and it's a right that shall not be infringed. Period. It's not about whether one "needs" anything, but instead simply what one has a "right" to keep and bear. That's what it says, and that's also exactly what it means. Imagine that. It doesn't mention AR15s, but it doesn't mention muskets, either. One can try to read whatever one wishes into it, but the words are already there, they mean what they say, and all those who try to change their meaning warrant serious investigation into their motives.

    Source(s): Just paying attention.
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  • 6 years ago

    all free people have a right to protect their families and property; the 2nd Amendment explains why it is the government's interest to protect that right

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