What Is the Real Explanation of the Second Amendment?


Quick Answer

One famous explanation of the Second Amendment by George Mason states that: “A well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defense of a free State.” At the signing of the constitution on September 17, 1789, anti-federalists such as Mason wanted to explicitly guarantee certain rights, so as to prevent potential encroachment by the Federal Government. This ideology became the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

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Full Answer

The exact language of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that: “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.” After the Revolutionary War and breaking away from Great Britain, the Founding Fathers added this Amendment to prevent the new federal government from becoming just as tyrannical. This ability to restore liberties was the intent and purpose of the Second Amendment.

The unusual phrasing and subject matter of the Second Amendment leave room for much analysis and controversy. Conflicting ideologies about the real explanation and meaning of the Second Amendment led to much controversy in the last half of the twentieth century. The Supreme Court continues to support the interpretation that the military should be governed by and kept under the strict subordination of the civil power.

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