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  • Writer's pictureBrianna Lyman

The Second Amendment Does Guarantee An Individual's Right To Bear Arms

This Second Amendment, perhaps the most important of all, reads: 

“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.” 

Second Amendment opponents, blatantly ignoring the language as is, seem to believe that the above language does not mean that average, everyday Americans can own a gun. Instead, they say that the term "militia" does not refer to every individual, despite the following clause clearly assigning the right to keep and bear arms to "the people".

Again, to make this clear, the above language is the exact language, so not much room for error here. 

In 2001, the Federal Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in U.S vs Emerson that the Second Amendment does guarantee a constitutional right of an individual to own a gun. In their decision, the court explained that throughout the Constitution, the words “the people” means, quite literally, the people- that means you, me, and every other average American citizen. The court then said that it would be ludicrous to try to argue that in the Second Amendment, and in this Amendment only, do the words “the people” refer to a collective group of people such as those in the military (or militia if we’re talking in 18th century terms) or serving the nation. 

Furthermore, the purpose of the Bill of Rights was to limit the government, not the people, hence why the phrase “the right of the people” implies that this right is designated for everyday Americans, not members of the militia who are by association, a government agency. 

This was reaffirmed when the Supreme Court held that the “Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia...such as self-defense within the home” in the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller case. 

Still, the Second Amendment is constantly under attack. For instance, New York State passed the “The NY Safe Act”. This act broadened the legal definition of an assault weapon to include semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic pistols, and semi-automatic shotguns. Under the law, those who already had these now-designated ‘assault weapons’ could keep their weapons but not without registering it with the state. Otherwise, they could sell the weapons to the state or a dealer. Further, these ‘assault weapons’ are no longer allowed to be bought and sold in the state. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the ‘assault-weapon prohibition’ in 2015. What part of “shall not be infringed” don’t they understand? 

Semi-automatic weapons are popular for a variety of reasons and are common choices for gun owners. Semi-automatic refers to the loading mechanism of a gun, not the firing.

This is an outright attack on our constitutional freedoms. 

Liberals and the media personify guns to be ‘evil’ and ‘ruthless’, refusing to look at the person behind the trigger, and more important, refusing to believe that the Constitution means exactly what it says.


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