What is the Second Amendment?
The Second Amendment to the US Constitution gives Americans the right to bear arms. It says:
“A well regulated militia, being essential to the security of a free state, shall not infringe the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
bill of rights
The Second Amendment is one of 10 amendments to the US Constitution, collectively called the Bill of Rights. These amendments were written to protect individual Americans from tyrannical regimes and include the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech, religion, and the press, and the Seventh Amendment, which declares the right to trial by jury in civil cases. Is. Other rights include the right to due process and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment.
When the Founding Fathers added the Bill of Rights to the Constitution in 1791, they wanted to protect individuals from potentially dangerous central and state governments. Most scholars maintain that the Constitution could not have been ratified without the 10 Amendments, as many Americans feared centralized government and the power of the military. Much of that fear stemmed from laws imposed by the British in the lead-up to the American Revolution, including imposing highly deemed taxes and denying some colonists the right to bear arms.
A ‘well regulated militia’
Legal scholars have debated the intentions of the Founding Fathers in relation to the Second Amendment. Those who support gun control measures often argue that the founders intended only for “well-regulated” forces authorized by state governments to have access to weapons, not for all individuals. to be able to lift. Those who oppose restrictions on gun rights say the Second Amendment protects the right to weapons of ordinary citizens and argue that the founders included the words “a well-regulated militia”, it was just a Examples of why civilians might need weapons.
What have the courts said?
In 2008, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects the right to own firearms unrelated to military service and allows them to use those weapons for lawful purposes, including self-defense. Courts have also upheld several laws that place certain restrictions on gun ownership, including due to age, prior criminal conviction, and mental health issues.
According to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey, thirty percent of all Americans own a gun, while 42% live in a home with a gun. Guns have long been a part of the nation’s history and culture, becoming a permanent part of life for many people from the time they fought the American Revolution and explored the Wild West. However, the right to self-defense, while long lived in the country, has come under question in recent decades due to the rise of several high-profile mass shootings and gun violence, with guns becoming a major factor. of death among children and adolescents.
Because of America’s long history with the Second Amendment and gun ownership, the gun control debate in the country is generally focused not on the question of whether citizens have the right to own arms, but on matters of who has access to guns. There should be access and what weapons should be legal. Even those questions have made it difficult for politicians to compromise, as the Congress has been unable to act on the issue for more than a decade.
According to a 2018 report by the Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based organization, the US has more guns per capita than anywhere in the world. According to the report, American gun owners have 393.3 million weapons, more than the country’s population of 330 million. The Small Arms Survey says that India has the second largest number of civilian-owned firearms at 71.1 million for a population of 1.4 billion.