Questions on the 2nd Amendment

“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.” –The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America

So I have been following the gun control debate that is going on in our country over the last several months and I have some questions. Not questions meant for jest or sarcasm but true questions that are based on my desire in seeking precision in language and cohesion of logical thought. So here they are:

Can someone explain to me in legal language how limiting types of guns or mandating more background checks is against the 2nd Amendment?

This is a serious question, b/c the 2nd Amendment simply states that “we” citizens of the United States have the right to bear arms. It doesn’t say what kind of “arm” we are allowed to bear.

Am I correct in this?

Isn’t an “arm” a .22 or a smith & wesson six shooter?  I guess an “arm” could also be a bazooka or flame thrower.

So when is it or isn’t it an infringement on our 2nd Amendment rights? At what level does it become an infringement?

Also, I am curious according to the 2nd Amendment does one have to be in a militia that is protecting the United States in order to bear arms? I mean that is how it reads, but I don’t have a single friend or family member in a militia protecting the United States but a lot of them still own guns. I guess it could mean protecting oneself since “We the people” are the United States…

But still the right of the 2nd Amendment at least as it reads was put in place in direct conjunction to “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…” and no other reason.

So those are my questions. Questions I have based on my struggle to find the logic in arguing the 2nd Amendment in a lot of the debate that is going on.

I think to argue “life & liberty” would be more appropriate if someone wanted to use a historical/legal document, but I’m struggling with the 2nd Amendment.

Maybe y’all can help me out?


  1. Good doctor November 30, -0001

    Interesting! I’m not against background checks, but considering almost 17 million guns were sold last year, 156 mil+ since 1998, how can the gov really monitor them?If they outlaw certain guns, only law abiding citizens will turn them in!!! Do you really think thugs, gang members, supremacists, are going to line up? Nope, leaving the guns in the hands of the bad guys! It happened in Australia!?

  2. Shawn Brace November 30, -0001

    What do you mean you’re "struggling with the 2nd amendment"? To be honest, I have actually taken an about-face since Sandy Hook. I used to be in favor of greater gun control measures, but I think it is fairly obvious what the intent of the 2nd Amendment originally was: it was to give citizens protections against tyrannical government. I also think that it’s fairly obvious that enacting stricter gun laws will not solve the problem. People who want to carry out mass violence will use whatever means necessary (ie., pressure cookers) to achieve their goals. Tighter gun legislation will simply take guns out of the hands of already-law abiding citizens and place more power in the government and others who want to cause great harm.Furthermore, it would probably be helpful to grammatically diagram the 2nd Amendment. Is the phrase "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms" a clarifying clause of the first two phrases, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," or is it a separate idea?Again, this has been a very drastic about-face for me – but I have always been about preserving individual rights. I think, sadly, there will always be certain prices we pay (ie., Sandy Hook) because of our freedoms. But only the gospel will change things anyway, not more restrictive legislation.

  3. Scott Williams March 16, 2018

    When the constitution was written we’d recently won a war where the militia, all able-bodied men, formed an army to beat the British. The first shots were fired specifically when the British army marched to seize militia weapons. Today, the legal definition of the militia is found in 10 U.S. Code § 246: “The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.”
    The arms that the militia can bear are exactly the weapons that scare Nancy Pelosi and that she wants to ban. She actually has it entirely backward. The first Supreme Court decision on the 2nd amendment was US v Miller. Miller had transported a sawed-off shotgun across state lines. There were laws about taxing this under the interstate commerce clause, but Miller argued that violated his 2nd amendment rights. Part of the government’s response was that his 2nd amendment rights were not violated because:
    -The Second Amendment protects only the ownership of military-type weapons appropriate for use in an organized militia;
    -The “double barrel 12-gauge Stevens shotgun having a barrel less than 18 inches in length, bearing identification number 76230” was never used in any militia organization.
    The military didn’t then, and still doesn’t use sawed-off double barrel shotguns. They don’t use .22LR revolvers or .22LR pump action rifles, either. But today they use semi-automatic handguns with 17 to 19 round magazines. They use “assault rifles” with 30 round banana clips. Those can be fired on semi, 2-3 round burst or full auto, whereas civilians are limited to semi without special permission from the government. Crew served weapons (machine guns, anti-tank missiles, tanks, howitzers, etc.) were typically not “borne” by individuals but stored at armories, and therefore are not a 2nd amendment issue.

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