Jeffrey Rosen is a law professor at George Washington University and is the President and CEO of the National Constitution Center. "But it is fair to say that the right to alter and abolish government -- to the degree that modern people claim they have that right -- the framers certainly believe it.

Earlier this week, retired Supreme Court Justice. The Second Amendment is surrounded by an unusual amount of fog for a plainly written clause of a constitution.

"The idea of a state militia would also be attractive because it serves as a deterrent against national tyranny," says Rakove. One of the biggest challenges in interpreting a centuries-old document is that the meanings of words change or diverge. "While there is a common law right to self-defense, most historians think that it would be remarkable news to the framers of the Second Amendment that they were actually constitutionalizing a personal right to self-defense as opposed to trying to say something significant about the militia," he says. ", "In that sense, it is historically accurate to say that the framers did recognize a natural right of self-defense.".

Updated 1346 GMT (2146 HKT) March 28, 2018. Until then, you can use Writing Rights to explore key historical documents, early drafts and major proposals behind each provision, and discover how the drafters deliberated, agreed and disagreed, on the path to compromise and the final text. Festival of Sacrifice: The Past and Present of the Islamic Holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Who are entitled to exercise that suffrage? "[When the Constitution was drafted], the militia was a state-based institution," says Rakove. That way, they were no threat to the Crown or anyone else and could be easily overcome. This ruling stood for nearly 70 years, until the Supreme Court reversed the decision in the case of The District of Columbia v. Heller. They also ruled that a firearm can be used for any lawful purpose, such as for use in self-defense in an individual's own home.

The Interactive Constitution is available as a free app on your mobile device. The country had just fought a war, won its independence and was expanding west. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, "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." On June 28, 2010, a deeply divided Supreme Court upholds gun-ownership rights within homes on a national basis, expanding on a…, In this Fun Friday session, award-winning author and constitutional scholar Linda R. Monk joins Center President and CEO Jeffrey…. "They also disagree about how we should interpret the constitution in terms of history or in light of new technologies.". Will 5G Impact Our Cell Phone Plans (or Our Health?! Ratified December 15, 1791. Asked By Wiki User.

"But, if you go to Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, it says the House of Representatives will be chosen by the people -- who are the persons? In this case, the meaning of "state" is what it appears to be. There is much debate as to what this amendment means, due to its confusing wording. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, "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."

In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that the amendment protected an individual's rights to own firearms that are not connected to any military service. You see, you can use the term 'people' to imply a collective mass, but there are some categories of people that can be excluded.". Fact Check: What Power Does the President Really Have Over State Governors? Our guides will be Constitutional experts Jeffrey Rosen and Jack Rakove. to have an armed militia. The term "arms" is also an ever-changing one, and there are ongoing debates about assault weapons and emerging firearm technologies. (CNN)It's only a sentence long; 27 words that barely take up a full line on the Bill of Rights. It says the people have a right to keep and bear arms. In the debate over the Second Amendment, this phrase, "a well regulated militia," remains one of the most cited and argued parts of the sentence. "One thing people disagree about is whether assault weapons bans are constitutional," says Rosen. For the most part, these applications have remained consistent since the Heller decision in 2008 and a similar case. Answer. Read Interpretations of the Second Amendment.

In the case of United States v. Miller in 1939, the U.S. Supreme Court basically ruled that the amendment only applied to firearms that have "some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia....".

In addition, there is a more basic question of semantics: By "the people," is the Second Amendment referring to people as private entities, or as participants in the militia? Updated 1346 GMT (2146 HKT) March 28, 2018

But they did not, Rosen says, specifically include the tenets of the Second Amendment. After all, when the Constitution was written, slaves were considered property and women were not allowed to vote.

Passed by Congress September 25, 1789. 2012-08-19 09:32:18 2012-08-19 09:32:18. It also meant physical protection from government overreach. More on that below. There were plenty of reasons to feel unsafe, and so "security" had a very palpable meaning. What Does the Second Amendment Really Say About Owning Guns ( – Throughout history, one of the habits of monarchies and other forms of leadership was to keep their people unarmed.

But it could also speak to a larger understanding of liberty. Get the National Constitution Center’s weekly roundup of constitutional news and debate. The legal consensus is that the Second Amendment applies to individual rights, within reasonable regulations. His book "Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution" won a Pulitzer Prize in History. Here's a look at the Second Amendment, its phrases parsed and placed in legal and historical context. Is the Coronavirus Crisis Increasing America's Drug Overdoses? "You have an expanding country, and the principle defense use of the militia would be to protect local residents from attack and invasion," Rakove says. As America grapples with a relentless tide of gun violence, pro-gun activists have come to rely on the Second Amendment as their trusty shield when faced with mass-shooting-induced criticism. They were more moralistic.". Top Answer. In other words, it didn't mean the state was controlling the militia in a certain way, but rather that the militia was prepared to do its duty. ), The Secret Science of Solving Crossword Puzzles, Racist Phrases to Remove From Your Mental Lexicon. ", "When we think about 'rights,' we think of them as regulations and exemptions," Rakove says. "It's really striking that since these Supreme Court decisions... lower courts have upheld almost all of the gun regulations they have asked to review," he says. The NCC's website hosts a fully interactive version of the Constitution featuring commentary and primary source documents. "States were responsible for organizing this.". Rakove thinks the framers of the Constitution would be surprised at the conversations we are having today. Words like "militia" and "rights" are loaded with historical context and nuance that can act as a Rorschach test, leading even the best-intentioned interpreters to different conclusions. Two teams of leading constitutional scholars—team libertarian and team progressive—present their ideal constitutions. Ratified December 15, 1791. Why do opinion surveys show that most American citizens believe in the individual rights position? Teach the Constitution in your classroom with nonpartisan resources including videos, lesson plans, podcasts, and more. "Back at the birth of our nation, they had a different quality. At the time of the American Revolutionary War, militias were groups of able-bodied men who protected their towns, colonies, and eventually states.