The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on December 15, 1791. It guards the rights of people to keep and bear arms.
The Amendment considers the right of self-defense fundamental to the nation’s strategy of ordered liberty. Therefore, you might know that the Second Amendment secures the right of individuals to possess a firearm not connected with service in a militia and use it for lawful motives.
However, did you know that the right concerns not only to federal governments but also to states and municipalities? If not consider learning these 5 things you might not know about the Second Amendment.
Does it Protect Collective or Individual Rights?
Considerable time has passed since the creation of the Constitution. So, its language sometimes might seem ambiguous today. Such is the word “militia” used in the Amendment. It is not clear to what it referred back then and to what it should refer now.
Nevertheless, the Supreme Court confirms that it indeed refers to individual rights. To quote the Amendment “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The Court explains that in no other place in Constitution do rights refer to collectives. So take not for the future not to be confused when a right attributed to “the people” in fact refers to individuals.
As a Document Against Tyranny
This fact is pretty popular, still many people think it is a myth. It is not, however. The Court clarifies that to have a free nation, in other words, a security of a free state, people need arms. The Second Amendment reinforces the belief that “When the able-bodied men of a nation are trained in arms and organized, they are better able to resist tyranny.” The Court further elaborates referring to examples that the history has shown. Namely, how tyranny destroyed a militia not by putting a ban on it but simply by taking away their arms. Therefore, taking control of political rivals.
As a Document Against Foreign Army Invasion
Well, as unexpected as it sounds, the free state that militia secures is necessary for repelling invasions. Of course, this is not the common application of the right. But since we are talking about least known facts, here you have it. There this popular story from the time of WWII. It says if the commander-in-chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy, Isoroku Yamamoto, remarked that invading the United States is useless since there is “a rifle behind every blade of grass.” Although this might be just another myth, a Japanese invasion of Alaska did once fail thanks to the gun supplies.
What Type of Weapons Does the Second Amendment Protect?
Similarly to most rights, the right to bear arms is not unlimited. Restrictions and prohibitions apply to felons and mentally ill individuals. One cannot store arms in schools and courthouses as well. The Amendment protects the weapons that are in common use at the time. So, the Amendment applies not only to weapons common in 18th-century use. But to those that are currently “overwhelmingly chosen by American society.”
No need to expand on how rapidly the weapon technology has changed. The Second Amendment intended for all people capable of military service to constitute the militia. For that, they would bring the lawful weapons they kept in their homes. Consequently, to have an equally strong militia today would require the use of more advanced arms, not so widespread among the public at large.
While the modern application of the right might be very familiar to you, knowing more about the history is always intriguing. After all, history always helps to understand the present.