Parents and Teachers: Support Ducksters by following us on Ducksters Facebook or Ducksters Twitter.
Ducksters Educational SiteDucksters Educational Site
History Biography Geography Science Games

History >> US Government

US Government

Second Amendment

The Second Amendment was part of the Bill of Rights that was added to the Constitution on December 15, 1791. This amendment protects the rights of citizens to "bear arms" or own weapons such as guns.

The Second Amendment has become a controversial amendment in recent years. Many people want more laws to prevent people from owning guns. They think this will help prevent shootings and keep criminals and mentally ill people from getting guns. Other people want to keep this right and not have it limited. They think that having guns will allow them to protect themselves from criminals and the rise of a tyrannical government.

From the Constitution

Here is the text of the Second Amendment from the Constitution:

"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."

Why was the Second Amendment so important?

You may think at first that the people of revolutionary times added this amendment so they could have guns to go hunting for food. While many people back then did use guns for hunting, this was not why the amendment was added. The Second Amendment was meant to help the people protect themselves from a tyrannical government. Just like the revolutionaries who fought against the King of England, they wanted to maintain their right to "bear arms" in case the new government began to take away their rights.

At the time, owning guns by citizens was also important for other reasons including organizing a local militia, fighting off invasions from foreign powers, self-defense against Indian raids, and to help with law enforcement.

What is a "well regulated militia"?

The militia was a group of local men who could act as a military force in times of emergency. Most all of the men at the time were part of a local militia. The militia could be called upon to help to fight off Indian raids, invasions, or even act as the local police force. A "well regulated" militia was one that was trained, organized, and disciplined. In other words, not just a bunch of guys with guns.

What does "bear arms" mean?

The term "bear arms" means to "carry a weapon." Although there is no description of what kind of "arms", the writers of the amendment at the time certainly included guns within the definition of "arms."

Does it protect individuals' rights or just militias?

Many people question whether the amendment protects the rights of individuals to have guns or just militias. This is something people still argue about today. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment allowed individuals to own guns.

Gun Laws

Although the Second Amendment does allow for people to own guns, it does not prevent government regulation of firearms. Gun laws help to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. They also help to keep track of guns and determine what type of weapons people are allowed to own. There are certainly some weapons, like a nuclear bomb, that the public should not own. The tough thing is deciding where to draw the line. This is currently of great debate in American politics.

Interesting Facts about the Second Amendment
Activities To learn more about the United States government:

Branches of Government
Executive Branch
President's Cabinet
US Presidents

Legislative Branch
House of Representatives
How Laws are Made

Judicial Branch
Landmark Cases
Serving on a Jury
Famous Supreme Court Justices
John Marshall
Thurgood Marshall
United States Constitution
The Constitution
Bill of Rights
Other Constitutional Amendments
First Amendment
Second Amendment
Third Amendment
Fourth Amendment
Fifth Amendment
Sixth Amendment
Seventh Amendment
Eighth Amendment
Ninth Amendment
Tenth Amendment
Thirteenth Amendment
Fourteenth Amendment
Fifteenth Amendment
Nineteenth Amendment
Checks and Balances
Interest Groups
US Armed Forces
State and Local Governments
Becoming a Citizen
Civil Rights

Voting in the United States
Two-Party System
Electoral College
Running for Office

Works Cited

History >> US Government

About Ducksters Privacy Policy   

Follow us on Ducksters Facebook or Ducksters Twitter

This site is a product of TSI (Technological Solutions, Inc.), Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved. By using this site you agree to the Terms of Use.