Understanding your Second Amendment rights means understanding American history. When the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1791, it was one of the first ten amendments added to the document.
This constitutional amendment has been controversial for more than 230 years, with different groups arguing for and against its interpretation. In this article, we will explore the history of the Second Amendment and discuss any relevant updates in legislation over the last 100 years.
The Second Amendment Is Born
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It was ratified on December 15, 1791, as part of the Bill of Rights. You can read the full text at the link above.
In recent years, there has been much debate surrounding what exactly the amendment means. Absolutists believe firearm ownership for personal protection is inarguable. Believers in gun control think it only applies to state-sponsored militia groups. And then there are these gun purchase laws found in Arizona that try to find a reasonable middle ground.
The supporters’ position is that gun ownership keeps the government in check. It gives citizens the ability to defend themselves in case Washington or the various state and local governments ever “go rogue.”
Detractors ask, where is a reasonable place to draw the line? If it’s true that individuals should have the right to keep and bear arms to protect themselves from government tyranny, should they have access to the same level of firepower?
What the Supreme Court Has Said
The Supreme Court has ruled on several key cases involving the Second Amendment since the US Revolutionary War. In 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court ruled that the amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for “traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”
In 2010, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Court extended this ruling to apply to state and local laws. Most recently, in 2017, in Caetano v. Massachusetts, the Supreme Court ruled that stun guns are protected under the Second Amendment.
What This Means for You
So what does all of this mean for you? Well, if you’re looking to purchase a firearm, it’s important to know your rights under the Second Amendment. It’s also important to be aware of any relevant legislation in your state or municipality.
For example, in 2017, the state of California passed a law that requires all individuals looking to purchase a firearm to first obtain a certificate from the California Department of Justice. This certificate is only available after the completion of a firearms safety course and a background check.
Being unaware of laws specific to your area can make it difficult to obtain a firearm.
The Bottom Line About Your Second Amendment Rights
The Second Amendment is a complex amendment with a long and complicated history. But at its core, it protects the right of Americans to keep and bear arms.
So if you’re looking to purchase a firearm, make sure you know your Second Amendment rights. And be aware of any relevant legislation in your state or municipality. For more legal articles and information, check out some of our additional posts!