The Second Amendment

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: "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."

That law-abiding citizens can, and sometimes do, successfully thwart would-be attackers with their personal firearms is not contested. Nor is the fact that people can, and sometimes do, use guns to commit crimes in modern society.

The real issue centers on the right to lawfully own, possess, or carry firearms within the United States.

The founders sought to throw off tyranny, to fortify a militia, and to protect individuals from the government.

The notion that the Second Amendment also protects an individual right suggests that we must also consider whether that right is one that should be incorporated against the states under the Fourteenth Amendment, as most other provisions of the Bill of Rights have been already.

Under Justice Cardozo's theory, those provisions of the Bill of Rights that were "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty" and "so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental" deserved incorporation against state action.

Within this framework, laws are made that define how, when, where and who may purchase, own, possess and carry a firearm.

For a fuller assessment of your gun rights, you can download a PDF of Ian's article: THE SECOND AMENDMENT: BEARING ARMS TODAY.