Interpreting the Second Amendment to the US Constitution

The Second Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. It was accepted on 15 December 1791 together with the other nine included in the Bill of Rights.

In the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 2008 the Court stated that the Second Amendment protects the right of citizens to own weapons regardless of the service in the militia and gives them the right to use weapons for legitimate purposes such as self-defense at home (District of Columbia v. Heller, 2008). Precisely speaking, the Court overturned the law of Washington, DC forbidding residents to keep guns in their homes or home use of long arms for self-defense. It found that the Second Amendment protects the right of an individual to keep and carry firearms in self-defense. In addition, it was pointed out that as the preference of self-defense was given to revolver, then storing it at home is considered legal. It should also be noted that the decision considers the current social norms. In particular, it is limited in relation to felony and mentally ill persons: “the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and regime buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms” (Smith, Becker, Nagourney, & Steinhauer, 2011, p. 7). Speaking of the stare decisis, Justice Stevens notes Marbury v. Madison case, in which only one side appeared and presented arguments and which was decided similar to the above. However, the Court relied on the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.

By the end of the XIX century, few Americans doubted their right to bear arms. The creators of the Constitution of the United States believed that bearing weapons is necessary for the protection of three important and fundamental rights, in other words, personal security, personal liberty, and private property. Armed men can protect themselves and their neighbours from crime and their rights from the tyranny. It is the essence of that issue.

Nowadays the dispute over the Second Amendment remains tense and highly politicized because stakes are too high. On the one hand, Americans suffer from a high level of armed crime, a situation which is believed by plenty of them caused or aggravated by easy access to firearms. They claim that the streets would become safer in the case of abolition of bearing guns. For its part, people who want to reduce the number of victims of incidents with weapons attach special meaning to the phrase about a well-regulated militia. Thousands of federal, state, and local regulations concerning firearms decorate a set of laws, but a guarantee provided by the Second Amendment is an obstacle to a substantial reduction or ban of firearms. On the other hand, there is an impressive number of historical evidence and a growing number of scientific comments pointing the fact that the right to have and bear arms is the private right of a person according to the text of the amendment. Those Americans who advocate for the rights of citizens to own weapons stress the part of the Second Amendment that states that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

In my point of view, the second opinion is the most in line with the Constitution as the it secures an individual right to own. Given the fact that the right to bear arms is directly stated in the Constitution as well as the fact that it has long been rooted in America, I believe that it is impossible to cancel the issue. Therefore, I agree with the Court, which allowed bearing weapons for self-defense.


District of Columbia v. Heller 554 U.S. 570 (2008).

Smith, P., Becker, J., Lou, M., Nagourney, A.,& Steinhauer, J. (2011). Warning Shots. New York Times Upfront, 143(10), 6-9.

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