How the NRA Twisted the Second Amendment

All of the recent shootings and murder in the news have several impacts: gun sales of soared because many feel they need them for self-defense, there are the copycat gun owners who want attention and do the same, and those who demand for strict gun controls or banning them.

But really, before the late 1970's, there was very little of this murder at schools, where a gunman armed with automatic weapons and takes life.

The US second Amendment is often cited as the reason why everyone US citizen has the right to bear arms, or own a gun. But, the US Supreme Court has said that each state has a right to arm a "militia" to defend itself (i.e., National Guard) and not the individual. That was the position up until 1977.

Before 1977, the NRA was not promoting that everyone should have the right to own a gun and focused mostly on gun safety. But, in 1977, the current NRA came to power headed by a group of rightist Republicans who pushed the agenda that the Second Amendment said every citizen has the right to own a gun. The US Supreme Court then, called the NRA position a "fraud".

It was in 1980, the Republican party and the NRA came to power in tandem. Ronald Reagan was elected and loved guns and the NRA's position that every American has a right to own a gun was ringing in the land. Thus, in 1980, the new Supreme Court position said that Americans could own a handgun for self-defense since it was so popular. It also ruled that the government does have the right to ban automatic weapon availability to citizens.

Since 1980, the Second Amendment has been a political football depending on which party is in the majority. Democrats tend to place gun controls and bans, while Republicans promote that guns are not the problem. The net result of all this is what we now have in the American society since there has been many years of Republican party control of government.

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Comments 16 comments

Founding Fathers 3 years ago

"I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."

George Mason

Co-author of the Second Amendment during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

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"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …"

Richard Henry Lee

writing in Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic, Letter XVIII, May, 1788.

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"The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full posession of them."

Zachariah Johnson

Elliot's Debates, vol. 3 "The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution."

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"… the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms"

Philadelphia Federal Gazette

June 18, 1789, Pg. 2, Col. 2

Article on the Bill of Rights

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"And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the Press, or the rights of Conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; …"

Samuel Adams

quoted in the Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, August 20, 1789, "Propositions submitted to the Convention of this State"

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"Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that's good."

George Washington

First President of the United States

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"The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside … Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them."

Thomas Paine

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"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."

Richard Henry Lee

American Statesman, 1788

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"The great object is that every man be armed." and "Everyone who is able may have a gun."

Patrick Henry

American Patriot

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"Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?"

Patrick Henry

American Patriot

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"Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow for those who do not."

Thomas Jefferson

Third President of the United States

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"The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that … it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; … "

Thomas Jefferson

letter to Justice John Cartwright, June 5, 1824. ME 16:45.

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"The best we can help for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."

Alexander Hamilton

The Federalist Papers at 1848

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"The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."

Thomas Jefferson

Third President of the United States

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"There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters. "

Noah Webster

American Lexicographer

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"The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion."

Edmund Burke

British Statesman, 1784

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"What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms."

Thomas Jefferson

to James Madison

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"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Ben Franklin

American Statesman


perrya profile image

perrya 3 years ago Author

Oh please, such a weak NRA argument. Militia in the birth of America was citizens led by usually someone from the real Army to defend a state against British attacks usually. They were ancillary to the real Army. Obviously, there is no such need today. The right to bear arms referred to muskets, that took 10 minutes to load, not AR 15 automatic weapons. With 400 million guns in the US, just who are we in fear of- each other. Sad, but NRA promotes the fear.


Mike 3 years ago

You don't get it. Please stay in California.


peoplepower73 profile image

peoplepower73 3 years ago from Placentia California

perrya: Great article. So the person that posts the quotes from people in the 1700's and applies them today, thinks he gets it. No he doesn't get it. It was another time and another place. It is not appropriate for today. Voting up, useful, and sharing.


collegedad profile image

collegedad 3 years ago from The Upper Peninsula

" the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed"

That doesn't say that only the members of a militia have the right to keep and bears. It says that the people have the right to keep and bear arms. Yes times have changed, but not for the better. To say that we the people do not need to be armed is very short sighted.


perrya profile image

perrya 3 years ago Author

Guns owners just don't get it- call it gun addiction based on fear.


collegedad profile image

collegedad 3 years ago from The Upper Peninsula

I can tell you what the average law abiding gun owner doesn't get. We (I include myself as I have been background check in two States and by the FBI) don't get how every time a murderer comes up on death row there is a plea to save his/her life. What we don't get is why when a crime is committed their is a cry of social injustice and folks seek to know why the criminal committed a crime not how they will be punished. We wonder why gun violence is promoted by liberal Hollywood and yet liberal Hollywood is offended by gun ownership.

You just wrote a hub agreeing with the need for armed security in schools. You agreed with the NRA in that hub why not now. Why not produce a hub on all the mass killings that were ended by "A good guy with a gun?" We would get that.......


perrya profile image

perrya 3 years ago Author

A good guy with a gun would not do the things that a bad guy with a gun would. The bad guys with guns are causing the problems.


movingout profile image

movingout 3 years ago from Georgia

I can picture it now, this so called everyday person militia. LMAO....and they could do what? LOL Great hub, voted up! very informative!


Mike 3 years ago

purplepower73, it appears you are also in the right place. Please stay in California. You really wouldn't understand Texas.


Joe 3 years ago

"A good guy with a gun would not do the things that a bad guy with a gun would. The bad guys with guns are causing the problems."

What a profound realization. Now, since bad guys don't follow the law, what are more laws going to do except limit the ability of law abiding citizens to protect themselves?


perrya profile image

perrya 3 years ago Author

hey, Austin texas is the ONLY cool place to live in that state.


Niteriter profile image

Niteriter 3 years ago from Canada

When a society promotes the idea that it's okay to protect oneself with a deadly weapon, that society is also promoting the idea that it's okay to kill. In that society, the permission to kill is pre-established - all that's left for the killing to take place is the right set of circumstances. The "right set of circumstances" is a nebulous concept that can be arrived at by connecting any series of thoughts the human mind can conceive.

Abolishing the idea that it's okay to kill goes a lot further toward ending gun deaths that does placing more guns in the hands of more people.


Bob 3 years ago

Screw Canada.


movingout profile image

movingout 3 years ago from Georgia

@Niteriter, I agree! Placing more guns in the hands of more people just increases the chance of more innocent people getting shot or killed, not by the bad guy, but the person caught up in this fear!


Bob 3 years ago

movingout, all you do based on your activity is go to firearms related hubs and post anti-gun garbage. You're a troll.

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