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Essay on the Second Amendment

Updated on September 11, 2011

The Second Amendment

As an assignment I was asked to write an essay that not only argued against, but mocked, a belief that was strongly held by any group. The essay that I was given as an example quoted the Second Amendment, but the author had no real understanding of the meaning. In fact, I had never seen a controversial issue that has been so misunderstood.

There are two main groups that I see. There are the ones that believe the 2nd Amendment only gives the right for the military to carry guns, and those that believe the 2nd Amendment means that not only can everyone carry guns, but that there is no right to regulate gun rights at all. I say that neither of those are correct. Maybe if we could get over ourselves long enough to try to see what something means, and this applies to everything, we could do what is right, rather than spending all of our time and energy fighting over issues.

Ask yourself why it is that the most voiced opinions are always on one extreme or the other. Why can't the loudest of us see the truth in the middle of any debate?

When reading this, please keep in mind that it was required to mock, and therefore may come across as very strong.


The Second Amendment is one of the most controversial amendments in today’s society. There are commonly two sides that fight with each other over the definition of this amendment. The pro-gun, or what is commonly referred to as “gun nuts”, have the firm belief that the American people have the right to not only carry a gun, but to carry any type of gun that they want, while anti-gun groups want to get rid of the right to carry a gun all together unless that person is a soldier or police officer.

The part of the Second Amendment that is quoted by both sides is always “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”. Did you know that there are actually two versions used by the federal and state government? The only difference is the punctuation. Congress passed, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free Sate, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. The States ratified what Congress had passed to, “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”. Do the differences in punctuation and capitalization change the meaning?

Many people believe that the Second Amendment means that only the military should have the right to carry guns. They believe that “A well regulated militia” is referring to trained soldiers, when in fact, the Second Amendment was written in a time when militias were simply any man with a gun during a time of conflict. Also you will notice that the Second Amendment does not say that militias have the right to bear arms, it states very clearly that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. Both versions of the Second Amendment separate the “militia” from the “people” with a punctuation. Only a closed minded fool would read into this amendment as meaning that only the military should have guns. Though, I also do not feel that this amendment means that the government cannot regulate the types of firearms either, especially when it comes to weapons that are obviously meant to only be used on human beings.

I do not want anyone to believe that I am only against one side, in fact, the reality is that I am opposed to both sides, yet agree with many points that both sides make. My argument is not against anti-gun groups, as it may appear, but it is against anyone that reads into the Second Amendment as anything but what it is. The Second Amendment is the protection of our rights to own guns. It does not protect our right to have automatic firearms, nor does it give any hint at all that it only protects the right of our military to carry guns.

The military has the right to carry guns, because they are the military. What kind of fool would get the idea that an amendment would ever be written to ensure that right? On the same note, what kind of fool believes that in a world that used muzzleloaders, and that never specifically listed any type of firearms, believes that the Second Amendment gives us the right to own a machine gun?

The right to own a gun is still to this day, a necessary right. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of documented cases show incidents where someone was attacked and was able to protect themselves with a gun. In the past, as a former law enforcement officer, and currently still in a field of criminal justice, I have seen and heard of many more incidents where an illegal act with a gun was done with an illegal firearm, not a legally purchased firearm. Just like drugs, making guns illegal will not get rid of them. It will simply make it so that only the criminals have them. Do we really want to live in a society that does not allow us to protect ourselves when a criminal breaks into our homes with a gun, or tries to rob us on the street with a weapon of any kind? Research the documented cases before you answer this question. My favorite stories are the ones where people that protest for guns to be banned are found using a gun in their own defense.

I will not make it difficult to figure out what my point is in this essay. My point is that you are a fool if you think that the Second Amendment does not give the American citizens a right to own guns, but you are also a fool if you think that in today’s world that a citizen should own an automatic weapon. I personally own two handguns that I carry as a private investigator when I am working, a couple of shotguns and a rifle that are used for hunting, and two old WWII rifles that I keep as collectables. This does not make me a “gun nut”, but I do not see any reason why I should need to own any gun that is more powerful. Common sense is necessary for the safety of others when regulating gun rights, but the government has not right whatsoever to ban guns altogether.


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    • WillStarr profile image


      4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I missed this one, Traveler29! Good work. I too wrote on the Second Amendment:

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Gun control makes pro gun people who don't own them buy them. Guns flowing off the shelf. The government is smart enough to know what an anti-gun push will do. Black triangles being seen everywhere. We are spending our money like it just doesn't matter, well after we are invaded, cash money will be worthless, we will be trading in food, ammo, and chicklets.

      Gaming industry shifting from COD to alien battling to train the young gamers. No country could go get here by boat without getting totally blown up. Our military rocks.

      Who are they preparing us to fight again? Not Marshall law. They would have to get our guns, not get us to have more guns. New York having strictest gun control is strategy, scare everyone who will survive the initial attack. New York is the capital of the world, the terrorists struck here first, the aliens will too!

      Global warming making the planet liveable for possibly only 100 years or less, time for the great alien race to farm this world for all it's worth, since it is now a limited resource.

      I'm downloading Earth Defense Force 2017 for my playstation vita as we speak. And filling everything I can with water. I'm ready. Are you? Why would the powers to be remaster a crappy Videogame and port it to the playstation vita unless it was to save us ALL!?!?!?!

    • profile image


      5 years ago


      Everything you mentioned, except for high capacity magazines, are already restricted.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 

      5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      The 2nd Amendment does not provide for an absolute, unrestricted right to bear arms. Supreme Court interpretations permit reasonable and practical restrictions concerning the sale, ownership and use of guns, and what types of guns may be sold and carried. Unfortunately, the laws vary from state to state, and they are not well enforced. Examples of the types of weapons that should not be permitted are large magazines for rifles or pistols, automatic weapons, armor piercing bullets, hand grenades and other military weapons. Weapons commonly used for hunting and target shooting clearly are protected by the 2nd Amendment.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Yes, Aurealeus, understood. As you mentioned, “individual persons but is stated in the amendment by identifying ‘The People’ collectively.” And stated so in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate dictionary. People: “human beings making up a group or assembly or linked by a common interest“.


      A further thought. “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state,..” If it is, as some suggest, “..the right of the people to keep and bear arms,..” belongs as a right of each individual person. That being so, and as their declared purpose of this right, the possibility of a citizen taking up arms against a tyrannical government , or the “militia”? If this is so, why would the Framers deliberately draft an amendment that would put into question it’s authority, objectivity, and the purpose, that is necessary to the security of a free state?


      What then is necessary for the security of a free state? Is it, “A well regulated militia...”? Or, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Who controls the uncontrollable?

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Bill, it appears you are stuck on the word... "person(s)."

      The Second Amendment speaks to individuals by stating, in part:

      "...the right of [the people] to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,"

      "People" plural for - "person(s)" - therfore the amendment clearly applies to individual persons but is stated in the amendment by identifying "The People" collectively.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Second Amendment. What I understand, the NRA does not understand.


      If, as some may argue, that the Second Amendment’s “militia” meaning, is that every person has a right to keep and bear arms. The only way to describe one’s right as a private individual, is not as a “militia” but as a “person” (“The individual personality of a human being: self.”). “Person” or “persons“” is mentioned in the Constitution 49 times, to explicitly describe, clarify and mandate a Constitutional legal standing as to a “person”, his or her Constitutional rights. Whereas in the Second Amendment, reference to “person” is not to be found. Was there are reason?. The obvious question arises, why did the Framers use the noun “person/s” as liberally as they did throughout the Constitution 49 times and not apply this understanding to explicitly convey same legal standard in defining an individual’s right to bear arms as a “person”?

      Merriam Webster “militia”, “a body of citizens organized for military service : a whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service.


      Article 2, Section 2 “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into actual Service of the United States;…”


      In the whole of the U.S. Constitution, “militia” is mentioned 5 times. In these references there is no mention of person or persons. One reference to “people“ in the Second Amendment. People, meaning not a person but persons, in describing a “militia”. “People” is mentioned a total 9 times.


      It’s not enough to just say that “person(s)” is mentioned in the United States Constitution 49 times. But to see it for yourself, and the realization was for the concern envisioned by the Framers that every “person” be secure in these rights explicitly spelled out, referenced and understood how these rights were to be applied to that “person”.

      “..No Person shall be a Representative..”

      “..whole Number of free Persons,..”

      “..three fifths of all other Persons…”

      “..No person shall be a Senator…”

      “..And no Person shall be convicted…”

      “ Person holding any Office…”

      “..Names of the Persons voting for…”

      “…of such Persons as any of the States…”

      “…not exceeding ten dollars for each Person…”

      “…And no Person holding any…”

      “…or Person holding an Office of Trust o…“

      “…and vote by Ballot for two persons,…”

      “…List of all the Persons voted for,…”

      “…The Person having the greatest Number of Votes…”

      “…and if no Person have a Majority,…”

      “…the Person having the greatest Number…”

      “…No person except a natural born Citizen,…”

      “…Any Person be eligible to that ….”

      “…No Person shall be convicted of …”

      “…except during the Life of the Person attainted….”.

      “…A Person charged in any State…”

      “…No Person held to Service…”

      “…The right of the people to be secure in their persons,…”

      “…and the persons or things to be seized….”

      “..No person shall be held to answer…”

      “..nor shall any person be subject for the same offense….”

      “…they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President,…”

      “…the person voted for as Vice-President,…”

      “…all persons voted for as President,….”

      “…all persons voted for as Vice-President…”

      “…The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, …”

      “…and if no person have such majority,…”

      “..the persons having the highest numbers …”

      “… The person having the greatest number of votes…”

      “..and if no person have a majority,…”

      “…But no person constitutionally ineligible…”

      “…All persons born or naturalized …”

      “…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property,…”

      “…nor deny to any person within …”

      “…number of persons in each State,….”

      “…No person shall be a Senator or …”

      “..and such person shall act accordingly….”

      “…of the death of any of the persons from…”

      “…death of any of the persons from…”

      “…No person shall be elected to the office…”

      “…and no person who has held the office of President,…”

      “ which some other person was elected…”

      “…shall not apply to any person holding the office…”

      “..prevent any person who may be holding…”


      Excerpts in reading Emerson v. United States (1999), or Miller v. United States (1939), one can be struck with the many thoughts, interpretations of what the second amendment means, but more important how it came about and ended. However, even still, I am left with the thought if the Framers had treated Amendment 2 with the same obedience, and reverence to explain the 49 Constitutional references to “person”, there would be no controversy in what is perceived as a right to bear arms.



      United States v Emerson

      “The American colonists exercised their right to bear arms under the English Bill of Rights. Indeed, the English government's success in luring Englishmen to America was due in part to pledges that the immigrants and their children would continue to possess "all the rights of natural subjects, as if born and abiding in England."


      “A foundation of American political thought during the Revolutionary period was the well justified concern about political corruption and governmental tyranny. Even the federalists, fending off their opponents who accused them of creating an oppressive regime, were careful to acknowledge the risks of tyranny. Against that backdrop, the framers saw the personal right to bear arms as a potential check against tyranny.”


      “The framers thought the personal right to bear arms to be a paramount right by which other rights could be protected. Therefore, writing after the ratification of the Constitution, but before the election of the first Congress, James Monroe included "the right to keep and bear arms" in a list of basic "human rights" which he proposed to be added to the Constitution. HALBROOK, supra at 223 n. 145 (citing James Monroe Papers, New York Public Library (Miscellaneous Papers of James Monroe)).”


      307 U.S. 174 United States v. Miller

      Structural Analysis

      “Furthermore, the very inclusion of the right to keep and bear arms in the Bill of Rights shows that the framers of the Constitution considered it an individual right. "After all, the Bill of Rights is not a bill of states' rights, but the bill of rights retained by the people." David Harmer, Securing a Free State: Why The Second Amendment Matters, 1998 BYU L. REV. 55, 60 (1998). Of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, only the Tenth concerns itself with the rights of the states, and refers to such rights in addition to, not instead of, individual rights. Id. Thus the structure of the Second Amendment, viewed in the context of the entire Bill of Rights, evinces an intent to recognize an individual right retained by the people.”


      After debating by the Framers on the proposed right to bear arms, from these few references, some credence is given to the “intent” to “to bear arms”. Analysis of structural statutory construction, “..viewed in the context of the entire Bill of Rights,..” individual citizens, a person, to “bear arms“ however proposed and debated, there is reference to “person” mentioned 49 times, is this not to be considered when looking at the context of the entire Bill Of Rights? Right to bear arms was debated and proposed, but the Second Amendment remains silent.


      Jones v Smart [1785} 1 Term Rep.44,52 (per Buller, J.) “[W]e are bound to take the act of parliament, as they made it: a casus omissus can in no case be supplied by a Court of Law, for that would be to makes laws.” (Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts) Antonin Scalia/ Bryan A. Gardner .West.


      What am I missing?

    • Traveler29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Hartzell 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      Mr Deeds, I'm sorry it took so long to approve your comment. I haven't been on here for a long time. That is a horrible story, and though I support the right to carry, I also support the idea of requiring gun safety courses to go along with it. On the same note a lack of common sense will cause accidents, regardless of what that person is doing.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 

      6 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Mouthbreather shoots his penis off with Glock .40.

      A heating and cooling worker who was at a job in Birmingham on Tuesday accidentally blasted himself in the crotch with a handgun.

      The incident occurred around 11:15 a.m. in the 300 block Wimbleton. Police Cmdr. Terry Kiernan said the man, 45, of Southfield Township, underwent several hours of surgery at Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital and is expected to make a recovery.

      “The bullet went through his private part and lodged in his leg,” Kiernan said.

      The worker was carrying a .40 Glock handgun in his waistband when he arrived at the house on Wimbleton. Kiernan said as the man pulled out the gun to leave inside the van, it accidentally discharged.

      “His partner asked him if he shot himself,” said Kiernan. “I guess the guy stood there for almost 15 seconds looking absolutely stunned. He then told his buddy to take him to the hospital.”

      While the man had a permit to carry the registered gun, he might still face a misdemeanor charge for unlawfully discharging a firearm.

      Coincidentally, the accidental shooting occurred less than 24 hours after a much-publicized gun rally was held Monday in downtown Birmingham. About 20 people showed up at the rally, many of them carrying firearms, to show their support for a young man who was arrested in April for carrying a rifle while walking around Birmingham.

    • Traveler29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Hartzell 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      Thank you for your comment. Your explanation does a great job of explaining my essay further. Though I really had not meant to sound so harsh, the rules were to mock a belief that I did not agree with.

      There are so many examples of our leaders trying to take away all gun rights when many of them keep guns in there own home. I really should find and post some of the news article links that I have found demonstrating that. It seems that these people do not have a problem with guns as long as they are the only ones that own them.

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 

      6 years ago from Northern California

      Voted up. I agree with your statement here:

      "On the same note, what kind of fool believes that in a world that used muzzleloaders, and that never specifically listed any type of firearms, believes that the Second Amendment gives us the right to own a machine gun?"

      My reason is the first part of the 2nd Amendment:

      “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State..."

      Who is the militia? Essentially it includes all adults who have not committed felonies. The 2nd Amendment is saying, among other things, that government has the power to regulate the militia. Therefore it can legitimately outlaw private ownership of A-bombs, and severely restrict private ownership of machine guns. And it probably would have done so if these two types of weapons had been invented in the 18th Century.

      It would be more difficult to make a Constitutional justification for outlawing the keeping and bearing of shillelaghs, pikes, and swords, since these 3 weapons predate the Constitution.


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