The Second Amendment to the Constitution
* The Amendment
The Second Amendment to the Constitution in the Bill of Rights states: "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."
The first part, pertaining to militias, is widely accepted by Americans of all political persuasion. It preserves the right of each individual state to form its own "militia," the National Guard. Few disagree on the necessity of state militias; the controversy surrounding the Second Amendment stems from the second clause, maintaining the right of "the people" to "keep and bear arms."
The first part of the clause mentions "the people." This is a vague term. Exactly who are "the people?" Some believe "the people" are the individual states, and that the second clause is dependent upon and modifies the first. Thus, the people, or the states, may bear arms, or maintain a militia, which is the National Guard.
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