What Are the Origins and Interpretations of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms?
The Founders wanted to be sure they preserved the right to keep and bear arms as they established their new sovereign government. Americans asserted a natural right to defend themselves and their property against all threats, including tyranny of any kind, foreign or domestic. The Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights was included to reflect the concerns of many citizens in a number of states. This lesson explores the origins of this amendment.
How Has the Second Amendment Been Interpreted?
For much of American history, the Supreme Court had very little to say about the Second Amendment until 2008 when the Court heard arguments in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller. Richard Heller challenged the city's total ban on handguns on Second Amendment grounds. The Court agreed with Heller finding the ban unconstitutional.
McDonald v. Chicago | Homework Help from the Bill of Rights Institute
Does the Second Amendment prevent a city from effectively outlawing handgun ownership? In 2008, Otis McDonald attempted to purchase a handgun for self-defense purposes in a Chicago suburb. However, the city of Chicago had banned handgun ownership in 1982 when it passed a law that prevented issuing handgun registrations. McDonald argued this law violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges and Immunities Clause as well as the Due Process Clause. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that McDonald’s Second Amendment right to bear arms was protected at the state and local level by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.