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Civics 101: Second Amendment

Last updated on 2020-10-19

Amendment II

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 Second Amendment is arguably the most hotly debated part of our Constitution.  I’m not going to argue any side, but I will attempt to put a small bit of context on a few of the words.


The historical definition of “militia” is defined in two main ways (via Merriam Webster)

  1. a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency
  2. the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service

The second of these is what is most commonly considered the meaning of the phrase “well-regulated militia”.   The Founders wanted to be able to call every able-bodied man to serve the government in defending against invading forces.  In order to do that, those men must be familiar with “arms” and well-trained in their use.


The meat of the matter is what qualifies as “being infringed”.  It is this that I will leave up to the legislators and courts to debate.

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