Second Amendment




The Ten Original Amendments: The Bill of Rights. Passed by Congres September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791.


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.

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Federalist Papers #29

It requires no skill in the science of war to discern that uniformity in the organization and discipline of the militia would be attended with the most beneficial effects, whenever they were called into service for the public defense. It would enable them to discharge the duties of the camp and of the field with mutual intelligence and concert an advantage of peculiar moment in the operations of an army; and it would fit them much sooner to acquire the degree of proficiency in military functions which would be essential to their usefulness. This desirable uniformity can only be accomplished by confiding the regulation of the militia to the direction of the national authority. It is, therefore, with the most evident propriety, that the plan of the convention proposes to empower the Union "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, RESERVING TO THE STATES RESPECTIVELY THE APPOINTMENT OF THE OFFICERS, AND THE AUTHORITY OF TRAINING THE MILITIA ACCORDING TO THE DISCIPLINE PRESCRIBED BY CONGRESS."


United States Statutes at Large/Volume 1/2nd Congress/1st Session/Chapter 33

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective states, resident therein, who is or shall be of the age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia by the captain or commanding officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside, and that within twelve months after the passing of this act. And it shall at all times hereafter be the duty of every such captain or commanding officer of a company to enrol every such citizen, as aforesaid, and also those who shall, from time to time, arrive at the age of eighteen years, or being of the age of eighteen years and under the age of forty-five years (except as before excepted) shall come to reside within his bounds; and shall without delay notify such citizen of the said enrolment, by a proper non-commissioned officer of the company, by whom such notice may be proved. That every citizen so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter,How to be armed and accoutred. provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch with a box therein to contain not less than twenty-four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball: or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear, so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise, or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack. 1803, ch. 15.That the commissioned officers shall severally be armed with a sword or hanger and espontoon, and that from and after five years from the passing of this act, all muskets for arming the militia as herein required, shall be of bores sufficient for balls of the eighteenth part of a pound. And every citizen so enrolled, and providing himself with the arms, ammunition and accoutrements required as aforesaid, shall hold the same exempted from all suits, distresses, executions or sales, for debt or for the payment of taxes.

Title 10, Subtitle A, Part I, Chapter 12 THE MILITIA

SubSection 246. Militia: composition and classes

  1. The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
  2. The classes of the militia are-
    1. the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
    2. the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.
  1. a politically unified people occupying a definite territory; nation.
  2. the territory, or one of the territories, of a government.
  3. (sometimes initial capital letter) any of the bodies politic which together make up a federal union, as in the United States of America.
  4. the body politic as organized for civil rule and government (distinguished from church).
  5. the operations or activities of a central civil government:

I included the term people here because there is new discussion on what constitutes the people. This is just my opinion on the subject but I will try to back up my claims the best I can.

The term people, is used nine times in the Constitution. The term person or persons is used 49 times in the Constitution. The term citizen is used 23 times in the constitution. Why do I start here? I start here because I believe that the writers of the Constitution reserved some privileges just for Citizens while others applied to the whole body of those governed by our great Constitution. For example, one may not be elected to the House of Representatives unless they have been a citizen of the United States for seven years. Similarly, one may not be elected to the United States Senate unless they are nine years a citizen of the United States. It is obvious from these two examples given in Article I of the Constitution that our founders did not want those with foreign allegiances in positions of power.

If we look at the Fourteenth Amendment, Seciton 1: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." We see here that even in 1866, the idea of people residing in the country but not subject to the Constitution exists. These include "Indians not taxed", Section 2, and foreign dignitaries exempt from certain laws. They are legal residence but are not counted towards the census and are, therefore, not counted toward the make up of representation.

We can extrapolate from the information provided that there are division of people: citizens, residents, and those not under our law -- non-residents. The last are not counted as "people" since they do not get to participate in our government.

keep and bear

What does it mean to keep?

In the simpelist form it is to have or hold, to posess.

What, then does it mean to bear?

To hold or to carry as in upon ones self.


What are ARMS

At first I had a little bit of a problem defining this one. As a programmer I am well aware how dificult it is describe the routine, mundane, or common tasks. It is true for nouns as well. Often times in a shared vocabulary we do not often take the time to describe what we mean as it is often just understood. Just so we are all clear, I will rely on Black's Law Dictionary for my definition. Arms are "[a]nything that a man wears for his defense, or takes in his hands, or uses in his anger, to cast at or strike at another."

infringed To infringe upon someone or something is "to commit a breach or infraction of; violate or transgress." Are you familiar with the phrase "Don't tred on me"? Or maybe the Gadsden Flag? The idea of treading on someone (or someones rights) is an infringement upon that person.

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