Second Amendment Essay

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They and their contemporaries were firearm owners, hunters and in some cases gun collectors (George Washington and Thomas Jefferson exchanged letters about their collections).

They had just finished winning their freedoms with gun in hand, and would, in their next session, pass legislation requiring most male citizens to buy and own at least one firearm and 30 rounds of ammunition.

To understand the true meaning of the Second Amendment, it is important to understand the men who wrote and ratified it, and the issues they faced in creating the Constitution.

During the debate over the ratification of the Constitution, there was significant concern that a strong federal government would trample on the individual rights of citizens--as had happened under British rule.

Five conventions recommended adding a right to arms; by comparison, only three conventions mentioned free speech.

Members of Congress had no doubt as to the amendment`s meaning.In constructing the Bill of Rights, Madison followed the recommendations of the state ratifying conventions.Though they ratified the Constitution, several of those conventions had recommended adding provisions about specific rights.In 1776, America's Founders came together in Philadelphia to draw up a "Declaration of Independence," ending political ties to Great Britain.Written by Thomas Jefferson, it is the fundamental statement of people's rights and what government is and from what source it derives its powers: WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.The Constitution, and particularly the Bill of Rights, was created to specifically describe the powers of government and the rights of individuals government was not allowed to infringe.Some people claim that there is no individual right to own firearms.However, anyone familiar with the principles upon which this country was founded will recognize this claim`s most glaring flaw: in America, rights--by definition--belong to individuals.The Founding Fathers created the Bill of Rights to protect the rights of individuals.One of these was the right of the common people to bear arms, which was specifically recognized in the English Declaration of Rights of 1689.However, the Founders also recognized that without a blueprint for what powers government could exercise, the rights of the people would always be subject to being violated.


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