Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and part of the Bill of Rights that provided the right of people to keep and bear arms.
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution 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.” In comparison to other controversial constitutional guarantees, such as freedom of speech, the Supreme Court has had little to say about the Second Amendment. The Court has generally upheld criminal laws regarding firearms, but it has done so without attempting to establish a guiding interpretation of the amendment. Although the Court overturned two federal gun laws in two decisions during the 1990’s, it did not rule on the laws as they pertained to the Second Amendment. Rather, in keeping with the Court’s states’ rights conservatism under Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, the Court ruled on the laws as they pertained to the limits of the federal government’s power to impose its laws on state and local authorities.
In Printz v. United States
In United States v. Cruikshank
The next major Second Amendment case was Presser v. Illinois
The Court in United States v. Miller
In Quilici v. Village of Morton Grove
Bijlefeld, Marjolijn, ed. The Gun Control Debate: A Documentary History. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1997. Cottrol, Robert J., ed. Gun Control and the Constitution: Sources and Explorations on the Second Amendment. New York: Garland, 1993. Henigan, Dennis A. Guns and the Constitution: The Myth of Second Amendment Protection for Firearms in America. Northampton, Mass.: Aletheia Press, 1996. Kopel, David, Stephen Halbrook, and Alan Korwin. Supreme Court Gun Cases: Two Centuries of Gun Rights Revealed. Fairfax: Bloomfield Press, 2003. Malcolm, Joyce Lee. To Keep and Bear Arms: The Evolution of an Anglo-American Right. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996. Spitzer, Robert J. The Right to Bear Arms: Rights and Liberties Under the Law. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-Clio, 2001. Uviller, H. Richard, and William G. Merkel. The Militia and the Right to Arms, Or, How the Second Amendment Fell Silent. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2003.
Bill of Rights
Commerce, regulation of
Cruikshank, United States v.
Lopez, United States v.
Presser v. Illinois
Printz v. United States
States’ rights and state sovereignty