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The Second Amendment

The second amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right of Americans to keep and bear firearms:

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 to the Constitution and part of what is commonly known as the "Bill of Rights" guarantees the American people the right to keep and bear arms. Since 1990, three significant pieces of legislation have been enacted dealing with the second amendment. These laws are:

·         the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act

·         the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act

·         the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act

The "Brady Bill" established a background check for anyone seeking to purchase a firearm, and prevented the sale of firearms to anyone who was a felon or fit into a number of other categories. This legislation was the result of the attack on President Reagan's life. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was the Act that established a ban on "Assault Weapons" which lasted from 1994 to 2004. The Protection in Lawful Commerce Act ensures that gun manufacturers are not sued because someone committed a crime with a legally manufactured and sold weapon.

There have been two major Supreme Court decisions involving the second amendment in recent years. In DC vs Heller, the Supreme Court ruled that the DC gun ban was unconstitutional. In Chicago vs McDonald, the court ruled that the restrictions on gun ownership were not legal. Many representatives made statement on these cases and some filed briefs in support the decisions.

Some Recent Second Amendment Proposals:

  • The Grassley-Cruz Legislation: This amendment would address gun violence without undermining the Second Amendment. This legislation would increase funding for school security measures. It would also fix known problems with NICS background check system (such as a failure of some States to submit mental records) without expanding the program.
  • A Concurrent Resolution in response to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT): The resolution expresses concern over possible restrictions to the rights afforded by the Second Amendment to law-abiding citizens. It outlines specific criteria that must be met to protect that right before the U.S. ratifies it.


For additional Second Amendment information, visit the following:



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