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The Second Amendment


The second amendment:

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.


While each word needs to be examined, what does the word "arms" mean? Is it only muskets and late nineteenth century weaponry, or does any weapon qualify? If the latter, then if the government wants to infringe upon the right of a person to

to keep and bear (but not use) a suicide vest, a weaponized biological agent, a dirty bomb ...

from what law would the government derive such power? Should a faithful reading of the second amendment prevent the government from doing so? If any law is enacted giving the government such power would it be unconstitutional?


We will examine the second amendment in depth by reading the article: Second Thoughts by Akhil Amar in the aftermath of Columbine. A political perspective is provided from The Daily Beast's David Sessions. From the article:

"But none of this matters when guns serve as a powerful cultural signifier for Americans, in the South and elsewhere, of their self-reliance and independence from government. It makes no difference whether gun bans, as a matter of fact, drastically reduce gun deaths. It makes no difference that it’s extremely unlikely that the presence of an armed person would have stopped any of the massacres that have seized the headlines the past few years. It makes no difference that there is no reason whatsoever for a private citizen to own an assault weapon. The pragmatic logic of public policy is no match for the power of a cultural sensibility that has made guns a deep ideological attachment. A few thousand civilian deaths seem insignificant against the imaginary scenario of totalitarian government “turning on” its disarmed citizens."

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  • A former member
    A former member

    It was great to meet all of you!

    January 9, 2013

  • Jonathan W.

    I'll wear long sleeves so as not to show my bare arms.

    1 · January 7, 2013

  • Dyutiman D.

    Mark suggested two cases, Heller and McDonald [check wikipedia or other sources] which might shed some light into the second amendment. However, a cursory reading of Heller doesn't tell me whether a suicide vest is an armament or not. More specifically I don't see a generic definition (as per original intent) of arms and how they can be applied to any arbitrary armament, currently in existence or which can come into existence in future.

    December 18, 2012

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