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Second Amendment & the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

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 protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms for defense of life and liberty.

In U.S. v. Cruikshank (1876), Presser v. Illinois (1886), Miller v. Texas (1894) and U.S. v. Miller (1939), the Supreme Court recognized that the amendment protects an individual right. It has never taken a different view. However, in Salina v. Blaksley (1905), the Kansas Supreme Court invented the idea that the amendment instead protected a “right” of a person to keep and bear arms only while serving in a state militia, and in U.S. v. Tot (1942), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit advanced the idea that the amendment protects the “right” of a state to have a militia.

In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court heard its first case specifically centered on whether the amendment protects an individual right to arms. Gun control supporters advanced essentially the "Salina" argument, but the Court, consistent with its previous rulings in Second Amendment-related cases, ruled that the amendment protects an individual right to keep arms and to bear arms "in case of confrontation," without regard to a person’s relationship to a militia.

In McDonald v. Chicago (2010), the court extended the Second Amendment's protection nationwide.

Issue Articles


Thursday, July 29, 1999

America's Founding Fathers On The Individual Right To Keep And Bear Arms

Quotes from our Founding Fathers on the right to Keep and Bear Arms.


Wednesday, July 28, 1999

The Bill Of Rights And The States

By Stephan B. Tahmassebi. Viewed by Chief Justice John Marshall as a check against excesses of the federal ...


Wednesday, July 28, 1999

Virginia`s Great Dissenters

By Thomas M. Moncure, Jr. Fearful of an all-powerful federal government, Patrick Henry and George Mason conditioned Virginia`s ...


Friday, July 16, 1999

Madison And The Bill Of Rights

James Madison`s lonely struggle against his fellow Federalists yielded one of the greatest documents of liberty ever written.


Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.