Constitutionality of Firearms Bans; Gun Control and the Second Amendment – Michigan Law Review

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“I. THE ORIGINAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT

The two opposing camps naturally rely on different interpretations of the origins of the second amendment. Proponents of the exclusively state’s right view31 see the amendment as responding to (pg.212) article I, section 8, clauses 15 and 16, of the original Constitution. Those clauses give Congress the power to call out the militia and “to provide for organizing, arming and disciplining” it. According to the state’s right interpretation, the amendment was motivated by fear that Congress might order the states’ organized militias disarmed, thereby leaving the states powerless against federal tyranny. Thus, this view sees the amendment as a response to concerns that time and the course of American history have rendered anachronistic. During the Revolution, and the subsequent period of the Articles of Confederation, the states loomed larger than the federal government and jealously guarded their prerogatives against it. While the Constitution itself heralded a decisive (though limited) repudiation of those attitudes, they remained strong enough to assure two precatory admonitions a place in the Bill of Rights. These became the second and tenth amendments. The purpose of the second amendment was simply to place the states’ organized military forces beyond the federal government’s power to disarm, guaranteeing that the states would always have sufficient force at their command to nullify federal impositions on their rights and to resist by arms if necessary. State’s right proponents also link the amendment to the traditional Whig fear of standing armies. Though the federal government could not be denied authority to maintain a small army, the basic military defense of the country would rest in the states’ reserved power to maintain their own organized military forces. These could be joined together to resist foreign invasion in time of need. Thus, the philosophy underlying the second amendment not only guaranteed the states’ right to keep armed forces, but obviated any need for a massive federal military which might defeat them if they found it necessary to revolt.”

MLA Citation:

Kates, Don B. “Handgun Prohibition and the Original Meaning of the Second Amendment.” constitution.org. Michigan Law Review, 1983.  (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE). <http://www.constitution.org/2ll/2ndschol/57mich.pdf>.

In-Text: (Kates)

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

APA Citation:

Kates, D.B. (1983). Handgun Prohibition and the Original Meaning of the Second Amendment. Michigan Law Review. Retrieved from http://www.constitution.org/2ll/2ndschol/57mich.pdf

In-Text: (Kates, 1983)

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

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