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The militia noted in the second amendment is a militia of all those able and willing to bear arms to defend their liberty.
Today, discussion of the Second Amendment begins with two claims: Liberal, gun-control advocates focus on “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” and argue that the right to bear arms only applies to those in a well-regulated militia. Conservatives emphasize “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Founders - Statements - Bill - Rights
Why did the Founders include both statements in the Bill of Rights?
When the Constitution went before the people for ratification, it was supported by the Federalists, while the Anti-federalists thought it gave too much power to the central government. Both sides agreed that all government, federal and state, presented a potential threat to people’s liberty. The best way for the people to protect their liberty from government intrusion was with an armed, well-regulated militia.
Idea - State - Militia - State - Select
The idea of a state militia controlled, formed, and supplied by the state, was thought dangerous by some. These Select Militias, as they were called, were seen as just another standing army that might allow a state government to forcefully take away people’s liberty. Some found it disturbing that the Constitution called for state militias to be activated by the central government to aid in defending the Union, if necessary. While the Founders thought Select Militias were necessary to protect the Union from invasion, they also saw that they also posed a potential threat to the people’s liberty.
Several quotes from the Founders suggested a solution was sought in the provision that all the people must be armed for protection against the potential tyranny of governments—both state and federal. Here are just four quotes to indicate their thinking:
Statements - State - Conventions - Ratification - Constitution
Many statements from state conventions, debating the ratification of the Constitution,...
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