In many parts of the world, only the government is allowed to have guns. Thanks to the Second Amendment, that’s not true in the United States. The Founding Fathers knew that taking away people’s guns was the best way to control them – so they didn’t. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution to stop the government limiting people’s rights. As part of the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment keeps people armed so they can protect their own lives and liberty.
James Madison, the man who wrote the Bill of Rights, was proud that most Americans owned guns and learned to shoot at an early age. Other Founders agreed with him.
“To disarm the people … is the most effectual way to enslave them,” said George Mason during the debate over the Constitution.
Letters and speeches from James Madison, George Mason, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Noah Webster, and many more show that the United States couldn’t have won freedom without people owning guns. They believed the right to keep and bear arms was all that stood between a free people and tyranny.
The Second Amendment states:
“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.”
In Colonial America and the early United States, most men owned firearms and knew how to use them. As Jefferson put it, it was “their right and duty to be at all times armed.”
Madison and his supporters believed it was important to write the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights because eventually, the government would try to disarm the people.