The right to keep and bear arms by individual Americans is “debatable,” according to the United States Senate.
The Constitution’s Second Amendment reads: “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.”
Each section of the Constitution on the website featured an explanation sidebar, but the so-called explanation next to the Second Amendment text has many gun rights advocates angry. The explanation of the amendment reads:
“Whether this provision protects the individual’s right to own firearms or whether it deals only with the collective right of the people to arm and maintain a militia has long been debated.”
The text disregards the US Supreme Court’s District of Columbia v. Heller Supreme Court ruling of 2008. The high court ruled without ambiguity that the Second Amendment does indeed protect an individual American citizen’s right to own guns. Dick Heller, a Washington, DC police officer, filed a lawsuit in protest of his town’s handgun possession ban. The Supreme Court decision noted that the “well regulated militia” phrasing simply announced a purpose and did not limit or increase the right to own or bear arms by individuals.
Court Was Clear
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion.
“We hold that the District’s ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense,” Scalia wrote.
The Second Amendment, Scalia said, “surely elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.”
Antonin Scalia further wrote, “It is not the role of this court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”
For gun rights activists, perhaps even more disturbing than the inability of the official Senate website to properly define the Second Amendment is the fact that the online venue is used as reference material in public schools. Denton Guyer High School students in Texas are being taught that Americans have a right to bear arms solely in a state militia, according to InfoWars.
Other Senate website explanations caused controversy, too.
The Third Amendment reads:
“No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”
The US Senate explanation of the amendment informs Americans and students that the virtually obsolete provision was created as a response to anger over British soldiers being quartered inside the homes of colonists. While the mini-history lesson about the scenario which prompted the Third Amendment is valid, the law remains pertinent and protects the rights of citizens today, civil libertarians say.
Understanding the true definition of Second Amendment rights is important, especially during an era in which America is faced with multiple gun control initiatives. Both Democrats and Republicans came together recently in order to reject a UN Arms Trade Treaty that was promoted by the Obama administration and was discussed in a previous Off The Grid News story.
“The Obama administration has repeatedly demonstrated its contempt for our fundamental individual right to keep and bear arms,” said NRA Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Chris Cox. “On behalf of our 5 million members, the NRA would like to thank those who signed these letters [to President Obama and Kerry] for their principled stand in defending the Second Amendment freedoms of all law-abiding Americans.”