What is the Second Amendment

“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 (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution protects the rights of citizens to own and carry firearms.

The Supreme Court ruled that the first comma divides the amendment into two clauses: one ‘preferatory’ and the other ‘operative.’

Current interpretation postulates that the initial clause is introductory and has little legal bearing and that the operative clause that begins “the right of the people…” is the meat of the Second Amendment.

Anti-gun activists assert that the framers actually used the first and last comma to only parenthetically include the middle text and that the intended reading should be “A well regulated Militia shall not be infringed” but the argument is weak at best. The Constitution is a document intended to preserve the rights of the people, not those of the militia or other entities. As SCOTUS ruled, the only clause that could be ignored is the initial preferatory Militia clause. Doing so would reveal the intent of the amendment “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

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Rich Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News and the president of Bald Eagle Media, LLC. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Bald Eagle Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and

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One Comment

  1. I like this despite an error that seems to be common. The Second Amendment as ratified has only ONE COMMA. This has been verified by the Congressional Research Service almost fifty years ago. Further “proof” can be found in the 1959 Constitutions of Alaska and Hawaii which directly copied the U.S. Bill of Rights Second Amendment with one comma.
    To understand the history and reasons for the right to keep and bear arms it is recommended that the events at Concord and Lexington be studied and how that was written into the Declaration of Independence over a year later.
    More than a decade later Congress drafted the Constitution and included The Militia in Article one, Section Eight.
    But Patrick Henry and other demanded a Bill of Rights because they did not think a Select Militia was adequate and proper protection of the rights of the people.
    To make it easier to understand I have paraphrased the Second Amendment without changing the meaning in the slightest. For clarity I’ve included two words in [] and I’ve changed the comma.
    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state ? [Yes,therefore]
    “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

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