The Truth about the Second Amendment

From Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law at

The founders would look at us today and be very puzzled. The idea that anybody could get a weapon of war, walk into a school and shoot it up, I think they would that was crazy.

What’s the exact wording of the Second Amendment? It’s very short. “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.” And we’ve been debating about what that means for centuries.

The founders thought that the Second Amendment was about protecting against tyranny. They really thought that these militias of citizen soldiers could stand up to a potentially tyrannical central government. But they thought, as they said, that they had to be well-regulated, they had to be following the laws.

They would think that we were taking their words and their ideas and twisting them beyond recognition.

Back in the time of the founding, there were gun laws. For example, in Boston you were not allowed to have a loaded gun at home because they tended to explode and set fire to the houses.

In 1824, the board of regents of the University of Virginia voted to ban guns on campus. Who were these gun grabbers? Well, James Madison, who wrote the Second Amendment, and Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence.

The founders would think the idea that you should arm everybody and especially arm teachers was crazy.

CLIP OF TRUMP: The teacher would’ve shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened.

The U.S. Supreme Court didn’t rule that the Second Amendment reflected an individual right to gun ownership until 2008.

The was the product of a concerted, very skilled 30-year campaign by the National Rifle Association to change how we saw the Constitution.

We changed our understanding as a country of what the Second Amendment meant, but not because of some dry words scratched on parchment, but because the gun rights lobby poured its energy into changing our view of the Constitution.

They want to pretend that it’s an unlimited right, that any smart, sane law is an infringement on sacred freedom. And that’s just nonsense.

The Second Amendment does not prohibit, does not bar strong, sensible gun laws.

Only political will and the broken political system stands in the way of that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *