Second Amendment

Right to Bear Arms

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.

Constitutional Questions

When can the government limit the individual right to possess guns and other firearms—and when can’t it?

  • Why did the Founding generation enshrine the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights?
  • What was the Founding-era vision of the Second Amendment, and how did America’s “Second Founding”—and the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment after the Civil War—shape the Second Amendment’s meaning?
  • How has the Supreme Court interpreted the Second Amendment over time?
  • Today, when can the government limit the individual right to possess guns and other firearms—and when can’t it?
  • What are areas of constitutional debate over the Second Amendment today?
Video: The Second Amendment - Advanced Level
Video: The Second Amendment - Introductory Level
Video: The Second Amendment with Jeffrey Rosen
Video: The Second Amendment with Clark Neily

Classroom Materials

Second Amendment - Briefing Document

Download via Google Docs



Download via Google Slides



Download via Google Docs
Advanced Version


Introductory Version


Read the Interpretations

Common Interpretation

The Second Amendment

by By Nelson Lund and Adam Winkler


Matters of Debate

The Reasonable Right to Bear Arms

by By Adam Winkler


Not a Second Class Right: The Second Amendment Today

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