The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution 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” (“The Constitution”, 2006). This, as were all of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, was added by the Founding Fathers so as to provide a more clear definition of the specific rights guaranteed to Americans. Gun control advocates consider the Second Amendment to be “obsolete; or is intended solely to guard against suppression of state militias by the central government and therefore restricted in scope by that intent; or does not guarantee a right that is absolute, but one that can be limited by reasonable requirements” (Krouse, 2002). However, they only question the need for people to own firearms that are not primarily designed for sporting purposes such as hunting.
Obviously, the right to own arms was of supreme importance to the Founders given that it was listed second only after the freedom of religion and speech was documented in the First Amendment. The Founders knew that by ensuring the right to own arms, citizens would have the ability to protect themselves from that which might endanger their life, liberty or pursuit of happiness. This could include bodily protection from persons and animals or from an oppressive government that threatened the freedoms outlined in the Constitution. “The Second Amendment reflects the founders’ belief that an armed citizenry, called the ‘general militia’ was a necessary precaution against tyranny by our own government and its army. The idea that government has a constitutional right to disarm the general citizenry is totally foreign to the intent of the Constitution’s framers” (Reynolds & Caruth III, 1992).