The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” At the time of its writing, a debate broke out between the Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, and the Anti-Federalists, led by Thomas Jefferson.
The Anti-Federalists believed that states’ rights should be stronger than a centralized government and therefore argued that the proposed Constitution took power away from individual states and gave the federal government too much force. They asserted that the federal government’s authority to regulate militias and possess peacetime armies would diminish the states’ ability to defend against federal usurpation.
The Federalists believed that the centralized government should be stronger than state governments, and argued that the American people were armed and could not be overpowered by the federal government.
Nonetheless, the debate over the situation brought both parties to the same conclusion. The federal government cannot have the authority to disarm the American people, arguing only about whether or not the federal government could have the power to subdue the entire American population.
It is important to understand that the Revolutionary war had just been fought, and the idea of an overreaching and tyrannical government ruling over the people was an issue many of our forefathers understood very well. They saw that giving the American people the right to bear arms was the only adequate way to ensure that the federal government would stay in check.
It has been over two centuries since the second amendment was written into the bill of rights but its importance to the way of life for the American people has only gotten stronger. The meaning behind the law remains the same, but gun-ownership has become a hallmark of what it means to be an American.
The laws not only allow Americans to protect themselves from government tyranny, but also from other people trying to hurt them and their family. Gun-ownership provides the American people with a sense of security in a seemingly devolving world.
This is why American citizens are so passionate about their ability to own firearms, it solidifies the power of the people to govern their own government. Which is the very idea that this country was founded upon.