Top Pro & Con Arguments


The Second Amendment is not an unlimited or individual right to own guns.

In the June 26, 2008, District of Columbia et al. v. Heller U.S. Supreme Court majority opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited… nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” [3]

On June 9, 2016 the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 7-4 that “[t]he right of the general public to carry a concealed firearm in public is not, and never has been, protected by the Second Amendment,” thus upholding a law requiring a permitting process and “good cause” for concealed carry licenses in California. [145] [146]

A 2018 study found that 91% of the 1,153 court cases with claims stating a government action or law violate the Second Amendment between the 2008 D.C. v. Heller decision and Feb. 1, 2016 failed. [157]

Further, the Second Amendment was intended to protect the right of militias to own guns, not the right of individuals to own guns. Former Justice John Paul Stevens, in his dissenting opinion for District of Columbia et al. v. Heller, wrote, “the Framer’s single-minded focus in crafting the constitutional guarantee ‘to keep and bear arms’ was on military use of firearms, which they viewed in the context of service in state militias,” hence the inclusion of the phrase “well regulated militia.” [3]

Michael Waldman, President of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, stated there is nothing about an individual right to bear arms in the notes about the Second Amendment when it was being drafted, discussed, or ratified; the US Supreme Court declined to rule in favor of the individual right four times between 1876 and 1939; and all law articles on the Second Amendment from 1888 to 1959 stated that an individual right was not guaranteed. [47]

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