The incredible history of the 2nd Amendment and America’s gun violence problem

Gun safety laws have a historical precedent in the 1939 court case U.S. v Miller.

  • In 1765, the Britain Parliament passed a Stamp Act, but people in New England rebelled against it. In response to this, the king sent two regimens of the British army to Boston to occupy the city. They were much despised by Bostonians, and this occuptation led to the Boston Massacre in 1770. Since then, many have interpreted the Second Amendment to mean the right of the people to bear arms to aid them in a possible insurrection against the government.
  • The Supreme Court in 1939 in U.S. v Miller, decided unanimously that gun safety laws are perfectly constitutional — the justices declared that the Second Amendment does not protect the rights of an individual to carry firearms. They said the Second Amendment protects the right of people to form militias, or to participate in the common defense.
  • According to many historians, bearing arms evokes a military use for the common defense — not for shooting rabbits or for the insurrection against one's government. It seems the purpose of the law is to allow citizens to participate in defense of the country against a common enemy.
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