Why is the second amendment important to American citizens?
The Second Amendment to the U.S Constitution states that "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." In the United States Constitution, the Second Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights that protects a citizen's constitutional right to bear arms. This amendment was written to prevent the government from banning certain weapons because it might be harmful.
The history of the Second Amendment
The Second Amendment is often misunderstood because many think that there is no reason for government to have the right to ban certain weapons. In fact, the Second Amendment was added to the Bill of Rights in 1791 because the British government was trying to disarm the American colonists. Many American colonists were killed because colonial governments were attempting to ban certain guns, or to tax guns to pay for the army.
The British government believed that the colonists would not be able to fight a successful rebellion against the crown if they had such a large standing army. Therefore, they added the Second Amendment which guaranteed the arms that citizens owned were not banned, except by Parliament (i.e. the Parliament of Great Britain).
The Second Amendment is not limited to military weapons
The Second Amendment is also a right of citizens, and it is also a right of American citizens. It protects the right to keep and bear all kinds of weapons for any purpose. Although most gun control laws are based on state laws, other courts have held that the Second Amendment applies to all kinds of weapons, even machine guns, in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. ___ (2008). The courts have decided that it does not matter if the weapon is considered to be an assault weapon or a standard weapon if it is owned by a civilian.
The right to keep and bear arms extends to machine guns
It is important to realize that the right to keep and bear arms does not only apply to military weapons. It also applies to machine guns in District of Columbia v. Heller. The Second Amendment is also violated when Congress passes laws that ban machine guns.
How the courts decide cases
The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the constitutionality of laws banning machine guns depends upon whether or not they are generally applicable and that is determined by the courts. If it is generally applicable, then the law is valid. If it is not generally applicable then it is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court of the United States has decided cases that would overturn laws prohibiting machine guns. In United States v. Chicago, 527 U.S. 706 (1999) the Supreme Court of the United States decided that a ban on machine guns violated the Second Amendment which was generally applicable. In United States v. Milwaukee, 528 U.S. 475 (2000) the Supreme Court of the United States decided that a ban on machine guns was not valid because it was not generally applicable, which made it unconstitutional. In McDonald v. Chicago [the city of Chicago has also tried to ban guns] (2009) the Court has decided that the Chicago law prohibiting handguns violated the Second Amendment.
The courts in the District of Columbia v. Heller have determined that a ban that prohibits the civilian ownership of machine guns is not unconstitutional. The Second Amendment is applicable to the states, and the District of Columbia as well as the state legislatures. This has not been decided in the Supreme Court of the United States, but the Courts of Appeals of the District of Columbia have determined that the Second Amendment protects the right to own machine guns.
The cases decided by the lower courts have been important and significant. There have been many decisions in the lower courts. In a case decided by two judges on the court, a lower court has determined that the Second Amendment applies, and is enforceable against the states. In United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 572 U.S. ___ (2014) the Court decided that the Second Amendment applies to the states. The lower courts have also determined that the Second Amendment applies as well as the Second Amendment applies also to the states.
In a further case decided by an 11 Judge panel on a lower federal court, the lower court determined that the Second Amendment is enforceable against the states. In United States v. Ramos, 535 U.S. 162, 121 S. Ct. 1817, 149 L. Ed. 2d 756 (2002) the Court ruled that the federal courts will not defer to the Second Amendment when making determinations relating to criminal prohibitions.
Thus the Courts of Appeals in the District of Columbia also have ruled that the Second Amendment protects the right to possess machine guns.
The Supreme Court, however, is likely to overturn these decisions. There are a number of precedents that are not applicable to state governments and have been set aside. There are also decisions that the Second Amendment has been interpreted to mean that it only protects defensive uses of a gun.
Therefore the state legislatures are free to create new laws and create their own interpretations of Constitutional amendments. The courts will be reluctant to enforce decisions that are set aside as decisions which were wrongly decided but are enforceable.