Revisiting the Second Amendment — Mistakes Were Made

marlon mosley
5 min readJun 21, 2022

The Second Amendment of the United States reads: “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.” From these lines, we get the controversial issue of private gun ownership rights.

This Amendment causes the most discourse among the original Bill of Rights laws. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court affirmed for the first time that the right to own guns belongs to individuals for self-defense in the home. When we think of the Second Amendment, this idea of an individual constitutional right to own guns is the first one that usually pops into one’s mind. What about the well-regulated militia part? Has there always been an emphasis on an individual rights to own guns?

The American political scientist Robert Spitzer wrote that every law journal article discussing the Second Amendment through 1959 “reflected the Second Amendment affects citizens only in connection with citizen service in a government organized and regulated militia.” Only beginning in 1960 did law journal articles begin to advocate an “individualist” view of gun ownership rights. What changed? The power and influence of the gun lobby, more specifically the National Rifle Association (NRA). When there is a sudden change in legal interpretation or a zoomed in focus on some obscure issue, you can thank special interest groups. A fine example of this is the sudden focus on Critical Race Theory before the 2021 election cycle.

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger wrote in 1990:

“The Constitution of the United States, in its Second Amendment, guarantees a “right of the people to keep and bear arms.” However, the meaning of this clause cannot be understood except by looking to the purpose, the setting and the objectives of the draftsmen… People of that day were apprehensive about the new “monster” national government presented to them, and this helps explain the language and purpose of the Second Amendment.”

Burger later added: “If I were writing the Bill of Rights now, there wouldn’t be any such thing as the Second Amendment… that a well regulated militia being necessary for the defense of the state, the peoples’ rights to bear arms. This has…

marlon mosley

recovering Lawyer, History buff who wants to share my knowledge with the world . To teach them lessons from our past. see all of the stories on