Much has been said, debated, pontificated, blustered, and raged about the Second Amendment in the U.S. Bill of Rights. Major news media, political talking points, and even official speeches delivered by the President of the United States are filled with confusing and contradictory rhetoric posing as factual information. Quiz yourself and your friends with this “Two Truths and a Lie.” Can you spot what is true and what is not?

A. The Second Amendment refers specifically to the right to keep and bear guns
B. The Second Amendment is the only place in the U.S. Bill of Rights that includes the clause “shall not be infringed.” 
C. The Second Amendment refers to the “right of the people.” 

A. LIE! The Second Amendment refers to “arms” which can be guns—rifles or handguns, knives, swords, bows and arrows, spears, axes, cannons, explosives, etc. As explained by The Tenth Amendment Center, “Today the word ‘arms’ refers collectively to offensive or defensive weapons. The word’s meaning has changed little since it was first used seven hundred years ago. Its definition has never restricted civilian use of military weapons, including when the Second Amendment was approved.”

B. TRUTH! The original text of the Second Amendment is a mere 27 words in length and ends with the clause “shall not be infringed.” This phrase is not found in any other amendment or in any other part of our Founding Documents. This speaks volumes to the vital importance of this amendment. 

C. TRUTH! The text of the Second Amendment 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.” While proponents of Anti-Gun ideology hyper-focus on the first four words (“A well regulated Militia”) and ignore the following words that define and clarify (“the right of the people”), the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has ruled on this issue multiple times. In Heller v. District of Columbia in 2008, in McDonald v. Chicago in 2010, and most recently in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, “[T]he Court points out, the primary purpose of the Second Amendment is to preserve the right of the people to keep and bear arms for self-defense.”

In summaries from these historic SCOTUS cases, the Justices have stated that “The Second Amendment protects the rights of law-abiding, adult citizens (‘the People’) to keep and bear arms, particularly weapons in common use. Therefore, any law restricting that right needs to be consistent with the Nation’s ‘historical tradition of firearm regulation.’” And, “The Second Amendment protects the right of law-abiding citizens to both possess and carry weapons for self-defense, particularly weapons that are in common use among the populace.”

Bottom Line: 

The brilliance and foresight of our Founders have stood for centuries as a firewall preventing people in positions of power from whittling away at the freedoms of the average citizen. Since the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791, our Founders have been proven prophetic. Through regulations, legal maneuvers, politically-based compromises, propaganda, or tricky wordplay infringements have been ever-eroding our right to own and use tools of self-defense. The US Constitution and Bill of Rights are inspired documents, and so far the Supreme Court has upheld the power and significance of these documents, but it is the responsibility of each generation to reassert the principles that our Founders fought, bled, starved, and died to secure for our nation. Read the documents for yourself. Do not rely on others to interpret them for you. They are part of your precious and unique inheritance of Freedom and heritage of American values.