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“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.” The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights proposed by the First Congress. Congress passed 10 constitutional amendments in 1789 and sent them to the states for ratification. The Bill of Rights emerged out of anti-Federalist objections to the Constitution of 1787; it was ratified by the states in 1791.

Orphaned by constitutional scholars and variously embraced and despised by partisans on either side of the debate over the role of firearms in American life, the Second Amendment remains a very contentious issue into the 21st century. Scholars, politicians, and activists continue to ...

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