Amendment II of the United States Constitution
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.
Ratified December 15, 1791
District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)
The Supreme Court struck down a ban on registering handguns and on restrictions placed on guns in the home as a violation of the 2nd Amendment. Learn More
McDonald v. Chicago (2010)
The Supreme Court held that the 2nd Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms for self defense applies to the states through the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, as a “fundamental” and “deeply rooted” right in America’s “history and tradition.” Learn More
New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen (2022)
The Supreme Court struck down New York’s concealed carry law requirement to prove “proper cause,” demonstrating a special need for self defense to obtain a license to carry a concealed pistol or revolver in public. The Court declared this “proper cause” requirement unconstitutional as a violation of the 14th Amendment, as well as the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. Learn More
- Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms, in Constitution Annotated, produced by the Congressional Research Service
- Second Amendment Timeline, posted by the Annenberg Classroom
- Interpretation & Debate: The Second Amendment, posted by the National Constitution Center
- Michael Waldman, The Second Amendment: A Biography (2014)
“How to talk as a Classroom about Gun Violence in Schools” by Kate Stevens, includes materials and activities, in Daily News Lessons, posted by PBS Newshour Classroom
“The Bill of Rights and Guns” includes two lesson plans with materials and activities, posted by Bill of Rights Institute
Second Amendment: D.C.v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago – Updated for 2022 from the Annenberg Classroom. This video discusses the history of guns in the United States and the contested meaning and interpretation of the Second Amendment: “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.” It describes relevant Supreme Court decisions, including New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc., et al. v. Bruen (2022). Here is a lesson plan to accompany this video.