Creating the Bill of Rights

Right to Bear Arms

Although loosely defined, the rights to bear arms and maintain a well-regulated militia were closely tied together in the minds of the authors of these documents. No doubt the authors had in mind their experiences with pre-Revolution British attempts to restrict American militias, such as the Massachusetts minutemen. They knew that a proclaimed right to rebellion was mere puffery without arms and an organized local militia. An armed citizenry was seen as a bulwark against tyranny. Moreover, Americans undoubtedly were familiar with British efforts to restrict gun ownership in England, Scotland, and particularly Ireland. Where did this idea come from? »

Bill of Rights, Right to Bear Arms section

Article the fourth . . . 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.