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The Contender
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The 2nd amendment is an invalid argument against american gun control

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/17/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,464 times Debate No: 52762
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




Gun control is a hot topic, especially in the USA. It is a widely debated topic with maybe proponents of both sides. Oftentimes I see people attempt to use the 2nd amendment as an argument against gun control. I will be arguing that the 2nd amendment is not a valid argument for gun control.
First off, I am in no way trying to debate for or against gun control, only against the use of the 2nd amendment of the Bill of Rights as an argument for gun control in the United States of America.

The second amendment states "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."

: regulation of the selling, owning, and use of guns

I would like to thank in advance, my opponent, whomever that will be, for accepting this debate.


I accept this debate and look forward to hearing my opponent's arguments.
Debate Round No. 1


First, I believe that the main fault in using the 2nd amendment as an argument against gun control lies in the first half of the sentence-"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, "
This is the only amendment of the Bill of Rights which supplies a context.
If you do not own weapons for the purpose of forming or being involved in a militia fighting for protection of a free state, I see no constitutional right to bear arms. While there are some people who are a part of military organizations, the majority of people aren't. The ones who are in military organizations DO have the right to bear arms for our states security.

Secondly, there is the issue of which weapons are regulated and which aren't.
In United States V. Miller, it was ruled that guns which don't possess any reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, and therefore cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees to the citizen the right to keep and bear such a weapon.
In this day and age, some weapons are just much much less efficient than others, and are essentially useless for security of the free state. There is no constitutional reason to own these weapons, therefore they should be regulated, as you aren't automatically conferred the right to possess these.

Third, in District of Columbia V. Heller, the supreme courts decision included this in their decision:
" Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court"s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller"s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those "in common use at the time" finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons"

Simply put, the supreme court ruled that it is not unconstitutional to have limits on which weapons may be carried in which manner, for which purpose, by which people.

Off topic, this is not intended to be included in voters' decisions:
I am actually against gun control, but I am not extremely informed on the topic, and I hope to learn from you Dan, thanks again for accepting this debate and I look forward to hearing your arguments!


Interpretation of the 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."

Above we can all read the second amendment. There is some ambiguity of the language. For example, is the right of arms separate from the militia or is it only applicable to those in the militia? Language is the means we use to communicate ideas and often the flaws of our language can harm the delivery of our ideas. What is important is what the founders were trying to communicate and this is what we should be trying to figure that out. This applies to interpretation of any legal text.

So when interpreting this amendment, instead of choosing one that happens to best correspond to your political beliefs by some strange literary machination, lets try instead of determine in a strait forward manner what the founders meant and then determined how that can be applied to today's government and nation.

What the Founder's Meant

In order to determine this, lets see what their opinions were on this topic:

"I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
George Mason
Co-author of the Second Amendment
during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788 (1)

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
Richard Henry Lee
American Statesman, 1788 (1)

My source shows a whole slew of quotes from the time that shows that the founding fathers believed that every person should have the right to bear arms. The militia was interpreted to be the whole of the American people.

Militias and the Right to Arms

The amendment begins with the statement that we have a militia. It ends with the statement that the right to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed. This last part sounds like a moral principal and there is no indication that it is limited to militias from the text itself. So my opponent is reading in its dependence on the militia based on its coming after the militia section even though it never references the militia directly.

From what we know of the time people strongly believed in the right to bear arms independent of the militia (or believed that the people were the militia) and so that is what they meant when they say that this right cannot be infringed. If my opponent is going to read in the right to bear arm's limitation to the militia then he should provide some quote from the time the amendment was written that indicates the writers or at least some people thought that way.

Non-Militia Guns Regulation

My opponent argues that all arms that are not associated with a militia can be regulated. However I previously showed that there is no dependency between the right to arms clause and the militia clause. So this reasoning is invalid.

Limitations on the Right

Not all rights are unlimited. For example, we don't have the right to scream "fire" in a theater. We can be sure the right to bear arms is unlimited because it expressly says that it cannot be infringed. To infringe means to restrict or encroach upon. This means that government cannot even touch anything about the people's right to a weapon.

Weapon Type

Does the amendment mean that the right to bear any type of arm cannot be infringed or does it only mean that having at least one arm cannot be infringed (thus allowing restriction on weapon type)? If the government could infringe on arm type then the second amendment could ban all arms except really weak ones like knives or 16th century muskets. This would make the amendment meaningless because these weapons were weak.

Therefore it is unlikely that the founding fathers meant the amendment to allow infringing on the type of weapons. So this clause meant to keep the government completely out of the people's keeps and carrying around weapons.

The Supreme Court

The court is partisan. The conservatives tend to allow conservative policies and the liberals tend to do the opposite. So its opinions depends on it's members' politics. This means that it's opinion alone does not determine correct interpretation of the Constitution.

Debate Round No. 2


wtfisthatkid forfeited this round.


Extend my arguments to this round.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Dilara 6 years ago
In 50 or 100 years could the government turn...tyrannical on us? Maybe things can change alot in 100 years. I'm saying it will happen tomorrow or in 20 Years but could it happen? Maybe. If it does we need to defend our selves with weapons.
Posted by Zerrok 6 years ago
Just because the supreme court or court case made a decision on a subject, does not mean something is or is not constitutional; they are more educated within law and the constitution itself, but their interpretations aren't any better than anyone else's (except they probably are but i think you get my point).
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Wylted 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Ff counter arguments unrefuted.

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