Myth 1 – The 2nd Amendment gives people the right to bear arms

Many of the people on “our side” use the 2nd amendment as the basis for the right to bear arms.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Neither the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights gives anyone the right to bear arms.

To understand this misconception, we need to start at the beginning.  On July 4th, 1776, the intellectual giants referred to as our Founding Fathers released the first of a series of documents which would reshape this country and arguably the world.  For our purposes, let’s look at the following phrase from The Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”.

What are unalienable Rights?  These are rights you are born with.  Whether you view your “Creator” as God, another deity, or your mother, you were given these rights at birth.

The next important document is our Constitution which outlines the basis for our government.  This document was drafted beginning in 1787.  As good as the document was when finalized, some of our Founders and the states that they represented were reluctant to ratify it.  With the recent independence from Great Britain, many were afraid that in spite of their best intensions, the new government might abridge individual liberty and therefore additional protections were needed.  In 1789, The Bill of Rights was introduced to alleviate these concerns consisting of ten amendments to The Constitution.  The Amendments consisted of PROTECTIONS of rights.  If you look at the language of them you find phrases like “Congress shall make no law … prohibiting … or abridging the right”, “the right … shall not be infringed” and “The right … shall not be violated”.

In other words, our Founders felt that some of our “unalienable Rights” are so important that they needed to expressly prohibit the government from violating them.  So the 2nd Amendment does not give the right to bear arms, but rather it expressly prohibits the government from infringing on your unalienable Right to bear arms.