Skip to main content

Second Amendment Gun Rights in the United States

Posted by attorney Geoffrey Mason

In reference to the Second Amendment of the US Constitution and gun rights, in pragmatic and practical terms, what is at issue is how the Second Amendment is applied in light of the current state of the law as interpreted in Supreme Court decisions. The Supreme Court rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller (No. 07-290) from 2008 and McDonald v. Chicago (No. 08–1521) from 2010 are both now the most salient in terms of answering the question "How does the Second Amendment work in the United States?" The interpretation of the Second Amendment, as with all elements of the Constitution, has evolved extensively over the years. Pre-Civil War, Post Civil-War, States Rights, Ratification of new Constitutional Amendments, and much more have all affected how the Supreme Court has interpreted the Second Amendment. I urge you to read these two important recent Supreme Court decisions so that you can see how the application of the Second Amendment has evolved, how the Justices came to their conclusions, and to understand what the state of the law actually is. District of Columbia v. Heller: McDonald v. Chicago:

Additional resources provided by the author

An earlier modern Supreme Court case regarding the Second Amendment is also worth reviewing:
United States v. Miller (307 U.S. 174; No. 696):

Author of this guide:

Was this guide helpful?