It wasn’t until I was older that I realized this right was not as evidently unalienable to other United States citizens as it had been to those I grew up with. We no longer have the luxury of viewing the second amendment as a basic human right; it is now a topic of debate, a political point-winner during election season. And each one of us is forced to think seriously as to what we ourselves believe.
Amendment IVThe right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
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When you think of the US Constitution, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Free speech? The right to bear arms? These passages are cited so often that it’s hard to imagine the document without them. But the list of freedoms known as the Bill of Rights was not in the original text and wasn’t added for three years. Why not? James Coll goes back to the origins of the Constitution to find out.
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These amendments were ratified on December 15, 1791.(Note: The Bill of Rights was proposed to ensure that individuals would have civil rights and could avoid the tyranny of an overly-powerful central government, which the Colonists had experienced both before and during the US Revolution.)Amendment ICongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
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The right to self-defense, regardless of whether it is from an attacker on the street or from an oppressive government, did not begin, nor will it end, with the ratification of the Bill of Rights. Almost every major religious text mentions the importance of allowing people to have access to the means necessary to defend themselves. John Locke’s Second Treatise, one of the most important texts in the eyes of our nation’s founders, speaks of the necessity of a populace able to defend itself from its own government if need be. Ancient Roman statesmen, Greek philosophers, Church doctrines, all have references to the importance of this right long before the birth of the United States.