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Geoffrey R. Stone, esq.: Understanding the Second Amendment

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Opponents of laws regulating the sale, manufacture and use of guns fervently invoke the Second Amendment. In their view, the Second 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") forbids the government to regulate guns. Period. End of discussion.

But it is more complicated than that.
The same is of course true of the Second Amendment. Even if we agree that the Second Amendment forbids the government to "infringe" the right to "keep and bear arms," that does not mean that the government cannot reasonably regulate the manufacture, sale, ownership and possession of firearms. Indeed, this is precisely what Justice Scalia said in his opinion for the Court in Heller.

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