THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS.
"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."
The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; nor in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second Amendment means no more than that Congress shall not infringe the right. United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S., 542. This amendment is a limitation only on the powers of Congress and the National government. But in view of the fact that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force of the National government, as well as in view of its general powers, the States can not prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms, so as to deprive the United States of their rightful resource in maintaining the public security. State legislatures may, however, enact statutes to control and regulate all organizations, drilling, and parading of military bodies and associations except those which are authorized by the militia laws of the United States. Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S., 252.
- Edwin Eustace Bryant, The Constitution of the United States, with notes of the decisions of the Supreme court thereon, from the organization of the court till October, 1900 (1901).