Does the 2nd Amendment Give Us a Right to Keep and Bear Arms

   Supporters of the right to keep and bear arms will often say that they have a “2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms” or a “constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”  But they would be wrong.  The 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution did not give Americans the right to keep and bear arms.  That right already existed.  The 2nd Amendment which was adopted on December 15, 1791 simple restricted Congress from passing gun control laws:

“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.”

   Supporters  of giving government agents a monopoly on firearms ownership argue that the 2nd Amendment only applies to members of the militia and not to the American people in general, but even if that were true, Americans would still have the right to keep and bear arms without the 2nd Amendment.

 What does New Hampshire’s Constitution which predated the U.S. Constitution read?  In its Bill of Rights, we read the following:

[Art.] 2. [Natural Rights.] All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this state on account of race, creed, color, sex or national origin.
June 2, 1784,
Amended 1974 adding sentence to prohibit discrimination.

[Art.] 2-a. [The Bearing of Arms.] All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state.

The God-given right to self-defense is clearly enshrined in both the US and New Hampshire  Constitutions, and not only do the citizen of New Hampshire have the right to keep and bear arms, they have the right to defend life and liberty, and that doesn’t mean calling 911 and hiding under the bed or running out the door.

Let us look at a few other state constitutions:

Massachusetts which is the oldest extant constitution in the world:


A Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Article I.  All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness

 Article 17:  The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defense. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.

Maine, which had the good sense to break away from Massachusetts in 1820:

Section 16.  To keep and bear arms.  Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.

And Hawaii our 50th state which lifted their wording from the U.S. Constitution:

Article I, § 17 of the Hawaii Constitution states: “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.”

 Over the years, thanks to ill-informed voters, who have a tendency to elect  people to office that habitually violate their oaths to both violate the U.S and state constitutions, the right to keep and bear arms is under attack.  Thankfully, many states have passed strong laws protecting that right including Maine and New Hampshire.

A Tale of two states:

Until December of last year, I was a life-long resident of Boston. MA.  Last May, I applied to renew my long-lapsed firearms ID card. I was told that I had to be put on a list.  We moved to New Hampshire in December and in mid-January my son and, I went to the New Hampshire’s Registry of Motor Vehicles to get our NH state issued drivers licenses.  Our first stop after getting our drivers licenses was a local gun shop where we purchased a few rifles and handguns.  It took less than 20 minutes to fill out the forms and get the instant check.  In mid-March I received an E-mail from the Boston Police informing me that I can now apply for a gun permit.  All I needed to do was take a firearms safety course, get fingerprinted and give them $100. to exercise a God given right.  I told them that I no longer lived in Boston.

I recommend that readers join and /or support groups that support the right to keep and bear arms.   I am still offering free pocket copies of the U.S. Constitution  My E-mail is

(Rev. Steve Craft at last years Flag Day Rally Auburn, MA)