When the Constitution was signed on September 17, 1789, federalists claimed the new government would only have limited powers expressly delegated to it.

This wasn’t enough for anti-federalists like George Mason, who wanted explicit guarantees to certain rights in order to prevent any potential encroachment by the federal government.

One of them was the right to keep and bear arms. Mason wrote:

“A well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State”

The Founding Fathers, having just broken away from Great Britain, understood the new federal government they were ratifying might one day become just as tyrannical. If it had the authority to control citizen access to firearms, then it could disarm them, just as the British attempted to do. This would make any attempts to restore liberties futile.

The Second Amendment was specifically included in the Bill of Rights to prevent this.

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