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Right to Bear Arms

Right to Bear Arms

Home Civics Right to Bear Arms Teaching Discussion and Essay Questions

Discussion and Essay Questions

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Sample of Discussion and Essay Questions


  1. Meaning of the Second Amendment
  2. United States v. Cruikshank
    • According to this case, what was the purpose of the Second Amendment?
      • What did it protect? What did it not protect?
      • What power did the states hold under this interpretation of the Second Amendment?
      • What responsibilities did the states hold?
    • What is the doctrine of incorporation and how does it affect the Second Amendment?
  3. United States v. Miller
    • Summarize the ruling in United States v. Miller.
      • How did the Court define “the people”?
        • How did this definition affect individual gun rights?
      • How did the Court open the door to an individual right to own certain types of guns?
        • More precisely, who served in the militia?
          • Who exactly were (and were not) part of "the people"?
        • What sorts of guns were covered under this interpretation of the Second Amendment?
  4. District of Columbia v. Heller
    • How would you summarize this decision?
    • In what ways did it deviate from previous decisions?
      • What right did the Court say the Second Amendment guarantees?
      • What are the limitations on that right?
    • Why is it significant that this ruling applied to a Washington, D.C. law?
    • What impact will this ruling have on state laws?

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