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Passed by Congress: 25 September 1789
Ratified: 15 December 1791
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.
Long a source of controversy due to its somewhat convoluted grammatical structure, which makes it unclear whether the right to possess weapons is or is not dependent upon service in the militia, the Second Amendment guarantees citizens some kind of fundamental right to bear arms. Recent Supreme Court cases have tended to broaden the amendment's meaning, suggesting that there is an individual right to bear arms, independent of service (or lack thereof) in the state militia.