3 February, 19:56
How did the Supreme Court's actions in United States v. Cruikshank impact Reconstruction efforts?
3 February, 21:01
1876 Supreme Court case ruled against any individual right to bear armsSecond Amendment guaranteed only states' rights to maintain militiasState governments could regulate guns however they saw fit Presser v. Illinois affirmed Cruikshank ruling, further clarified that Second Amendment rights had not been "incorporated"-that is, they were not binding on the states
Until quite recently, the answer to that question was pretty simple-the Court's interpretation of the Second Amendment was established in just a few cases. The first of these was United States v. Cruikshank. You can read more about this case here, but the short version is that in 1876 the Court ruled that the Second Amendment served only to protect the states against the federal government. Because the states in 1787 were worried that a too-powerful federal government might trample their rights, the Court said, the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution guaranteeing their right to maintain militias. The Second Amendment did not, in this interpretation, provide any individual right to keep and bear arms; it only guaranteed a state's right to maintain a militia. Moreover, since these militias were to be "well regulated," and since the Second Amendment was aimed only at the threat posed by the federal government, state governments were-according to this ruling-free to regulate guns in any manner they saw fit.
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