The History and Significance of 2nd Amendment Day
What is 2nd Amendment Day?
2nd Amendment Day is an observance day in the United States meant to promote awareness and support for gun rights under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The day recognizes the right to keep and bear arms and the ability of law-abiding citizens to own firearms.
History and Origins
2nd Amendment Day originated in the state of Oklahoma in 2010 after a major Supreme Court case affirmed individual gun rights. Other states, including Pennsylvania and South Carolina, have since enacted their own 2nd Amendment Day commemorations. Grassroots gun rights groups were the early promoters of 2nd Amendment Day as a counter to gun control efforts.
States That Observe It
Currently, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina are the three states that officially observe a 2nd Amendment Day. Each state marks the occasion on a different day of the year significant to its history with gun rights issues. Advocates want to spread observances to more states in the future.
The Second Amendment
Wording and Meaning
The Second Amendment to the 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.” This was adopted in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights. Advocates see the amendment as enshrining broad gun rights, while critics argue it only applied to militia service.
Interpretations and Debate
There is extensive debate over the wording and original intent of the Second Amendment. Some Constitutional scholars claim it was meant to protect state militias, not individual gun ownership. But gun rights groups strongly argue that it protects the natural right of people to have guns for self defense and to resist tyranny. This disagreement fuels the controversy over gun control laws.
Supreme Court Cases
In 2008, the Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller was a landmark case that affirmed an individual constitutional right to keep arms for self-defense in the home. This paved the way for state-level 2nd Amendment Day observances. But the scope of gun rights protections remains under dispute and subject to new legal challenges.
Oklahoma’s 2nd Amendment Day
Date and Reason for June 28
Oklahoma commemorates 2nd Amendment Day each year on June 28. This date was chosen because on June 28, 2010, the Supreme Court incorporated the Second Amendment’s protections to apply to state and local governments through the McDonald v. Chicago case. This victory for gun rights in Oklahoma prompted the creation of their 2nd Amendment Day.
Activities and Events
Typical 2nd Amendment Day activities in Oklahoma include public rallies, shooting competitions, essay contests, and exhibits about gun history and rights. Some events are staged at the state capitol in Oklahoma City. It is seen by gun rights groups as a day to celebrate freedom and constitutional liberties.
Pennsylvania’s 2nd Amendment Day
Date and History
In Pennsylvania, the state marks 2nd Amendment Day annually on the fourth Tuesday in May. This observance day was enacted in 2014 by House Resolution 676, which proclaimed that citizens have the right to bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property.
How It Is Observed
On the fourth Tuesday each May, citizens in Pennsylvania reflect on their Constitutional freedoms and right to keep and bear arms. Gun rights organizations often hold open carry rallies and speakers in support of broad 2nd Amendment rights. It is also a day to protest any legislation seen as infringing on gun ownership.
South Carolina and 2nd Amendment Day
Second Amendment Education Act
In South Carolina, the state legislature passed the Second Amendment Education Act in 2018. This law declared December 15 as Second Amendment Awareness Day. December 15 is the ratification date for the Bill of Rights in 1791.
Poster and Essay Contest
A key part of South Carolina’s observance is a Poster and Essay Contest for students in all grades. They are encouraged to submit entries on the theme of “The Right to Bear Arms, One American Right Protecting All Others.” This reflects the view that the right to bear arms is crucial to defending all liberties.
The Broader Gun Rights Debate
Views of Gun Rights Advocates
Supporters of broad gun rights see the 2nd Amendment as an absolute protection against all federal or state gun laws and restrictions. They argue that regulations disproportionately affect law-abiding citizens more than criminals. Any licenses, fees or bans are viewed as unconstitutional.
Views of Gun Control Advocates
Those supporting more gun regulations believe that public safety requires limits on weapons designed for mass killing and restrictions to keep guns away from dangerous people. They argue absolute gun rights are an extreme view at odds with reasonable safeguards.
Areas of Compromise?
While polarized, there are some areas of common ground in the gun debate, such as improving mental health services and keeping guns from high-risk individuals through due process. Overall, passions run high on both sides of the 2nd Amendment issue.
The Future of 2nd Amendment Day
Will More States Observe It?
Currently, three states officially commemorate a 2nd Amendment Day. But there are efforts by gun rights groups to convince more state legislatures to enact statewide observances. As public awareness grows, there may be more official adoption in conservative states in the coming years.
Evolving Public Opinions
American views on gun rights and gun control are constantly shifting and complex. Overall support for some firearm restrictions has grown in recent years. But legally protected gun rights remain popular with many citizens. As attitudes evolve on guns, the way 2nd Amendment Day is perceived may also change.
2nd Amendment Day was created to honor the right to bear arms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. While not without controversy, these state observances uphold America’s strong gun culture and heritage. Supporters see it as vital to defending liberty, while critics argue its original meaning is being distorted. This observance intersects with the divisive issue of gun regulation and the balance between rights and public safety. As the gun debate continues, 2nd Amendment Day provides a forum to recognize firearms as an indelible part of American history and identity.
What is the Second Amendment?
The Second Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution. It 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.”
When did 2nd Amendment Day start?
2nd Amendment Day originated in Oklahoma in 2010 after a key Supreme Court case affirmed individual gun rights under the Second Amendment. It has since spread to other pro-gun states.
What states observe a 2nd Amendment Day?
Currently, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina are the three states that have official commemorations for 2nd Amendment Day on varying dates.
What activities happen on 2nd Amendment Day?
Typical 2nd Amendment Day events include rallies, shooting competitions, poster/essay contests, and exhibits celebrating gun history and ownership rights.
Who supports 2nd Amendment Day?
2nd Amendment Day is promoted primarily by gun rights groups and firearm enthusiasts who want to bring awareness to the right to keep and bear arms.