Due to the number of murders caused by guns, many in the United States wish to see the Second Amendment destroyed. To them, they do not see why the common person needs to have a gun in a world where the public is protected by police and the army. In reality, the Second Amendment is one of the most important Amendments in the 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.” Though it can be translated into several different ways, it is believed by majority to mean that the common person has a right to own weapons for self-defense. Though the current American government was designed to protect the rights of its citizens, there was a time when Americans were forced to fight for their rights against the king who once protected them.
After numerous wars with its European neighbors, Great Britain needed money and began raising taxes in North America. The Townshend Acts were imposed on 1767; items being imported into the colonies were now taxed. The Americans became enraged that they could not represent themselves and began boycotting the Acts. The leaders asked the king for more protection from the colonists and in 1768, more British troops arrived in Boston. After the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party, Parliament enacted the Intolerable Acts to punish the colonies, especially Massachusetts. In 1774, it abolished the provincial government of Massachusetts. On September 1774, the British removed gunpowder and other military supplies; to the colonists, this meant that the British were preparing to go to war with the defenseless colonists.
In 1775, it became known among the rebels that the British were heading to Concord to seize and destroy more military supplies. Concord secretly divided the supplies among near-by towns. On April 18, British troops embarked from boats in Boston and prepared to head to Concord to destroy the supplies and capture Sam Adams and John Hancock, the leaders of the rebels. Paul Revere and William Dawes were sent to warn the towns though only Samuel Prescott, a rebel that met along the way, made it to Concord. At Lexington, 80 militiamen led by Captain John Parker, met British Major John Pitcairn and the 700 British troops. “Stand your ground; don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here” said Parker. Pitcairn demanded the troops lay down their arms but before the colonists could, a shot was fired. The colonists retreated after the quick scuffle – eight colonists were killed.
When the British arrived in Concord they found out that most of the supplies were gone. They decided to burn the small amount of supplies they found but the militiamen hurried to Concord’s North Bridge because they believed the whole town was being burned. These militiamen consisted of men from nearby towns (even from Connecticut) were known as “minute men” for their ability to get ready for a fight on a moment’s notice. Though the British fired first, it was they who ended up retreating. As many as 3,500 militiamen fired constantly for 18 miles, killing 250 redcoats. This was proof that the colonists could stand up to the most powerful army in the world.
When the United States Constitution was adopted on December 15, 1791, the Founding Fathers still remembered how the British were able to take over a town because the colonists could not defend themselves. They wanted to make sure that the common person would be ready to go to war in case the United States was ever under attacked. The Second Amendment was designed to ensure that if any enemy, including the government, threatened the American citizens, the citizens would be able to protect themselves.
Battles of Lexington and Concord History Channel
Bill of Rights History Channel