Department of Justice Memorandum Opinion For The Attorney General (August 24, 2004): Whether the Second Amendment secures a right of individuals generally, not a right of States or a right restricted to persons serving in militias.
“The Second Amendment of the Constitution provides: “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.” You have asked for the opinion of this Office on one aspect of the right secured by this Amendment. Specifically, you have asked us to address the question whether the right secured by the Second Amendment belongs only to the States, only to persons serving in state-organized militia units like the National Guard, or to individuals generally. This memorandum memorializes and expands upon advice that this Office provided to you on this question in 2001.”
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