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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.

The United States is in a fairly unique situation in the world, in which gun ownership is not only common but legally enshrined in a founding document. Guns are used for sport and hunting, as collectible items, for law enforcement and personal protection, but also frequently as tools for assault, homicides and mass murder, and suicide. Proponents of gun control seek to limit these latter negative impacts of guns by making purchases more restricted and deliberative, while advocates for gun ownership lean on the "shall not be infringed" phrasing to push back on those limits.

Finding Sources

General Concepts Specific Aspects Related Issues
Second Amendment Right to bear arms see also: state laws, ordinances
Racism and gun laws  
Gun control Licensing  
Background checks  
Gun-free zones  
Campus carry  
Concealed carry, open carry, permitless carry  
Types of guns, gun parts

Assault rifles, hunting rifles, handguns

Fully automatic, semi-automatic

Bump stocks

3D-printed guns


Gun shows

Private sales

Ghost guns

Storing guns

Gun safes


Gun violence Mass shootings  
School shootings

armed teachers

active shooter drills

clear backpack policies

gun-free zones

Suicides, homicides accidental deaths
Uses of Guns Self-defense

Stand Your Ground laws

Castle Doctrine



Target shooting

Collectibles Historical memorabilia
Violence, crime, warfare  


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About This Page

This page was originally developed by Elaine Patton.

First published: March 2024