Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights found by the U.S. Supreme Court, in District of Columbia v. Heller (June 26, 2008), to protect the pre-existing individual right to possess and carry weapons (i.e., "keep and bear arms") in case of confrontation. Codification of the right to keep and bear arms into the Bill of Rights was influenced by a fear that the federal government would disarm the people in order to impose rule through a standing army or select militia, since history had shown taking away the people's arms and making it an offense for people to keep them was the way tyrants eliminated resistance to suppression of political opponents. Also in Heller, the Supreme Court ruled self-defense to be a central component of the right.
Before the Heller decision, there was much disagreement as to whether it protected a collective right or an individual right, because the amendment contains a prefatory clause that refers to a "well regulated militia". Previously, the Supreme Court had not directly addressed the amendment, or had only done so in limited or ambiguous terms.
A minority have argued that because the District of Columbia, which is not a state, was the only government involved in Heller, uncertainty remains concerning whether the Second Amendment applies to state and local jurisdictions by way of incorporation through the Fourteenth Amendment. However, the Court's unambiguous declaration that the right to bear arms is an individual privilege, taken with the Fourteenth Amendment's clear stricture that, "[n]o State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States," appears to conclusively support incorporation