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Argument: The individual right to arms is necessary to a well-regulated militia

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Within Mason's declaration of "the essential and unalienable Rights of the People," --George Mason, later adopted by the Virginia ratification convention, 1788 - "That the People have a right to keep and bear Arms; that a well regulated Militia, composed of the Body of the People, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe Defence of a free state."[1] It is notable that George Mason is considered the "Father of the Bill of Rights" (of which the 2nd amendment is a part), and that he wrote this declaration. In some senses, it is a much more appropriate expression of the intended meaning of the Second Amendment. The wording is absolutely critical in the sense that it clarifies, first and foremost, that there is an individual right to bear arms. And, it makes clear by ordering the clauses in the way that it does (the reverse of the second amendment), that the right of the people to bear arms is a prerequisite to the maintenance of a regulated militia.[2]

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