Second Amendment Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan provides teachers with ideas for teaching students about the right to bear arms in the United States. Students will watch a video lesson and participate in a debate about rights and limitations to rights.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson students will be able to:

  • Describe the Second Amendment to the Constitution
  • Discuss limitations to the Second Amendment
  • Debate gun rights in relation to current events


This lesson will take approximately 45-90 minutes.

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.

Lesson Instructions

Materials needed: literature/posters from Never Again MSD and the National Rifle Association about gun control

Activate prior knowledge by completing the first two columns of a K-W-L chart with students to identify what students already know and what they want to know about the Second Amendment.

Watch The Right to Bear Arms: History, Pros & Cons. Pause at 1:00 to ask:

  • What does the Second Amendment state?
  • Why do you think the forefathers thought it was necessary to include the right to keep and bear arms in the Bill of Rights?

Continue watching the video. Pause at 3:02.

Have students create a 4-column chart. Have students label the columns with each of the following court cases: U.S. v. Cruikshank, U.S. v. Miller, District of Columbia v. Heller, and McDonald v. Chicago. Under each of the headings, have students write the year of the ruling and the outcome's effect on the interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Watch 'The Controversy Surrounding the Right' section. Pause at 4:38.

Divide students into small groups. Provide each group some materials published by Never Again MSD and the National Rifle Association about gun control. Have students discuss:

  • What is the goal of each of these organizations?
  • Why is the right to keep and bear arms controversial?
  • According to the court cases you have read about, which group do you think is correct? Why?
  • What additional aspects of the Second Amendment still need clarification?

Watch the remainder of the video with students.

Revisit the K-W-L chart with students. Complete the third column with what the students learned from these activities.

Use the printable worksheet to check for understanding.

Background Checks Debate

Materials needed: computer/internet access, gun control literature and propaganda

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