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How to Cite the Second Amendment in APA

by Kyle Whitney, Demand Media Google
    Sections of the U.S. Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, can be easily cited in APA style.

    Sections of the U.S. Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, can be easily cited in APA style.

    The U.S. Bill of Rights, passed into law in late 1791, made a number of revolutionary claims. Those first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution set the foundation for the United States, and the list wouldn't be complete without the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to keep and bear arms. For centuries, that amendment has been a hot-button issue, so don't be surprised if you need to cite it in APA style.

    Deference to the Bluebook

    While APA style includes rules for the citation of government publications, there is no specific entry for constitutions included in the sixth edition (second printing) of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. In this case, APA style defers to The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, which sets the bar for legal citations. The Bluebook is described as the nation's definitive legal citation style guide and is used by lawyers and judges, as well as scholars and law students.

    Making the Citation

    If you make a brief reference to the U.S. Constitution, there is no need to actually cite it. However, if you are using a specific section of the document, such as the Second Amendment, to back up your argument, you are required to cite it. According to the 19th edition of The Bluebook, all references to the U.S. Constitution should begin "U.S. Const." Following that, include the relevant section -- in this case, the Second Amendment, which would be identified as "amend. II."

    The Final Product

    Ultimately, your final citation will read like this: U.S. Const. amend. II. The reference is the same whether used as an in-text citation or in a reference list at the conclusion of the document.

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    About the Author

    First published in 2005, Kyle Whitney has covered news and sports in the Midwest, Washington, D.C., and Beijing. His articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines in Michigan and China. Whitney is currently a local government reporter at a daily paper.

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