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The Second Amendment

The Right To Bear Arms: A History

The Alcatraz East Crime Museum will be opening “The Second Amendment” on Friday, October 5, 2018. The exhibit will be open for one year, giving visitors the opportunity to learn about laws that shaped this amendment and see some rare firearms on display. NRA Museum

Alcatraz East Crime Museum has partnered with the National Rifle Association Museums, which includes the National Firearms Museum located in Fairfax, Virginia, which have generously loaned the special firearms in this exhibit.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, part of first 10 amendments known collectively as the Bill of Rights, is one of the most well-known legal principles in the world. Since it was ratified in 1791, many other laws and court cases have fleshed out the Amendment and established legal frameworks for its interpretation and implementation. Visitors will learn about significant court cases that shaped how the Second Amendment fits into the distinctly American laws we have today. This temporary exhibit traces firearm evolution, along with the pivotal moments behind the “right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

This exhibit includes nearly two dozen artifacts that show the progression of firearms, from a 15th century matchlock carbine to the most popular firearms of today. There are also pieces that have become synonymous with America itself, such as the American Long Rifle, and the iconic manufacturers Winchester, Colt, and Smith & Wesson. The exhibit will also display a Spencer carbine, a repeating long gun from the Civil War, invented in 1860, and an especially rare Porter Turret rifle, unusual for its revolving chambers pointing outwards like spokes on a wheel.

Also on display:

DWM Borchardt C93
DWM Borchardt C93
Manton Percussion Pocket Pistol
Manton Percussion Pocket Pistol
Colt Single Action Revolver
Colt Single Action Revolver

See Press Release: Bearing Arms at Alcatraz East Crime Museum


Alcatraz East hosts temporary exhibits, in partnership with outside organizations, related to crime and law enforcement topics.

If your organization is interested in proposing a temporary exhibit, please email

Learn More About Our Other Temporary Exhibits

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