Skip to Content

Support MinnPost

Community Voices features opinion pieces from a wide variety of authors and perspectives. (Submission Guidelines)

Where are the limits to the Second Amendment — and where should they be?

REUTERS/Joshua Lott
Does allowing people free access to any and all firearms with no limits live up to the spirit of promoting the security of a free state as expressed in the Second Amendment?

Text of the Second Amendment to the Constitution: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Randall W. Bachman
Randall W. Bachman

What are arms? When the Second Amendment was written it was to establish the right of the people to bear them. What were arms during this time? Single shot muskets. And maybe a few pistols. The Second Amendment was to guard against a power — foreign or domestic — overtaking the country. The country could be protected through a well regulated militia, which meant citizens who could be mustered to fight. Images of patriots rushing from their homes, muskets in hand to engage the enemy, are conjured. The well regulated militia part of the amendment is not one that gun-rights advocates underscore.

Also note the “being necessary to the security of a free State” part. From this we can conclude that the Founding Fathers thought that a well regulated militia, and giving people the right to bear arms, were in service to the security of the free state. We must ask, 226 years later, if our current gun laws, or lack of them, promote this security.

A lone wolf stockpiles dozens of high capacity rifles, crates of ammunition, and a bump stock that allows him to fire off multiple rounds machine-gun style, and fires into a crowd in Las Vegas, killing 58 and wounding over 500. Under current law, he had a right to stockpile as many weapons as desired, and buy a device that allowed him to turn a semi-automatic rifle into a machine gun. Under Nevada law he had a right to open carry them if he desired. If we define arms as any possible firearm, and anyone’s ability to possess unlimited quantities of them — including bump stocks, hundred-round clips, and other enhancements — then what are the limits? Or are there none? Does allowing people free access to any and all firearms with no limits live up to the spirit of promoting the security of a free state as expressed in the Second Amendment?

Some contend that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun. Somehow I don’t think this would have worked if you were in the crowd in Las Vegas. However, if the right to bear arms includes the right to carry a bazooka — and who says it doesn’t? — then if someone brought his bazooka to the concert perhaps he could have taken out the shooter by firing into his hotel room. I know. Innocents would have been killed, but every conflict has collateral damage.

I am a gun owner, a .22 my father bought for me when I was 11. We hunted rabbits. I am also a veteran, and a former National Guardsman. If during my service I was called to duty, I expected that the unit would furnish me with arms, and that I would not be expected to bring my .22. I was trained on an M-16. Now, if I wanted, I could go out and buy as many assault rifles as I could afford. But rather than stockpile all that firepower, maybe I’d be better off in my home arsenal with a bazooka. Time is of the essence before they pass some stupid law that would inhibit me from buying one. Ah, you say, there are already laws on the books that prohibit private citizens from owning a bazooka. Really? That must mean that there are some limits, and that a well regulated people can set them.

Randall Bachman is a retired health care administrator, a veteran, and a patriot who lives in Afton.

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you're interested in joining the discussion, add your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a letter or a longer-form Community Voices commentary. (For more information about Community Voices, see our Submission Guidelines.)

 

Get MinnPost's top stories in your inbox

Comments (39)

Leftists have always aimed to

Leftists have always aimed to disarm the public, and in fact it is first on the agenda whenever a totalitarian government takes power.

Here in America, it is no different. The left is itching to confiscate weapons, but because we do not have a totalitarian in power, not only have they been stymied, their agenda has been dealt a fatal wound with a pair of SCOTUS decisions that defined a militia as "the people" and defined weapons that may be borne as "those in common use".

When the Constitution was signed, the 2nd amendment referred to muskets and pistols, we are always reminded...however, always left unsaid is they were the state of the art in military arms in the 18th century.

Undeterred, no discussion with a leftist can be had without bringing up their thoroughly destroyed militia complaint, and of course "where's my bazooka", or tank, or nuclear bomb. It's an excersize in futility to explain the facts, no one wants to hear them.

The 2nd amendment is not a right without limits, on that we all agree. But the SCOTUS has weighed in; modular rifles are in common use, they are not going anywhere and a militia refers to me and you.

Of course there will be attempts to chew around the edges; limited magazine capacities and such, but everyone knows the aim is not safety, but control, and outside leftist strongholds they go no where.

If the left were really concerned about gun violence, we might have read alarming stories of Chicago reaching it's 500th casualty for 2017, and we have 3 months to go...but that might lead to uncomfortable questions that don't serve the left's agenda, so....crickets.

So let me leave you with this one, rock solid fact.

The only way Americans will ever be disarmed will be after the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution is repealed. Anything else is just more pie in the sky.

So, get to work and good luck with that.

So where is the "well

So where is the "well regulated Militia" in your world-view?

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Dude, I said it twice. A well

Dude, I said it twice. A well regulated militia is me and you; the people. So say I and so says the SCOTUS.

Huh ?

"A well regulated militia is me and you" - Huh ? You mean the Founding Fathers intended for regulation to be passed by "me and you" . Really ? The SCOTUS hasn't said so either.

Legally moot since 2008.

Legally moot since 2008.

Really ?

You mean the Supreme Court changed the Constitution and removed "well regulated" ? Really ?

How wonderful omniscience must be.

How wonderful omniscience must be, to be able to know at all time what all men and women think, feel, and hope to accomplish. It seems to have gone astray, however, since I have no desire whatsoever to take away your arms or persuade anyone to do so by resorting to argumentum ad absurdum.

All I ask is that unarmed civilians be given a chance, not even a fighting chance but a chance to avoid slaughter. I propose we do that not by focusing on the labels attached to weapons (e.g., assault rifles) but by discussing the functional features which permit easy concealment, mass slaughter, and the murder of law enforcement personnel. These might include folding stocks, barrels of less than a specified length, magazines of unnecessary capacity (think 100 or 300 rounds), weapons capable of massive rates of fire and devices which can convert rapid fire semi-automatic weapons to the functional equivalent of fully automatic weapons.

I'm also concerned with the number of family members and children killed by the use of unsecured or constantly loaded and readily accessible weapons.

Addressing these concerns in any fashion will not eliminate mass murder, spousal homicide, or the tragic deaths of children who play with loaded weapons. We can reduce the number of victims in mass shootings, by giving targets additional time to drop to the ground, round a corner, or even, as some would have it, return fire. Trigger locks or safes can give family members the instant needed to think twice about reaching into a nightstand for a weapon to use against a spouse or other family member, or give the family member time to flee. They also can prevent children from killing themselves or others.

No law will ever be obeyed by all. No proposal will prevent all gun deaths. That doesn't mean that we should not try to reduce the toll or that we cannot reduce the toll without seizing and destroying every firearm.

No one should fear the effort.

My arguement is not fueled

My arguement is not fueled with any sense of omniscience; I am armed with the facts, to wit, you say:

These might include folding stocks, barrels of less than a specified length...

Folding stocks, in fact, are a detriment to accuracy. No sniper would have one. Barrel length is already codified in federal law, as is the overall length of the weapon. Weapons with barrels less than 16 in or overall length of less than 26 in are restricted as Class III firearms, with the enough requirements for ownership to sooth the soul of any gun hating leftist.

You continue; "magazines of unnecessary capacity (think 100 or 300 rounds)"

There are no 300 round magazines. Even geniune military heavy machine guns are fed with 200 round belts. 100 round drum magazines available to the malitia (see what I did there?) are notoriously unreliable. They are just as likely to stop a prolonged shooting spree as keep one going. If that were not the case, the military would have them, right?

"weapons capable of massive rates of fire and devices which can convert rapid fire semi-automatic weapons to the functional equivalent of fully automatic weapons."

Ive addressed this elsewhere, but bump stocks are a fools device. Restrained to the farm pasture, they provide giggles; used on an offensive weapon they are useless. Anyone with any level of training could hit more targets with a straight up semi-auto of good manufacture.

Fully automatic rifles are covered under the National Firearms Act, and the only people in possession of one that is not fully documented by the FBI and AFT are South American drug lords and international mercinaries.

Finally:

"I'm also concerned with the number of family members and children killed by the use of unsecured or constantly loaded and readily accessible weapons."

Worry about your own. If we all observed that simple rule, life would be so much better.

"Bump stocks are a fools device

I guess we can put that on the tombstones of the 58 who were killed.

This "leftist"

is a long time owner and shooter of multiple weapons. I must have missed that meeting.

What meeting? Im referring to

What meeting? Im referring to Supreme Court decisions.

Here, read all about it, from a reliably leftist source:

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2008/06/27/washington/27scotuscnd.html

The meeting

where all "leftists" decided to confiscate weapons. Dude, I really don't care if you want to engage in alarmist hyperbole, but don't feign ignorance when confronted by reality.

When I’m not at the kitchen table

plotting my totalitarian gun confiscation, I’m just trying to fathom what makes folks so terrified of the actual world and actual people that they descend into a hermetic fantasy world centered on an obsessive object fetishism, all in the service of an authoritarianism that stands against everything they purport heroically to stand for.

Leftists?

The responder makes an assumption about my political leanings. Whether my leanings are left, right, or otherwise is beside the point. He also apparently assumes that I advocate for the repeal of the 2nd Amendment. I do not. I am advocating for a reasonable interpretation of the amendment. The point I am making is that there are limits. He agrees:

"the 2nd amendment is not a right without limits, on that we all agree."

So I go back to my basic point: What are those limits? How would he describe them?

Regarding the violence in Chicago, I too am equally concerned. Not sure what this has to do with a "leftist agenda". Again I ask what is the solution?

"What are those limits? How

"What are those limits? How would he describe them?"

I think the interpretation in place is fine. It allows states to tinker with the unimportant bits and pieces to mollify their constituents, denies felons the right and allows law abiding folks to make their own decisions.

"Regarding the violence in Chicago, I too am equally concerned. Not sure what this has to do with a "leftist agenda". Again I ask what is the solution?"

First of all, I'd legalize drugs. The gangsters would migrate to something else, of course, but nothing is as lucrative. Authorities can't keep drugs out of high security prisons, why we think we can ever do it in an open society is a mystery to me.

I'd start a long term campaign to make feckless parenting a source of shame, it worked for cigarettes, and remove kids from homes that are raising criminals.

Finally, I'd allow the feds to conduct an intensive round-up and give the courts a mandate to make the consequence of a conviction for illegally possessing a firearm a long prison term.

By the time one of those thugs shoots his first rival, society will have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in educatiin and support programs. If we must spend hundreds of thousands more on them, lets make sure it keeps them from harming their communities any further.

Chicago

Why do we never hear conservatives talk about places like Birmingham, Alabama or Jackson, Mississippi or Baton Rouge, Louisiana that have higher murder rates than Chicago?

Nicely written, Mr. Bachman!

I think that as the decades fly by and civilizations progress, it would seem to me that common sense should rule. You are so right - how could our Founding Fathers have foreseen such a mass shooting such as the tragedy that unfolded in Las Vegas recently, and not so recently, the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary?

I'm not sure how to close "Pandora's box", but I do know something needs to be done. What and how, I am unclear on, but I hope that our legislators can see more clearly and find a way to allow U. S. citizens to still be able to bear arms, but not necessarily weapons of mass destruction. A return to good old-fashioned values seems to be in order. In the Bible we read where Israel won great victories under the Lord's command in stories from the Old Testament - and they had no guns at all. I know many will find my last statement foolish, but we are a nation under God - or at least we used to be. Most folks do not acknowledge God anymore, and thus, millions of the population grow more and more paranoid, and seek their own collection of fire arms so that they can sleep soundly at night.

Personal gun ownership: recently decided and limited

The Second Amendment was intended to allow states to maintain their own militias as a hedge against a tyrannical Federal Government. These weren’t National Guard units, because the Federal Government did not control them. And they no longer exist.

Over the next 200+ years, the Supreme Court had several opportunities to expand the interpretation of the Second Amendment to include personal ownership of firearms, but they declined to do so until 2008, just 9 years ago, when they ruled on the Constitutionality of a Washington DC ban on handguns. They ruled the ban unconstitutional by the usual 5-4 party line vote. (Anybody who thinks that the Supreme Court is apolitical needs to read more.) So it was a very narrow majority of just a single vote.

Even then, arch-conservative Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority:

“We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller (an earlier case) said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time”. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons.’ ”

I would certainly characterize an assault rifle modified to act like a machine gun as a “dangerous and unusual weapon”.

http://bigthink.com/risk-reason-and-reality/the-supreme-court-ruling-on-...

Is it a matter of Insurance to cover damage?

It is not that money would have any value to the people recently killed by gunfire but it might limit the ability to purchase so many guns. When buying a car, one has to show proof of insurance. We don't restrict how many you can have or what kind you can have but insurance has a lot of impact on what you can afford. When I was 16, a Corvette cost about $4000 but insurance for a 16 year old was also about $4000 per year. Most of us young guys could not afford it. A friend who had one sold it to an "older Guy" in his 40s who only had to pay $1200 per year. Why was my friends insurance so high? Because the statistics showed that this kind of car in the hands of a young male driver was more likely to cause trouble. Not my friend who drove his within the limits, but the insurance pool said it was guys like him who crashed them and caused damage. The older guy was less of a risk because people in his pool were better drivers statistically. Why not require insurance on guns for liability? Certain people who had violations would automatically pay for their past errors and those in certain pools where risk occurs would pay higher rates also for each gun. If you live in a neighborhood where there is a high level of crime, you may want a gun but it also is at greater risk of theft and it probably stands a better chance of being used. You still want the gun but it costs you more for insurance. Young Men would pay more, actually all men would pay more. Women have higher levels of mental issues but you don't see women killing that many people, statistically speaking, so they would pay less.. Men, Young Men, Inner City Men, these are all well established patterns. Men in the country where Hunting is a a bigger reason to own guns would pay less. But just like the Corvette, certain guns would have higher premiums. A .22 caliber revolver can hurt 6 people, a .45 with a clip can do more damage and will cost more to insure. An AK or AR 15 will have higher rates then a single barrelled shot gun with out a clip. We control so much with money, why not with guns? No one could afford the insurance on 10 Automatic weapons. Plus if there was insurance at least a victim may get some help in paying for medical bills. Yes I get criminals drive cars with out insurance but we still have laws stating you have to have it and you can be arrested if you don't.

No insurer covers intentional

No insurer covers intentional acts by the isured. Accidental firearm deaths account for fewer than 2% of all firearms deaths annually.

Wrong approach

I am a gun owner. While I support stricter standards to gun ownership, unfortunately this one doesn't pass muster. When I hunt, I don't use a .22 caliber rifle. I use a larger caliber so that the game isn't merely injured or ticked off when shot. .22 caliber is useful for varmints--most of which really don't need to be shot, and yet it's large enough to do some real damage (and cause death) to people, especially if you have enough bullets. Most commonly available "assault" style rifles are in the mid-caliber range useful for larger game, like deer. So, how do you propose you should sift out the "dangerous" weapons from the hunting rifles? It's really not that clear. Nor are a lot of other "risk" factors. Plus, insurance companies charge premiums based on the risk of them paying out. No insurance company is going to make any bets on paying out on a murder, so I have my doubts they want to dirty their hands in trying to determine risk pools.

Honestly, there are 3 things that will need to be done to de-escalate the gun crisis in this country (yep, it's a gun crisis, guys). The first two must be done at one time and can't be decoupled.

1. Massive gun buyback. There are currently at least as many guns in this country as their are people-including infants. That's just plain ridiculous. Buy them back and save some dough on the cost of prisons, medical care, police, and lost worker time caused by gun violence.

2. Uniform and universal gun registry, with gun signatures included. Don't get all paranoid on me. If you were worried about the government taking your guns from you, that would have already happened. The government's tanks and bombs will be pretty much impervious to whatever you own. If guns were going to be taken from you, it would have happened door-to-door with military strength behind it. Now, on to the benefits. A uniform and universal gun registry will ensure that every gun is with its rightful owner. Yes, we already have laws on the books supposed to keep guns out of the hands of the criminally dangerous. Yet, somehow good ol' Joe Schmoe isn't required to give a rip about whether criminally dangerous John Doe is the guy who buys his gun. Maybe Joe Schmoe will actually put his money where his mouth is when he's ranting about all the gun crime in Chicago by ensuring that the gun registered in his name isn't sold to criminally dangerous John Doe, cuz if it is, he's liable when a crime is committed with that gun. The gun signature will tell us who really should have had that gun and who should be liable for that crime.

3. Limit magazine size. There is absolutely no need for large magazines. If you're hunting and you need more than 10 rounds in your gun to be successful, you probably shouldn't be hunting. If you need more than 10 rounds in your gun to "protect yourself", please consider that your 10th shot is probably at least 7 or 8 shots too late to be of any use. And if you need to take out more than 10 people at a time, you've got worse problems.

The right of Americans to

The right of Americans to live and work without constant threat of someone shooting them must be considered by all Second Amendment purists who buy the recent NRA line that "the government is coming to get your guns." It's not.

That's the right of all the rest of us that gun enthusiasts ignore. Always. We must reassert our right to life and peace.

We can, therefore, eliminate the exaggerations the NRA has put into the discussion (to get more people fearfully buying guns), and we can begin to rationally eat away at the edges of gun controls:

on the size of magazines, the prohibition of ownership of semi-autormatic weapons and removing the grandfather clauses that permit historical ownership of automatic rifles, strictly limiting who can go around in public secretly or openly carrying a loaded gun, and a whole number of other restrictions that DO NOT limit the sportsman from owning a hunting rifle or even a hand gun (maybe: I'm not convinced that anyone needs a handgun).

I wish that the fear-ridden gun enthusiasts would realize how their fear is terrorizing all the rest of us, actually massacring tens of thousands of us. Please take a big breath and calm down, so we can talk about this.

"The right of Americans to

"The right of Americans to live and work without constant threat of someone shooting them must be considered by all Second Amendment purists...".

There is no such right.

Yes there is

In the words "well regulated". What do you think the Founders meant ?

Great article

Self protection is a myth. Are children protected when their parents carry around guns or store them where a children can find them? No, they are unprotected from adult stupidity. Was the crowd in Las Vegas able to defend it from a white terrorist who society had regarded as having the right to stockpile enough guns and ammunition to shoot his way into the history books? Hardly.

No it is more like in the Old West when a gun slinger challenged someone not good with a gun - or shot them in the back. Towns made people turn in their guns - that was law and order. What conservatives want is to bring back a history that never existed for some sort of tough eye ego trip.

You got your gun - don't expect an arsenal and if you don't have a good reason for having a gun, and bad uses in mind, give it up. 78% of Americans don't have guns and more than 80% favor regulation. Deal with it!

"You got your gun - don't

"You got your gun - don't expect an arsenal and if you don't have a good reason for having a gun.."

I don't need to have a reason, don't need explain, don't need to discuss anything. My right to own firearms, and as many firearms as I want, are just as secure and inviolable as my right to vote.

"and bad uses in mind, give it up"

We don't prosecute wrong think yet. Sorry.

Your right to vote?

Are there any, I mean ANY, limitations on the right to vote that you favor?

I know, it seems like a trick question. ;)

Expect the repeal of the second amendment.

There is only so much lunacy the American people can take. Justice will win out. We expect a cure, not a patch, to this industry related lawlessness. Ultimately the second amendment will be repealed. I have no doubt whatsoever.

Here's what you need to

Here's what you need to do:

Write an amendment to be proposed by Congress.
Secure two-thirds majority support for the amendment.
Introduce a joint resolution to propose the amendment.
Debate the resolution.
Pass a joint resolution in Congress.

Keep in mind, while you're repealing the 2nd amendment, there is nothin to stop others from proposing others to be debated, like a right to life for unborn kids.

Also, the last amendment to pass, the 27th, which "prohibits any law that increases or decreases the salary of members of Congress from taking effect until the start of the next set of terms of office for Representatives" took 202 years to pass...and *everyone* hates Congress.

So there ya go....knock yourself out!

Keep it up!

These mass shootings followed by the predictable buying binge that follows them along with the callous attitudes of the 2nd amendment people are pushing us toward critical mass in this country. Soon the only solution left that makes any sense will be the steps you've outlined above. Thanks!

I agree with the author –

I agree with the author – bazookas are banned and so can be high power semi-automatic weapons… However, as I pointed out in another piece comment, that may prevent a tiny percentage of gun deaths in America. What should be done about hundreds if not thousands of gun deaths on the streets of Chicago and Baltimore, where practically all guns are illegal anyway, is a real problem.

Where are the limits of the Second Amendment?

The limits are the same as any other enumerated right.

1. Other than citizenship and age, there can be no prerequisites, including training, fees, licensing schemes, or registration.

2. As an enumerated right, any regulation must meet enhanced judicial scrutiny. The government has the burden of evidencing an important or compelling public interest, must prove the proposed regulation effects that public interest, and the regulation must be narrowly tailored to have minimal impact on the right.

3. As with libel and slander as applied to free speech, the right to keep and near arms does not protect behavior which causes damage to persons or property.

The general point is that laws do not deter criminal activity. Some of you mistakenly believe that making something illegal stops that activity. It doesn't. Laws codify crimes and assign punishment. That's it.

Pure fiction

You totally sidestep the words "well regulated" and come up with your own make believe Constitution.

1. No prerequisites. Not according to the words "well regulated".
2. Judicial Scrutiny. Sure as long as the judge reads the words "well regulated"
3." As with libel and slander as applied to free speech," - But you omit the "Fire in a crowded theatre standard".

Yes laws do deter criminal activity. Making insider trading illegal deters illegal stock trading. Making gun show loopholes illegal deters people from selling to gang bangers who then take them to cities like Chicago. Lets not pretend that people don't use these loopholes to sell guns to criminals.

I think the reality is...

that underneath and hidden from conversation is the fact that tied to the second amendments reinterpretation regarding the right to bear arms of a militia is the production issue.. The capitalist gun industry now has the protection to produce as many guns and as many variety of guns as they like. This unreasonable possibility extends to no other amendment as others have pointed out. Let’s see some statistics on gun production and economic gain of the producers world wide.

No law is going to stop the lawless.

Being a gun owner and taught gun safety by my father in 1960, I understand guns are a tool. It always amazes me when I run into folks who have never held a gun ask me “is that gun dangerous”? The gun is not dangerous, it is the person holding the gun which is dangerous. Whether it is a child who has no idea what a gun can do, a mad man who doesn’t care what a gun can do or a criminal using his gun to intimidate, it is always the person, not the gun that is dangerous. No law stops folks who don’t care about laws. Maybe we should look at changing a culture that seems to breed a lack of empathy, nothing is my fault, separating everyone from another through identity politics, your failures are not your fault it is something bigger than you keeping you down. All these things breed a sense of hopelessness. You have to be totally hopeless to use a gun to kill an innocent person. The gun didn’t make that lunatic in Vegas shoot innocent people, his warped mind did.

So:

Are you saying unless we have perfect solution, do nothing?
PS: The guns really did help his warped mind execute those folks, no guns, surprise he would have had to stare them to death, suspect he'd still be up there staring.
PSS: Also had NRA training in the 60's, it was about marksmanship and safety, we had no problem having all those rifles safely locked up when we left the range.

Always the person not the gun? I guess if those toddlers were" totally hopeless" or had missed their gun safety class!
http://www.snopes.com/toddlers-killed-americans-terrorists/

No as I said with children it is they don’t

understand what a gun can do and should not be playing with them. No guns, no shooting seems to be your rationale. Please explain to me how you are going to get criminals or mentally disturbed people from getting black market guns when you eliminate all guns from the the law abiding folks? There is not a law you can pass that will keep the lawless from getting guns. A gun is a tool, it is not dangerous by itself, the person holding gun determines how it will be used. The Lefties seem to think if you eliminate guns (never going to happen) that the lawless will say “oh, guns are bad, I won’t get one”, Pollyanna thinking at its finest.

Simple

Its called the laws of probability, If you reduce the qty in the environment, the probability of someone getting one or using one is reduced. Haven't you read any of these other posters? The death rate from guns is lower in other industrialized countries, That data has been on MinnPost at least 1/2 dozen times, and recently. So answer the question, if there are no guns available in the environment, where are these evil folks going to get guns from? Or is probability fake math?

PS: Your logic, "There is not a law you can pass that will keep the lawless from getting guns"
Seems to suggest: Criminals have easy access to sub-machine guns, as well as 50 Caliber machine guns etc. even though they are illegal, as well as RPG's, grenades, etc.etc. fundamentally, not only restrictions don't work, they don't even slow the flow! So I guess the conclusion is why have any laws on anything since, by your logic, they don't work anyway!

Two huge historical myths

As always whenever the topic is breached two huge historical myths emerge.

1) The militias referred to in the Second Amendment were meant to protect citizens from the federal government.

2) The individual "right" to own guns is/was a function of militia participation, i.e. "Grab your gun and meet at the football field, we're going to fight off an invasion".

The first myth, the idea that militias were some of guarantee against a tyrannical federal government of the future is pure fantasy. The US Constitution specifically and explicitly defines any violent or armed assault on the government as treason, and in fact, whenever anyone has attempted such a rebellion it has been crushed. The two best examples would be the Whiskey Rebellion, which many of the framers participated in suppressing, and the Civil War.

The idea that the framers would even try to put some kind of armed rebellion safe guard into the Constitution is simply bizarre. For one thing most of the framers didn't believe in armed insurrection as a matter of principle (oddly enough, many framers didn't see our revolution as an actual "insurrection").

The guys who wrote the constitution weren't idiots. Should any government anywhere become tyrannical and unbearable, people would hardly need or seek any kind of Constitutional permission to rebel. If and when things get bad enough for people to organize an armed rebellion, the Constitution become irrelevant, whether it has a Second Amendment or not. It's not like: "Well, we WERE going to take up arms against the tyrannical government but the Constitution doesn't say we can do that, so I guess we're stuck with King Trump... oh well."

Finally the Constitution actually puts both US Military AND the state militias under the US Presidents command if and when state militias are brought into service. If the militias are there to overthrow the president, why would the framers put those militias under the command of the president?

The truth is that the author of the Second Amendment didn't think the Amendment was even necessary. James Madison (A Federalist) wrote Second Amendment in order to satisfy slave state concerns that an abolitionist controlled federal government of the future wouldn't try to disarm the militias slave states formed to put down slave rebellions. You can find a complete description of this history by the Professor of Law Carl T. Bogus here: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1465114##

The second notion, that gun possession and ownership was/is a function of militia membership, is likewise absurd. This kind of militia, one where every able bodied "man" shows up with their personal weapons when called, is a "universal" militia. The template for such militias is the "minutemen" of the American Revolution. Here's the problems with that whole thing:

A) The minutemen failed as a military force and had to be replaced by professional French and trained American soldiers. Framers had had to create the professional Continental Army in order to win the war because the "militia men" couldn't possibly win the war. Again, the framers weren't idiots, having just fought and won the American Revolution, they wouldn't rely a military program they knew had failed to defend the nation. The United States had a standing professional Army and Navy, that's who fought the War of 1812... not state militias.

B) As a practical matter of fact "universal" militias are militarily absurd. Any effective fighting force of any size must have standardized equipment for a variety of reasons, hence the "well organized" reference. This is why armories (Like the one John Brown attacked in Harper's Ferry) were built in cities in every state all over the country. The armories were the "keeps" as in the "keep" part of the Amendment. "Keep" didn't refer to having a gun in your closet, it referred to an organized effort to acquire, maintain, and store appropriate military weaponry. State militias didn't train with weapons they took out of their closets, they trained with weapons issued from the armories where they were properly stored and maintained. Military weaponry is standardized for a variety of obvious reasons, for instance how would you supply sufficient ammunition to a thousands of troops who show up with whatever guns they happen to have sitting in their homes? The irony is that once "guns" become primary infantry weapons around the 13th century, universal the whole concept universal militias as effective military forces becomes obsolete. If anyone had any doubts the Minutemen of the American Revolution was the last nail in coffin of universal militias. The idea that the Madison had such militias in mind when he wrote the Second Amendment is simply absurd.

Gary Will wrote a very comprehensive discussion of this concept of militias and the relevant language regarding "keeping" and "bearing" arms back in 1995:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1995/09/21/to-keep-and-bear-arms/

Finally, yes Scalia et al re-wrote the Second Amendment when they issued their ruling in Columbia V. Heller. The problem is Scalia was a intellectual hack who cooked up all kinds of mumbo jumbo about "natural rights" and historical myths. It may take decades but that ruling will not stand the test the of time, it doesn't even pass a basic historical sniff test today. I discuss this at length on my blog: http://pudstrand.fatcow.com/blog/?p=599

I have an entire series about this issue on my blog (and no, I don't have any sponsors so I'm not trying to drive traffic and make money). You can explore the whole series if you'd like here: http://pudstrand.fatcow.com/blog/?s=off+the+rails