This amendment establishes a right which has lower priority than the First Amendment, both of which have lower priority than both the Declaration of Independence and the preamble to the Constitution.
Almost no one remembers the full text of the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment: "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."
When this was written, almost every able-bodied citizen
was part of the "militia". Their weapons were also their
survival tools - as hunters to bring meat to the table. The
"militia" was called together for meetings and practice, and
they brought their own weapons, most being skilled marksmen
with the weapons of the time. The militia was called to arms
as needed, and everyone came from their homes, bringing
their own weapons.
The equivalent situation for today's culture would be
having everyone belong to the National guard in every state,
and keeping themselves thoroughly trained in the use of and
the rules of use and safety for the weapons, but the
military class weapons would not be kept in homes.
We created the government and charged it with "providing
for the common defense", which as time goes by, also becomes
protecting us from ourselves, for which we instituted police
forces and codified rules of behavior while growing from a
scattered wilderness of homesteaders towards a "civilization".
The "state" has a vested interest in providing for the
common welfare and defense. It must take action to minimize the
damage we can, without thinking, do to each other.
More than 90% of the population favor gun safety regulations, but a
tiny percentage of the extreme rich have blocked the passage of
such safety measures. In the Colonial days the weapons were
simple, and the culture had achieved a mature understanding
of safety as well as non-interference with each other. The
guns were handled by people, including children, thoroughly
schooled in safety as well as in their use for hunting. They
were brought forth en mass when the militia was called to
arms for whatever reason. Each brought his own weapon from
his own home. (no need for "his or her" in those days).
By now weapons have evolved into classes for hunting,
personal protection, and to stop (kill) aggressive humans.
Because of the introductory clause, "A well regulated
Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State", and the evolution of weapons
the third class of modern weapons is not, and never was, a part of the right
to bear arms. Yes, we can preserve the heritage of hunting,
provided citizens exhibit the mature responsibility that was
the order of the day in Colonial times. Unfortunately, the
culture has also evolved, and that past daily familiarity from
childhood, and the mature sense of safety developed therefrom, is not a part of the
modern culture. And, the state has a major interest in
"preserving its citizens' safety", consequently
regulations and laws requiring our modern citizens to behave
in way that would have been second nature or unnecessary in
Of course you have the right to bear arms, provide you
exercise your full responsibility to protect your fellow
citizens, and you belong to the "militia" (National Guard).
I served my time in the modern "militia", and I had access
to weapons assigned to me. Of course, I did not take them
home, except when I was on duty, and had to go there in the
line of duty. But I never needed to use one to feed my
family or myself. Because of today's culture, the vast
majority of our citizens do not develop the mature
responsibility for everyday use and handling of firearms,
the experience of which makes the use against a person
unthinkable outside of actual "war".
"The right to bear and keep arms may not be infringed"
does not mean that people can have any arms they choose. As
long as there are some arms available and the person is
allowed to have some arms their right to keep is not
infringed. But this does not mean that they have a right to
have all possible kinds of arms, or that they can handle
their arms irresponsibly.
They have a right to have arms, but not every kind of
arm. They have a right to keep arms, but only with full
mature responsibility, the requirements for which must be
dictated by the state in order to provide for the common
defense, the general welfare, and the safety of all. It
should be we, the 90%, who want this safety.