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.
It's one simple sentence, but I guess there are too many commas, leading to an eternal debate of the exact meaning of the relationship between the former two clauses and latter two clauses. Specifically, does this mean that people have the right to bear arms within the context of a militia supporting a free state or can they own guns at home for whatever reason they want? I.e. a collective vs. an individual right.
A predominant or maybe even the dominant interpretation within the courts for a while was that it's actually about a state's right to have a militia. Digging through the wiki, I thought it was interesting that this led one judge to conclude that citizens in the District of Columbia don't have second amendment rights since the DoC is not a state. If you're familiar with the history, it wasn't until 2008 that the Supreme Court held that the 2nd amendment protected an "individual" right to bear arms, and even this was a narrow 5-4 decision.
Bla bla bla, you probably already know all this.
Anyways, the conservative reading of this has always seemed more...intuitive. Like, if I didn't know anything about the topic, that's how I would interpret the sentence. Does anyone feel that the opposite interpretation is more natural? I'd be especially curious about your thoughts. It continues that both sides will say that if the amendment meant what the other side intended, then it was worded very poorly.
One part that strikes me is that it says the right "shall not be infringed." This follows the language of the Declaration of Independence and other amendments in that the law doesn't grant you this right. The meaning is that this is a right that you have by default, "endowed" by god, and the purpose of the amendment is to prevent the government from taking that right. This doesn't make sense to me if it was intended for militias.
That also gets into the debate concerning what is a militia. Is a militia such a formal thing? My understanding was that at the time of the American Revolution, groups of citizens/farmers would just bring their guns from home, meet in a field outside of town, and call themselves a militia. Or is that a false narrative? If private citizens are banned from owning guns, then in order to have a large number of people with guns, legally, a state has to formally create a militia, then give private citizens guns after they join. Within the context of the American revolution, this doesn't make sense to me.
The point of this is that almost everyone interprets the second amendment how they want to interpret it, and almost no one says I agree with your interpretation; I think it should be changed (not even gonna get into courts legislating via interpretation). It's clearly because the Bill of Rights is considered sacred in America, including the second amendment, and people generally don't want to touch it with a ten foot pole. Anyone who suggested it would be tarred and feathered. But that is what I am saying now. And I say that even though I don't have a super strong opinion on gun rights. I don't support completely banning guns or even draconian restrictions that border on bans. I support some level of gun control, although I'm not sure exactly how much there should be. But I feel like even a modest level of gun control is counter to the spirit of the second amendment. Additionally, the second amendment doesn't take more dangerous modern firearms into account since they didn't exist.
Therefore, the second amendment should be repealed or at least amended.