To understand the true meaning of the Second Amendment, it is important to understand the men who wrote and ratified it, and the issues they faced in creating the Constitution.
During the debate over the ratification of the Constitution, there was significant concern that a strong federal government would trample on the individual rights of citizens--as had happened under British rule.
However, anyone familiar with the principles upon which this country was founded will recognize this claim`s most glaring flaw: in America, rights--by definition--belong to individuals.
The Founding Fathers created the Bill of Rights to protect the rights of individuals.
The Founders who wrote the Bill of Rights drew many of their ideas from the traditions of English "common law," which is the body of legal tradition and court decisions that acted as an unwritten constitution and as a balance to the power of English kings.
The Founders believed in the basic rights of men as described in written legal documents and in unwritten legal traditions.They and their contemporaries were firearm owners, hunters and in some cases gun collectors (George Washington and Thomas Jefferson exchanged letters about their collections).They had just finished winning their freedoms with gun in hand, and would, in their next session, pass legislation requiring most male citizens to buy and own at least one firearm and 30 rounds of ammunition.In 1776, America's Founders came together in Philadelphia to draw up a "Declaration of Independence," ending political ties to Great Britain.Written by Thomas Jefferson, it is the fundamental statement of people's rights and what government is and from what source it derives its powers: WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.Eleven years later, after the war for independence had been won, our Founders assembled once again to draw up a plan for governing the new nation.That plan would be ratified two years later as the Constitution of the United States of America.In each case, rights belonging to "the people" are without question the rights of individuals.Dozens of essays have been written by the nation`s foremost authorities on the Constitution, supporting the traditional understanding of the right to arms as an individual right, protected by the Second Amendment. ." Making the same point, Tench Coxe wrote that the militia "are in fact the effective part of the people at large." George Mason asked, "[W]ho are the militia?However, they did have a tradition of protecting individual rights from government.Those rights were set forth in a number of documents, including the Magna Carta and the English Declaration of Rights.