It is slightly oversimplifying things to say there are only two sides of the gun debate. Still, in this corner, wearing green trunks, we have the US Congress, the National Rifle Association, and the Founding Fathers. In the opposite corner, wearing red trunks, we have the US Supreme Court, Gun Control Incorporated, the Clinton Administration, and the Devil.
This is of course an entirely unbiased presentation...
The Blue is taken straight from the Constitution and its Amendments. It is an exaggeration to say the Congress and Supreme Court are entirely on one side of the issue, or the other. Red is speaking not so much as the real Supreme Court, whose pronouncements are far less clear, but as the gun control folk choose to interpret the Supreme Court.
The People have a right to keep and bear Arms.
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
Only on as part of militia duty. If you are not part of the National Guard, carrying a weapon appropriate to your duties, there is no right to bear arms. Your absolute and guaranteed right to bear arms can only be exercised when the government specifically authorizes the right to be exercised.
When the Amendment was being created and voted upon by the first Congress, Pennsylvania wanted an individual right to bear arms. Virginia wanted protection that the Federal Government could not disarm the Militia. The intent of the wording was to grant both rights. Otherwise, one state or the other would have debated the issue to death. There was no such a debate.
Don't tell me how to read a Constitutional Amendment! You got to write the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I get to declare what you meant. Don't give me any of this "intent of the authors" nonsense.
The militia are the people. Congress has the power to call the militia to keep the peace. They must be armed to perform these functions.
Congress has power
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
Nope, the Second Amendment exists purely to protect the States from being disarmed by the Federal Government. It established to make sure the Feds can't disarm the States. The right of the people to keep and bear arms has nothing to do with the people.
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace
The Constitution forbids States from raising troops without Congress's approval. The Congress can explicitly disarm the States, except the Militia. The Militia, the able-bodied adult males, have a right to keep and bear arms, and Congress cannot change that, nor can the states change that. State guards exist only with Congress's permission, so the Second Amendment can't be meant to apply to them.
The modern militia is the National Guard. The Second Amendment applies only to them.
Congress has the power
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
The National Guard was raised under Congress's authority to raise standing armies. The National Guard was intended to be sent abroad, while the Militia can't be sent abroad. Standing armies are not the Militia. Congress can dismiss standing armies. If Congress does not appropriate a budget every two years, standing armies are automatically dismissed. Standing armies are not protected by the Second Amendment.
Tough. If you say the Second Amendment does not apply to the standing armies, state guard or national guard, and I say it does not apply to the people, it follows that the right to bear arms does not exist at all. Congress or any state legislature is free to pass laws infringing on gun ownership.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the states from writing any law which inhibits privileges and immunities granted US Citizens. The author of the Fourteenth listed the first eight amendments as being the freedoms and immunities intended. The debate on the Fourteenth clearly indicates Congress wanted to prevent the southern states from infringing upon black people's right to bear arms in the post Civil War south!
Enough of this "intent of the authors" stuff. I don't care. I'm the Supreme Court. I don't have to care.
I didn't want to do this. You are forcing my hand. I'm afraid I'm going to have to invoke the Ninth
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The Ninth Amendment? But no one ever invokes the Ninth Amendment!
I am now. I knew that people have more rights than I listed when writing the Bill of Rights, so I wrote the Ninth. Just because a right was not written in the Constitution, this does not mean the federal government can ignore it.
Wait a minute! Are you inventing new rights on me?
Nope. I'm invoking older rights, from before the Constitution. The People of the United States inherited an individual right to bear arms from the British. Many citizens have individual rights to bear arms from their various state Constitutions. Just because if you hang upside down and squint sideways, you can read the wording of the Second Amendment as protecting no one from anything, this does not void other places the Right to keep and bear Arms were guaranteed.
I don't recognize your claim that the Ninth applies to those particular rights.
What else would the Ninth refer to?
Cute. Ah, forget it. I'm the Supreme Court. Lawyers, appointed by politicians. Do you really think we care about the rights of the people? The object is to make life easier for the people who appointed us. You should know that by now.
I do know that. That's why there is a Right to keep and bear Arms.