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 would have been much clearer if it simply read The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Unfortunately, it doesn't read that way. Why exactly was the qualifying statement A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State part of the 2nd amendment? What does it mean?
It's been 68 years since the Supreme Court has attempted to define the meaning of the 2nd amendment to our Constitution. Here is the question the Court has set for itself to answer:
“Whether the following provisions — D.C. Code secs. 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22-4504(a), and 7-2507.02 — violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?”It going to be exciting to finally find out what "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State" actually means.
Maybe they will rule that it is up to the States to decide what it means and how to apply it.
If you want to bone up on Constitutional law as it relates to the 2nd amendment go here to the UCLA Law school website and read what Prof. Eugene Volokh has to say.
Scroll about 1/3 of the way down on Prof. Volokh's page and you will see a summary of the only modern discussion of the 2nd amendment by the Supreme Court (United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939)).
In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a "shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length" at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense.