I have enjoyed the debate over gun ownership in the Journal. I would like to contribute an historical perspective.
Our Founding Fathers really, really hated the idea of standing armies in peacetime. They had seen the evils committed by European armies, as well as the perennial wars they facilitated. In an era of great political contention, this may be the only thing all sides agreed on.
The Second Amendment we have now is actually the sixth draft. The first four drafts had a wording, with slight changes, equivalent to: The concept of standing armies in peacetime being repugnant to the very nature of Democracy, the individual states are required to maintain an armed, trained, well-regulated militia.
Virginia was the 10th and swing vote for passage of the Bill of Rights. They objected to the requirement that states maintain a militia (although they did maintain one on their own). They also didn’t like the aggressive nature of the amendment.
Congress changed the wording to what we have now. The compromise they arrived at was that any function of the government could be funded indefinitely, but the military budget must come up for Congressional review every two years (this is still the law).
The right to individual gun ownership was created by politicians, lawyers, sympathetic judges and, of course, interest groups. It is clearly the law of the land. But it should also be clear that in designing the Second Amendment, gun ownership was never their original purpose. Militias were.
Clifford Lanxner, Applegate