The controversial Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights says:
“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.”
There is much controversy over whether the state can regulate the right to ownership and so on, and usually it goes back to what the founders meant about “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State”. I think its pretty clear the founders intended for “the people” (i.e. white men) to have guns, in case they needed to be pressed into service to fight native Americans, prospectively rebellious whiskey distillers, or the British.
A friend of mine points out that far less attention is paid to what is meant by the term “Arms”. If we go back to original intent, the word “Arms” in 1791 meant armaments that were available in 1791. For instance, few argue citizens should have a right to an atomic bomb. The founders did not conceive of those weapons as falling into the rubric of Arms, and probably would not have supported that if it did. Their view of Arms was informed by the recently completed Revolution. The arms that were available during the revolution include the Flintlock Musket. Notably, interchangeable parts were not even established yet, so these were handmade.
So if you want to argue original intent, go for it, just accept that only handmade weapons available prior to 1791 are constitutionally protected. If you argue original intent, you argue the constitution guarantees people their cross-bow, sword, musket, and bayonet, but fails to protect more recent weapons.
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