The amendment, in full, reads:
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.The amendment does not say:
The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.Yet this Supreme Court seems hellbent on reading the amendment as if the opening clause wasn't there. In case after case, the Supreme Court has ruled that individual states and the federal government have only limited powers over people's guns.
As a direct consequence, at this time hundreds of armed and unregulated 'militiamen - most not from Nevada - are now terrorizing the town of Bunkerville, Nevada. They claim to be acting in the 'defense' of a deadbeat. The deadbeat claims not to 'recognize' the Federal Government that created the state of Nevada by purchasing the land from Mexico after funding an offensive war against Mexico. (Never mind his idiotic racism, since the militias remain unfazed and obviously sympathetic to Bundy's rhetoric).
As Senator Reid noted, these people terrorizing Bunkerville are acting in armed rebellion. No state militia has been called out in defense of Cliven Bundy. These people are not "well-regulated". But they are certainly well-armed, thanks to the Supreme Court.
In 1876 a prior Supreme Court ruled "The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence" (U.S. vs Cruikshank)
Yet in decision after decision, the Supreme Court has reversed that logical interpretation. In 2010 (District of Columbia vs Heller) the Supreme Court almost completely reversed the 1876 interpretation:
The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
Both versions written above clearly prohibit the Federal Government from directly regulating "arms" that might be used by people acting as a state's militia. In other words, each state is clearly permitted (but not required) to have a militia; and members of those militias are clearly subject to the states regulations.
But nowhere does the actual amendment provide an absolute right to own these weapons. That's precisely what the Court wrote in 1876. Since the amendment includes the modifying clause, the right is not absolute.
Logically the amendment should not be read as universally extending gun 'keeping' to people who not acting in a well regulated militia. States have the right to create militias and arm them as they choose - and to choose where to store the arms, whether in their own arsenals or at home with the militia; and states have the right to regulate or even ban weapons held outside of the militia where public safety concerns over-ride concern with some amorphous liberty.
Loosing every person who wants to wander around with guns is anarchy, not government. In the old days, Supreme Court Justices would 'ride the circuit' and hear appeals. (The caseload was smaller). Perhaps this Supreme Court (or at least those who voted in the majority on the Heller decision) could be flown to Nevada and ask for the terrorists to help them parse the meaning of "well-regulated milita".