A well educated electorate, being necessary to the proper functioning of a democratic republic, the right of the people to buy and read books, shall not be infringed. — David Kopel
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. — Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution
If David Kopel’s hypothetical were a law or an amendment to the Constitution would anyone believe the right to buy and read books was a collective right only, and that it did not confer any rights upon individual citizens? [Actually, the right to life and to the pursuit of happiness made effective by keeping and bearing arms and reading books, and a slug of other rights, are not bestowed upon us by the Constitution. They are natural rights bestowed upon us by our creator. The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence recognizes these rights and prohibits the government from infringing on them]
The “right of the people” in the 2nd Amendment refers to the rights of individuals just as do those same words in the 1st, 4th, 9th and 10th Amendment. All Federal gun cases from the 19th Century either said so explicity or implied so by the factual context of each case. In the 20th Century when classical liberalism gave way to the mindset of modern “progressivism” the true believers looked for any hook they could find to reach the result they wanted, so it became fashionable to claim that the right keep and bear arms was only a collective, not an individual right. The Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller case set things right and it can no longer by argued that the 2nd Amendment protects anything other than an individual right to keep and bear arms.
The nutters in Maryland recently outlawed possession of AR-15 rifles, and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has blessed them for it. The Maryland political thugs, with the approval of the 4th Circuit, reasoned unreasonably that the AR-15 is a military weapon and therefore not covered by the Second Amendment. They either didn’t know or didn’t care that Supreme Court Miller case in 1939 found that a short-barrelled shotgun was not covered by the Second Amendment precisely because it was not a military weapon.
The 1939 Supreme Court, the 4th Circuit, and the thugs in Maryland State government were all wrong on their facts. Shotguns were used by the U.S. MIlitary in WW I and the AR-15 is not used by the military today. The military rifle is the full auto select-fire M16. The AR-15 is a semi-auto civilian version. It could be used by the military but that would make no difference to the 2nd Amendment because this rifle is the modern equivalent of the muskets used by citizens in 1789. It is in common use by citizens. In fact, it is in such common use that more copies of this rifle are sold annually than the number of Ford F-150 pickup trucks, which is the most popular vehicle not just of trucks but of all passenger vehicles in America.
The Heller decision said guns in common use are protected. Millions of AR-15 rifles are sold in the United States every year. Tens of millions of them are in common use today. They’re used for target shooting, hunting and personal defense. They are almost never used to commit crimes. Criminals prefer handguns.