Be sure to vote, I am curious where most atheists stand on this issue.

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Actually, it's not a law.. there's a difference between a law, a right and a privilege. With the abolition of militias, gun ownership is more a privilege, like driving, then a law or a right. 

Rob, you perhaps see gun ownership as a privilege.

The courts see it, and will continue to see it, as a constitutionally-protected right.

Perhaps free speech, too, has become more a privilege than a right, along with freedom of/from religion?

Actually driving is NOT a privilege :) That's a common legal fallacy. SCOTUS has said that the use of the common right-of-ways by commonly available means is actually a right. There is something else going on legally with a "driver's license" that has nothing to do with your use of the roads with a vehicle. 

I fifth!

 Basically the way I see it is that owning firearms has been part of the American culture from the very start and should remain so. Now I'm not saying people should have rocket launchers or the like or that someone who is obviously mentally ill should be allowed to own firearms but the idea of banning or severely infringing the ability of the people to bear arms doesn't mesh with the ideals of individual freedoms that this representative republic is supposed to be based on. The very start of this nation relied heavily on the idea of the individual having the right to defend themselves, family, or property. There was much debate while the bill of rights was being written about the second amendment right down to which exact words would be used. The addition of " the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" was included to be sure that it would be very difficult to justify restricting the right of ownership to a select few which helps ensure the ability to form a people's militia and also allows the individual right to own firearms. It's very doubtful that the bill of rights would have been accepted by the majority of the states or their citizens had there not been any protections spelled out for the public's right to be armed. Of course there were more concerns in that time with much of the country being the frontier and due to the lack of strong government or authorities to protect its citizens. However there was also a great distrust of the government being that the people had just fought a war with their former government and this message of not trusting the government to be the only protector of your life or property has been passed along as general wisdom for generations. When it comes down to it the general idea in the United States is that your home or your little parcel of land is your castle and you have the right to protect it. Of course I don't see the problem with encouraging smart ownership habits and I agree there should be more reprecussions for improper or violent actions.

 I do not believe it was the intention of the founding fathers that weapons should be freely available to all and sundry to carry on their person as and when they choose without let or hindrance!

Actually, I'm sure that's the way it was in the days of our Founding Fathers, so I think that's probably what they intended. I'm pretty sure there was no, "OMG, there's someone with a firearm out on the street! Make him put it away!"

Kenny, in the 1770s the men who in 1787 would be America's founders surely knew that most normal everyday colonials owned guns. How could they not have intended that weapons be freely available to all and sundry . . . ? But then I'm an NRA Life Member so what do I know?

The Supreme Court (of the US) has held otherwise.  My reading of the amendment, and what do I know, would seem to say that the right to bear arms is a necessity for maintaning a "well-regulated Militia".  However there was no standing army at the time the Constitution was written, so ordinary citizens were expected to bear arms if an "army" was needed.

Yes because it first says 'to keep' the arms.  That implies to me that the arms would be kept in your house and could be 'beared' in times of need - Which is to secure your state against outside forces or forces from within your state.  

It also implies to me that citizens should be highly encouraged to receive training in firearms usage so they learn to handle and respect the arms that they are keeping.    

Not the arms that they are bearing on the streets - Which I believe shouldn't happen.  They should be kept in your home (perhaps your car), but not on you.  Unless of course needed.  

It also seems blatantly obvious that 'the people+ Arms' = militia.  That's what a militia is, a group of citizens who can form into an army in times of need.  

I'm going to have to disagree. There is nothing in that statement requiring militia membership (though if you check the definition under Federal law most male citizens, and some non-citizens, as well as a number of females are already national militia members). The preamble of the 2nd is often confusing to people as it is a statement of political belief and philosophy, but it has no legal language; it simply existed to justify the existence of the legally operational part. Lay people often assume that parts of a public statute have a legal function and try use the rhetorical parts to define the overall meaning. Understandable but misguided.

It is an old questioned. What is it about "shall not be infringed" you do not understand. The intention is in the Federalist Papers. What you do not believe is exactly the intention. Up until machine guns were regulated in the 1930s there was no regulation of gun ownership. AND there was no call for it. After there was a call for it the 2nd Amendment suddenly meant something different than people had read it to mean since 1790. How is this possible?

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