Rob, read Warren E Jappe's and Missy Hollingsworth's replies then read the Federalist Papers.
After you are done re-read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (the first 10 Amendments), hopefully then you will better understand the value of the 2nd Amendment to freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
Those of us who defend the Bill of Rights have indeed read them, understand them and care about those Rights deeply and are sickened by their slow degradation.
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are not suggestions to elected leaders, they are instructions and they are obligatory, woe to those who allow their Rights to be degraded and striped from them.
RE: "several of the Founding Fathers distrusted a formal military and felt it could be used to over-throw the government." - on the other hand. Rob, Jefferson said he thought we should have a revolution every 20 years.
"The Second Amendment was intended to protect slavery not freedom."
The Second Amendment's purpose has evolved.
As did the Fourth Amendment's "unreasonable searches and seizures", the Eighth Amendment's "cruel and unusual punishments", and more.
I don't think that not having the 2nd Amendment would change much.
@ Gallup's Mirror;
Hey Gallup how many slaves you currently you got?
How many legal slaves are there currently in the USA?
Oh, that's right we did away with slavery.
Don't like "the Right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." then change it, otherwise it's the law.
Stay Armed, Stay Free.
Gallup, dogmas are indeed dogmas.
Like slogans ("Stay Armed, Stay Free", "Praise The Lord!", "Coke is It!" and millions more), they serve to discourage thinking about the costs.
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.
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.