The Bill of Rights
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 continues to be controversy about the meaning of the Second Amendment. Advocates of Gun Control maintain that it only refers to the National Guard. On occasion, even firearms owners will say that regulated means ‘trained.’
The Federalist Papers (#29 by Alexander Hamilton) gives this interpretation of a ‘well regulated militia.’
“Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; [emphasis mine] and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year.”
I.e., everyone should own an assault rifle, a basic load of ammunition and be required to show up for an inspection thereof at least annually.
Hamilton alludes to the difficulty of having the entire citizenry participate in military maneuvers sufficient to develop proficiency at a unit level. Any soldier who has been on a Field Training Exercise (FTX) can understand this. But having military weapons in the hands of the People seems to be a viable solution to him. Maintaining individual proficiency with those weapons isn’t something he speaks about.
James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 46:
“Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
Yet another reference to the value of citizens owning arms.
Madison also makes reference to “that the traitors [emphasis mine] should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment.” In a time when a member of Congress talks about using nuclear weapons against the American people, it’s even more important that the people at large possess military weapons.
Professor Eugene Volokh of the UCLA Law School provides some References to the Militia in The Federalist.
The Second Amendment has never been about hunting. That has always been a fiction. The intent of the Founding Fathers was for the people to able to resist a tyrannical central government.