Re "Of guns and militias," Postscript, March 1
As Adam Winkler made abundantly clear in his debate with Mark Kalmansohn over the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, this is not — and rightly should not be — about what the words mean today. It's about historical context.
But all these interminable and clearly irreconcilable differences about the relevance of the predicate clause are, themselves, irrelevant. The real question is not what the 18th century framers meant by "militia" but what they meant by "arms."
Obviously they meant nothing like the subject of modern-day international arms limitation treaties.
Let's face it: They didn't even mean AK-47s. What they had in mind were flintlock muskets and blunderbusses, and perhaps the crude handguns in use in 1792.
Personally, I'd be happy to see bearers' rights to those infringed, but if we could just confine the lethal madness of civilian gunmen to those weapons and to replicas with comparable firepower, I'd be satisfied.
Point taken: All citizens are considered members of the militia and can therefore "keep and bear arms." So let's get on with the "well regulated" portion of the 2nd Amendment.
Militias regularly train, certify and drill. Militias also secure their weapons, keeping them locked in an armory.
Citizen militia members should be held responsible when their weapons are improperly used or fall into the hands of the untrained (such as children) or uncertified (such as terrorists or the mentally ill).