Originally Posted by bsenka
It couldn't be less clear. If "People" means everyone everywhere having unfettered and unrestricted access to the weapon of their choice, why are the words "militia" and "well regulated" in the same sentence? It could just as easily mean the people who are a part of that well regulated militia have that right. In fact, I think it's pretty far fetched to think that it means anything other than that.
People already accept infringements on that supposed right anyway. There are rules as to who is and is not allowed, permits, waiting lists, background checks, prohibited weapons, etc. That toothpaste is also already out of the tube; people's rights can and will be restricted regardless of what the constitution says or meant if the government feels it's the best course of action (see the patriot act).
"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials."
George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788
"Whereas civil-rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as military forces, which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms."
-- Tench Coxe, in Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution
"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."
-- Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-188
"That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms ... "
-- Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 86-87 (Pierce & Hale, eds., Boston, 1850)
"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive."
--Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).
Is it becoming clearer to you now?
I have more if you want me to post them.