Love it or hate it, the Second Amendment provides the constitutional framework for American gun laws. As with all things constitutional, Americans are adapting 18th-century laws to fit 21st-century lives. But in reality, the concerns of the Founding Fathers had little to do with either side’s position in the modern gun-control debate. None of the issues animating that debate — from “stand your ground” laws to assault weapons bans — entered into the Founders’ thinking.
Yet because both sides in debates about the Second Amendment invoke what the Founders would have thought, it’s important to look at what they actually intended.