Until the 2008 Supreme Court case of District of Columbia vs. Helen, most held to a collective rights view of the 2nd amendment. 1 That is, the right to own a gun was not an individual right but a collective one in the context of a militia. This view has gradually been eroded by politically motivated legal “scholars.”2 History matters writes:
“Much Second Amendment scholarship has taken the form of “law office history,” a form of advocacy scholarship designed to influence the way courts decide constitutional questions. Legal scholarship influences the way briefs are written and may also be used by judges when deciding a case. For most historians the goal of scholarship is to reconstruct and understand the complexity of the past, not influence contemporary policy or jurisprudence.”
The mass majority of historians discount the individual rights view and have found serious errors of fact in legal scholars interpretations. 2
2. historymatters.gmu.edu (Search for “2nd amendment” – The Second Amendment Under Fire: The Uses of History and the Politics of Gun Control by Saul Cornell, Associate Professor, Department of History, The Ohio State University)
The following was written by Robert Spitzer of the Washington Post:
Myth: The Second Amendment was intended to protect the right of Americans to rise up against a tyrannical government.
This canard is repeated with disturbing frequency. The Constitution, in Article I, allows armed citizens in militias to “suppress Insurrections,” not cause them. The Constitution defines treason as “levying War” against the government in Article III, and the states can ask the federal government for assistance “against domestic Violence” under Article IV.
Our system provides peaceful means for citizens to air grievances and change policy, from the ballot box to the jury box to the right to peaceably assemble. If violence against an oppressive government were somehow countenanced in the Second Amendment, thenTimothy McVeigh and Lee Harvey Oswald would have been vindicated for their heinous actions. But as constitutional scholar Roscoe Pound noted, a “legal right of the citizen to wage war on the government is something that cannot be admitted” because it would “defeat the whole Bill of Rights” — including the Second Amendment.