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.
The 2nd amendment is not just about guns. It is about arms, or weapons of war. The British had barred colonists from owning arms: including swords, muskets, cannons, warships. The 2nd amendment provides the right of the people to be armed to overthrow an oppressive government. It initially covered ALL WEAPONS of war. You have to remember this was a completely different time. At this time, only land owners could vote. The moneyed class ran the country, while the majority of people were indentured servants. A musket was prohibitively expensive for the average person, costing something like 50% of the average man's annual salary.
The U.S. Military is the most powerful in the world. If the US were oppressing it's people to the point where insurrection is the only option, does anyone honestly think that AR15's are all we would need to successfully take them down? It's a joke. Our military has tanks, body armor, chemical weapons, nukes, missiles, attack helicoptors and so on. IMO, the current wording has no relevance to the current day. Explosives are highly regulated. Knives, swords, and bayonets have stricter regulations than guns do.
The interpretation of the 2nd amendment has changed dramatically over the years. I won't attempt to go into exhaustive detail, as many, many books have been written on the subject but will point out a few key changes over the years:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Firearms_Act of 1934. Ban on machine guns and sawed off shotguns, "gangster weapons" as a response to the lawlessnes of prohibition 1920s. They were was a push to ban handguns at the same time…. it's interesting to note that this law came AFTER prohibition had been repealed.
Response to assasinations of JFK, MLK, RFK, Malcolm X.
Crime control act of 1990. Barred semi-auto assault rifles. This is the ban that Bush Jr. let expire. The assault rifle used in this most recent killing was purchased legally, after the act had been let expire.
There have been a series of supreme court cases that have shaped out interpretation as well.
Hey look an American that actually gets the 2nd.. Have all the 1700s historically accurate "arms" you want.
Is there a Vancouver in Taiwan?! I had no idea!!
Nothing sums up my life's achievements like my stuffed corpse, suplexing a cougar.