“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 Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution protects the rights of citizens to own and carry firearms.
The Supreme Court ruled that the first comma divides the amendment into two clauses: one ‘preferatory’ and the other ‘operative.’
Current interpretation postulates that the initial clause is introductory and has little legal bearing and that the operative clause that begins “the right of the people…” is the meat of the Second Amendment.
Anti-gun activists assert that the framers actually used the first and last comma to only parenthetically include the middle text and that the intended reading should be “A well regulated Militia shall not be infringed” but the argument is weak at best. The Constitution is a document intended to preserve the rights of the people, not those of the militia or other entities. As SCOTUS ruled, the only clause that could be ignored is the initial preferatory Militia clause. Doing so would reveal the intent of the amendment “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”