Unfortunately, that’s only part of the 2nd Amendment. The first part clearly states “A well REGULATED militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…” It’s not two separate sentences, either. It’s all one sentence and must therefore be taken as a whole. That’s where the confusion arises and the debate over differing interpretations ensues.
Strict gun control advocates believe the 2nd Amendment was written to ensure only the right of those who were members of a well regulated militia. But let’s stop for a minute. What was considered a “well regulated militia” back then? Did such a militia have to be officially recognized? If so, by whom and under what authority? Who’s to say which militia is well regulated and which one isn’t? And what does “well regulated” even mean?
Gun controllers claim the various state national guards have now replaced the militias of old. And so, much like the 3rd Amendment (no quartering of soldiers in people’s homes), the 2nd Amendment has now been rendered moot. Just so everyone knows, I don’t agree with any of these interpretations, but I’m not a Supreme Court justice who gets to decide these things.
My own personal interpretation is that the people have a right to form their own militias for the purpose of defending and ensuring the security of their own state (from whatever - attacks from foreign armies, space aliens, etc.), AND they also have the right to keep and bear arms (for self defense, hunting, collecting, target/recreational, etc.), both a collective and an individual right. But I admit I haven’t read all of the legislative history behind the intent of the 2nd Amendment.
Again, I’m no constitutional scholar nor a judge, so I don’t get to decide what it all means. I do know that Scalia, a re-knowned 2nd Amendment proponent, did mention the 2nd Amendment is not an absolute right, but neither of the Bill of Rights are absolute. For instance, inmates don’t have the right to keep and bear arms, and no one has the 1st Amendment right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. But where the lines are drawn is constantly in dispute. It’s up to us to advocate in a peaceful, educated manner our narrative, our interpretation of what our rights are. Anyway, that’s just my opinion on the matter.