In recent years it has been suggested that the Second Amendment protects the “collective” right of states to maintain militias, while it does not protect the right of “the people” to keep and bear arms…The phrase “the people” meant the same thing in the Second Amendment as it did in the First, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments — that is, each and every free person.
A select militia defined as only the privileged class entitled to keep and bear arms was considered an anathema to a free society, in the same way that Americans denounced select spokesmen approved by the government as the only class entitled to the freedom of the press.
If anyone entertained this notion in the period during which the Constitution and Bill of Rights were debated and ratified, it remains one of the most closely guarded secrets of the 18th century, for no known writing surviving from the period between 1787 and 1791 states such a thesis.
- Stephen P. Holbrook, That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right
Because the first two amendments of the Bill of Rights were not ratified, the right to keep and bear arms was actually number four in the original document