When it was framed it meant that the people (the collective body that has the right to institute/change/alter government) had the right to a well regulated militia. You have to ignore the fact that, at that time,the use of the phrase "bear arms" was ALWAYS used in a military sence.<quoted text>
.......what does the following mean?-
"The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms shall NOT be infringed."
Here's a quote from Tucker. Here, he uses the military phrase "bear arms" AND speaks of carrying guns in a non-military sense:
"Free negroes and mulattoes are by our constitution excluded from the right of suffrage, and by consequence, I apprehend, from office too: they were formerly incapable of serving in the militia, except as drummers or pioneers, but of late years I presume they were enrolled in the lists of those that bear arms3 , though formerly punishable for presuming to appear at a musterfield. During the revolutionary war many of them were enlisted as soldiers in the regular army. Even slaves were not rejected from military service at that period, and such as served faithfully during the period of their enlistment, were emancipated by an act passed after the conclusion of the war. An act of justice to which they were entitled upon every principle. All but housekeepers, and persons residing upon the frontiers, are prohibited from keeping, or carrying any gun......"