Contemporary legislators have the hubris to believe that the Founders hadn’t envisioned any kind of technological advances in firearm technology. It’s an argument tantamount to claiming that free-speech protections are not operable because James Madison couldn’t foresee the incredible speed with which information can be disseminated on the Internet.
Not only did legislators in the late 18th-century witness the advent and adoption of long-range Pennsylvania rifles — ones that could fire at 300 yards with decent precision rather than 50 yards with none — but they were likely acquainted with the existence of weapons such as air-powered repeating rifles that could fire .46-caliber lead balls about 40 times before losing muzzle velocity.
No Founder ever said, “hey maybe we made a mistake.” In fact, in the subsequent 150 years — through the rise of the revolver, the repeating rifle, and the gas-powered automatic weapons — no one ever challenged the idea that the Second Amendment protected anything but an individual right. Heller, the decision that so infuriated leftists, simply reaffirmed what had been obvious to everyone since 1789.
– David Harsanyi in The Founders Wanted You to Own an AR-15