“The right to defend your property, life and liberty girds the entire American project. Not a single Founder ever challenged the notion of individual firearm ownership. Most celebrated it. Individual ownership of firearms was so omnipresent in colonial days—and beyond—that Americans saw no more need to debate its existence. Debates over the Second Amendment involved a disagreement over who should control the militia: state or federal government.
“Second, the idea that ‘Gun control laws were ubiquitous’ in the 19th century is the work of politically motivated historians who cobble together every minor local restriction they can find in an attempt to create the impression that gun control was the norm. If this were true, Kristof wouldn’t need to jump to 1879 to offer his first specific case. …
“The fact is that in the 19th century there were no statewide or territory-wide gun control laws for citizens, and certainly no federal laws. Nor was there a single case challenging the idea of the individual right of gun ownership. Guns were romanticized in the literature and art, and the era’s greatest engineers designed and sold them. All the while, American leaders continued to praise the Second Amendment as a bulwark against tyranny.”
– David Harsanyi in The New York Times Botches America’s History With The Gun