My attitude is that a bit of common sense is needed for firearms regulation. A few points:
1. The 2nd amendment can be read to back up whatever side you're on. It starts out talking about a "well regulated militia" so a good argument can be made that the founding fathers intention was to tie gun ownership to a militia. It can also be read as requiring a government "Hands off" when it comes to citizens owning a firearm. Whichever side of the argument you are on, the 2nd amendment can be interpreted to back up your side....thus it is useless to be used to decide the issue.
2. This country was alot different in 1776 than it is in 2008. Back then, there was obviously a much better argument for the need of a farmer/rancher to own a gun for many reasons, including self protection. Those who argue that the individual need for gun ownership is the same today, with instant communication, fast police response, over-crowded neighborhoods, etc, are just kidding themselves.
3. By the same token, I feel that I have the same right today as a citizen of this country back in the 1700's to defend myself & family against a criminal meaning to do harm.
OK....so how do you balance the right to protect your family vs the obvious danger that just having firearms around presents? I think this is the crux of the debate & this is what requires common sense. I dont think any rational person would argue that their need for self-protection requires them to own nuclear weapons, a flame thrower or a howitzer, but where do you draw the line? The Nat'l Rifle Assoc takes the oppoosite & equaly absurd view (in my opinion) that no gun control is needed, or very little.
I'm struggling to come up with a coherent argument here but it is a tuff issue & one that is very "area you live in" dependant. I think that states rights here makes alot of sense. It is much easier to argue that someone living on a ranch in Wyoming may have legitimate use for a firearm to shoot wolves, ect. His ranch is probably much further away from police for them to respond timely to a problem.
On the other hand, it is obviously much more likely that a person walking the streets of Manhatton will become the victim of a violent street crime! (I'm going back & forth as I write here!)
Thus , it would appear that only the nature of the dangers we face today are different than those we faced 200 years ago, not the deadliness. (Back then the danger of indian attack was much more probable than being killed by a heroin addict in need of drug money)
Setting aside target practise & hunting as legitamate uses of firearms, I think we would agree that self-protection presents the most difficult area of this debate. Since it is highly unlikely that you will be attacked by a band of wild indians (unless you win real big at a casino, I think today's more probable threat would come from 1 or 2 armed street criminals, car jackers or home invadders.That being the case, I dont see the need for an indivdual possesing a weapon that holds 20 to 30 rounds. (if you cant stop a heroin addict attack with 15 rounds, then maybe you shouldn't be carrying a firearm at all!