Thanks for the post!
Whittle more or less has it right....
My preference is to just drop the "well regulated militia" from the sentence entirely at first. In the 18th Century, the mechanical clock was pretty much the most complex device that existed, and "well regulated" really meant "works well", rather than any indication of external controls. While a militia does need some decent officers to deal with logistics, and others to have some idea of how to fight a war, I consider that section just a very flowery way of saying that a "workable militia" is a good idea.
Since most adults (males tended to become "adults" in most senses quite a bit younger than they do now, and tended to die off a lot sooner, too) were part of the militia, "well regulated", in my sense of things was just a flowery way to that "we can expect it to do what's necessary."
I hadn't thought about keeping
arms rather than running off to "headquarters", but it makes a heck of a lot of sense to me. Otherwise, and "invader" need only capture the "headquarters"....
If you omit that first segment, we end up with the "shall not be infringed" section, which should be as self-explanatory now as it was then.
Abhinav has it all wrong, IMHO, although I believe that we
have an obligation to get some training. In the 18th Century, and indeed up to perhaps the mid-1950's in large parts of the US (and up to right now in some areas), there was the family rifle over the fireplace, and woe unto the youngster who touched it unsupervised until he (or she) was trained by dad or grandpa or somebody of similar stature. (Or in the Military.) The newer kids don't necessarily have that family situation anymore, and that's where the "trust" aspect comes in. However, that doesn't relieve the "student" of the right to learn how to use a firearm, or to own the one that he or she takes to school.
(Anybody here ever attend a school on how to drink?)
And a quick story about Military training: A buddy of mine was in the local Army ROTC, and ended up at Indiantown Gap for summer training. They handed him (and his "class") M16's and told them to sight the guns in, and then shoot for a score to qualify. (I'm sure there was some prior training
. Dunno about range time.)
SO, after a few minutes, there was one instructor sitting beside him on the line. Shortly thereafter, another one, etc. I'm not sure how many, but it got somebody's
attention as he walked over with "how could anybody shoot badly enough to require all those instructors?"
Turned out that my buddy was shooting dime-sized groups....