Now, whether the militia is the intent of the second amendment is a question that we have been asking for a long time now. The wording of the second amendment is not particularly clear on that.
Perhaps our modern internal parsers have trouble with it, and perhaps as laymen we have debated it, and perhaps it has been debated in the courts, but our academic Constitutional experts and historians, who are surprisingly homogenous regarding this historical fact, have no trouble at all devining the exact intentions of the Founders regardless of the wording. Justice Steven's rewording is, in fact, unnecessary, because his changes simply modernize and make clear what the original intention was. And debate is unncessary and intellectually dishonest, because we know what the Founders intention was from the minutes of the Constitutional Congresses... its all in there, so idky there's all this business of "it means this," and "no, it means this other thing," when, in fact, there is no two ways about it... what the Founders intentions actually were are available to us from the extra documentation they meticulously provided for history and posterity.
It is pretty clear to me, however, from the text alone how important it was to the Founders that gun owners be a part of a militia, and be well regulated, and it should be clear to you too... because its in the first three or four words of the Amendment, and the Founders put it there at the beginning because they wanted to underscore its importance.
The interpretation has been bastardized by the NRA, and all the gun owners (not ALL gunowners, but just the silly ones) that want to do as they please without any sort of regulation or oversight, and they want this because they want it and do not try to offer any sort of legal precidence for it, because there is none. Or I should say, there was none whatsoever prior to 2008, which is a very strange and late date for an interpretation that has stood for 219 years to change. You see, sadly, the meaning of the Second has been completely changed by the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller decision, and the Justices know what the Founders intended, but the majority of the Court believed that it was ok, because they felt that's what the American people want. In a sense, there is merit to this idea: the American People are in charge. However, the original mandate for the Supreme Court of the United States (and the creation of the US Senate) includes the right of the court to stand in the way of what the People want... Justices are not elected, and it was never their mandate to do as the People wanted them to but to do what is right, and they are appointed and not elected and their positions are protected as lifetime appointments, and in the same regard as to why a Prosecutor has legal immunity, its so they have the right and duty to and can afford to do what is right without fear of retribution of the People. I strongly feel it was not only unnecessary to do as they did, they really went against the Founders intentions, and basically made themselves and the institution of the Supreme Court weaker .
The way the meaning/interpretation of the 2nd was changed by the 2008 decision is pretty startling. Originally, the meaning of the 2nd is saying that a well regulated militia IS the right of the People to keep and carry arms. Thus, your right to carry arms is only there if you are in a well regulated militia, and the militia in which you belong has the right to regulate you, as far as your right to carry is concerned. It is a volunteer militia, so there is a deep self-less nobility to it: you have a right to own and carry arms in order to protect your defenseless neighbors, and that can mean either from foreign enemies, domestic enemies, and even the government.
Now, the official meaning of the 2nd, since the 2008 decision, is completely whack (if I can use a technical term). Basically, SCOTUS gave every gun nut what they always wanted, what they always read into the 2nd that was never ever there, and where it was never intended by the Founders, and from the minutes of the Congresses we know they debated it, and decided to leave out "for self-defense" as they believed it a natural right, and there are many important documents prior to the Constitution that have also enumerated this right of self-defense.
So now, to dumb it up completely, the 2nd changed from: "you have the right, if well regulated, to bear arms in order to nobally and selflessly defend your unarmed neighbors;" to the much more sinister: "you have the selfish right to bear arms to defend yourself, and its every man for himself." Again, in 2008, SCOTUS gutted the heart of the 2nd Amendment, and changed the meaning that stood since it was penned and ratified by the States 219 years ago, from a selfless right to put their own life on the line for a defenseless neighbor, to a selfish right to defend themselves, their defenseless neighbors be damned. So I hope now you can see how truely, depressingly sad that truely is, and gun owners seem to ignore it, but they should be the ones most upset about it, because it turned them from heros into schmucks.
IMO, we should leave the text alone, and overturn that portion of the 2008 DoC v. Heller decision, which was superfluous to and beyond the perview of the actual case, and return the meaning of the 2nd to what the Founders intended: if you're a gun owner, your right to bear arms cannot be infringed, but you are also, by being a gun owner, volunteering to be a part of a militia to protect your unarmed neighbor citizens (and lets not mince words, you are selfless heros, like firefighters are, for doing so). And further, we should just declare the NRA a militia, officially, in its own right, as well as any other gun ownership organization, and hold it to them to regulate their ranks, and let them decide internally who can own a gun, and if something bad happens, like Columbine, VA Tech and Sandy Hook, and so many others, that the NRA will also be held responsible as a unit.