hah. you called slashdot conservative (and im not one generally speaking).
I'm all for rephrasing it to make it clearer.
i believe there are two possible interpretations:
the assumption of a militia as a band of men/volunteers as seperate from a standing army and as a potential counter to that army. this militia is essential to the security of a free state by providing the means with which to resist an overpowering government. thus, its essential this militia be able to arm itself.
problems with this is the Militia of the United States is now called the National Gaurd and fall under the command of the US Army, even though the governors can call them out for various states of emergency. specifically part of the Army Reserves. National Guard members are thus both part of hte Army and comprise the legally defined US militia (the us militia also includes "all able bodied men ages suchandsuch", part of which was the basic for conscriptiona nd the draft, etc etc....deeper than this is intended to go). some states also have state militias, but that's also deeper than this is inteded to go. The effective difference in the National Guard and the Army is essentially nil, since they are now essentially just hte Army Reserve (or part of it), and thus fully capable of being delpoyed overseas to augment or relieve regular army units, as we've seen in the past decade and a half.
To sum up, the problem here: If the militia is intended in the USC as the counter to the government's standing army, then we now have created a conflict of interest as the counter to the standing army is now considered part of it.
this is also the primary problem with the book authors addition, as his rephrasing implicitly assumes this interpretation, while ignoring the present status of the National Guard.
the other interpretation swaps the role of the militia, and equates the militia with the concept of an official military force, regardless of form (standing army or volunteer militia). This interpretation says that "while a militia, or standing army, or national defense force, or whatever you want to call it, is neccesary to the security of a free state from outside forces, this is a neccessary evil. we distrust standing armies, and thus every citizen shall have the right to be armed in potential defense against such a force being used against its own people".
this is the concept i hew to, as it seems to most accurately reflect the founder's pholisophies and experiences with standing armies. it also creates many potential problems. for one, Disparity of Force. We have guns, the military has tanks and bombers and battleships. its basically impossible to achieve its stated goal of resistance if push actually came to shove.
another, is some people simply shouldnt be allowed to have guns. societally we have solved this one by basically saying, well, reasonable gun controls are OK. And I support that notion. of course, the devil is in the details of what constitutes "reasonable". for some anything and everything is unreasonable, and for others a blanket ban is totally reasonable.
me, i say background checks and short waiting period are essential, reasonable, and common sense, plus they give a dealer/seller peace of mind that he isnt inadvertantly aiding a criminal act (though admittedly there are some dealers who wouldnt care). even if the individual still obtains a weapon illegally, at the least it wasnt made too easy for him to do so.
and there are the additional problems of the times and society and its attitudes have changed. in this hyper partisan atmosphere we recently had "militias" ready to shoot and kill BLM agents simply for enforcing the governments property rights against a rancher in nevada who decided he can use land that isnt his for free. (abject hypocrisy and stupidity by these individuals, but what else is new?)