In having a BETTER pro-WE THE PEOPLE and pro-Second Amendment argument, I would recommend some essential reads.
The first is something cited in Justice Scalia's D.C. v. Heller argument.
-- Cramer, Clayton E. and Olson, Joseph Edward,
What Did "Bear Arms" Mean in the Second Amendment?. Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2008.
Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1086176
The second essential read is
Elliot's Debates, Volume 3 pp. 410-426, which is effectually
The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution
Saturday, June 14, 1788
Monday, June 16, 1788.
On page 425 it contains the must quote of
Mr. GEORGE MASON. “Mr. Chairman, a worthy member has asked who are the militia, if they be not the people of this country, and if we are not to be protected from the fate of the Germans, Prussians, &c., by our representation? I ask, Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.”
The third and fourth essential reads are both U.S. Supreme Court cases:
United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939)
District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)
It should also be noted that, on its presentation for Convention, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” was presented first, foremost and almost separately from the Militia clause, which followed it.
See Gale’s & Seaton’s History Of Debates in Congress p. 451
Because of the intensity and length of discussion in the Convention’s debates on the Militia with regard to the Constitution (go to debates following the reading of Article 1 Section 8), and that the right of the people being armed as a check to abuse of power using a standing army, and that firstly a well regulated (we must not disinclude anti-Indian raid, as well as anti-smuggler robber band, anti-insurrection) Militia at the local level, with officers thereto appointed by the State in which they resided -- much like the Minuteman shock troops militia was made up on average of 20 to 30 men per town, as even men of Acton and other local Massachusetts towns were among the first and foremost as well as co-heroes of Lexington, supported by others who too were able to take up and bear arms and of a conscience not blocked by religious conscience so as to keep from doing so -- the Second Amendment was rephrased after its initial introduction to the Convention, in a manner that centered around a need for a Militia and concerns over control and abuse of power, as, A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
It did NOT take away the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, nor infringe upon it, but carried the experience of what we obviously know was nearly a century and a half of dealing with Indian raids, as well as ocean and river arriving robber bands, insurrections from local populations and even, from time to time, out of control localized slave uprisings as well. Even when the localized Militia fell from tight-knitted organization and mobilization to the wayside, as we saw with the War of 1812’s successful British army attack that burned down the White House, the right of the CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES / the right OF THE PEOPLE maintained the right to keep and bear arms from those days to this, regardless, because the Constitution is an unbreakable contract as the Supreme Law of the Land (as it calls itself in Article 6) with WE THE PEOPLE, the citizens of these United States of America.
According to the Introduction of the Second Amendment well after the Constitution debates regarding the Militia a year prior, the intent of the Second Amendment was made clear with its introduction that there was first and fundamentally a right to bear arms APART from being armed by an act of Congress or of the States themselves. It was framed as thus:
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed;
A well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.”
Gale’s & Seaton’s History Of Debates in Congress p. 451
The essence was, whether or not Congress or the States armed the militia, who at that time in history were mostly self-armed men of the town who had to supply themselves with their own up to military specifications rifle and powder and a minimum of 24 balls of lead to shoot as well as having essential gear, any United States Citizen who had or could at any time acquire their own arms had the right to keep and bear Arms. It should be remembered with all our wars from the Civil War onward, that Arms given out by Congress or the State are pretty much ALWAYS expected to be returned BACK to the government at the end of military service. It is a tradition still to this day.
But the Constitution of the United States in the Second Amendment is clear: “The right of the people to keep and bear [their own] arms shall not be infringed”.