Because the NRA is little more than a mouthpiece for the gun manufacturers who see any regulations as a threat to their profits, most Americans could care less about Smith & Wesson's profits so they wave the second amendment around and make gun control sound like an attack on the constitution.
This is what the right to bear arms was referring to
Single shot, max four rounds per minute (by a professional soldier under ideal conditions) accurate up to about 50 yards.
"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."
Funny how the NRA and pro-gun nuts always ignore the first part of the 2nd amendment and jump right to the end.
Unfortunately the NRA and pro-gun nuts have the support of the Supreme Court of the US in the 5-4 majority ruling in the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. __, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 171 L. Ed. 2d 637 (2008) in that position.
The Heller case ignored decades of precedent to find an individual right to bear arms divorced from the "well regulated Militia" preamble by mixing in a common law right of self-defence.
The majority opinion is schizophrenic because it reaches back to historical writings outside the Constitution to try to base its decision and claim this was always what the Founding Fathers intended - an application of the "frozen concepts" or strict constructionist approach to constitutional interpretation yet they also say that modern weapons are covered by this individual right which covers modern weapons in current use??? The majority decision makes no internally coherent sense.
Personally I go with the dissenting four SCOTUS justices whose dissent and criticism of the majority opinion makes much more sense by being logically consistent, historically grounded and follows past precedent while being highly critical of the reasoning of the majority.
The question presented by this case is not whether the Second Amendment protects a “collective right” or an “individual right.” Surely it protects a right that can be enforced by individuals. But a conclusion that the Second Amendment protects an individual right does not tell us anything about the scope of that right.
Guns are used to hunt, for self-defense, to commit crimes, for sporting activities, and to perform military duties. The Second Amendment plainly does not protect the right to use a gun to rob a bank; it is equally clear that it does encompass the right to use weapons for certain military purposes. Whether it also protects the right to possess and use guns for nonmilitary purposes like hunting and personal self-defense is the question presented by this case. The text of the Amendment, its history, and our decision in United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174 (1939) , provide a clear answer to that question.
The Second Amendment was adopted to protect the right of the people of each of the several States to maintain a well-regulated militia. It was a response to concerns raised during the ratification of the Constitution that the power of Congress to disarm the state militias and create a national standing army posed an intolerable threat to the sovereignty of the several States. Neither the text of the Amendment nor the arguments advanced by its proponents evidenced the slightest interest in limiting any legislature’s authority to regulate private civilian uses of firearms. Specifically, there is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.
In 1934, Congress enacted the National Firearms Act, the first major federal firearms law.1 Upholding a conviction under that Act, this Court held that, “[i]n the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length’ at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.” Miller, 307 U. S., at 178. The view of the Amendment we took in Miller—that it protects the right to keep and bear arms for certain military purposes, but that it does not curtail the Legislature’s power to regulate the nonmilitary use and ownership of weapons—is both the most natural reading of the Amendment’s text and the interpretation most faithful to the history of its adoption.http://www.law.corne.../07-290.ZD.html
Since our decision in Miller, hundreds of judges have relied on the view of the Amendment we endorsed there;2 we ourselves affirmed it in 1980. See Lewis v. United States, 445 U. S. 55 , n. 8 (1980).3 No new evidence has surfaced since 1980 supporting the view that the Amendment was intended to curtail the power of Congress to regulate civilian use or misuse of weapons. Indeed, a review of the drafting history of the Amendment demonstrates that its Framers rejected proposals that would have broadened its coverage to include such uses.
The opinion the Court announces today fails to identify any new evidence supporting the view that the Amendment was intended to limit the power of Congress to regulate civilian uses of weapons. Unable to point to any such evidence, the Court stakes its holding on a strained and unpersuasive reading of the Amendment’s text; significantly different provisions in the 1689 English Bill of Rights, and in various 19th-century State Constitutions; postenactment commentary that was available to the Court when it decided Miller; and, ultimately, a feeble attempt to distinguish Miller that places more emphasis on the Court’s decisional process than on the reasoning in the opinion itself.
Even if the textual and historical arguments on both sides of the issue were evenly balanced, respect for the well-settled views of all of our predecessors on this Court, and for the rule of law itself, see Mitchell v. W. T. Grant Co., 416 U. S. 600, 636 (1974) (Stewart, J., dissenting), would prevent most jurists from endorsing such a dramatic upheaval in the law.4 As Justice Cardozo observed years ago, the “labor of judges would be increased almost to the breaking point if every past decision could be reopened in every case, and one could not lay one’s own course of bricks on the secure foundation of the courses laid by others who had gone before him.” The Nature of the Judicial Process 149 (1921).
However the majority opinion is currently the law and in 2010 its reach was extended to state legislation as well in the case of McDonald v. Chicago, 561 US 3025 (2010). Thus there is a independent right of an individual to "keep and bear arms" irrespective of the "well regulated Militia" clause protected by the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to the states.