Let’s start from the beginning:
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.
If one is to look at the history of the Second Amendment, there’s plenty of arguments on either side for ways to interpret it. However, I think the most compelling argument is that it went through numerous revisions specifically designed to emphasize its militia/military aspects. Here’s what that says to me: The right to own a gun has limits. I do not believe, as our modern courts have been hinting at, that the Second Amendment gives a citizen free reign over gun purchases and ownership. The government has a right to put forth limits on gun ownership; states and the feds can outlaw guns in national and other parks, cities can ban their sale, and background checks can be as big of a pain in the ass as a group of representatives or voters wish to make them.
All that said, I do happen to favor a fairly unfettered right to gun ownership. There are clearly weapons which serve no purpose other than to terrorize, but for the vast majority of gun purchases, I have no issue. People are often safer if they own a gun or if they’re in an area with an average law-abiding, gun-toting member of the NRA (the awfulness of that organization aside). However, there are limits to this argument: specifically, to the United States and similar countries. We already have prolific gun ownership and a thriving black market for guns. To attempt to curb it at this point will most likely just end up in a greater disparity between law-abiders and criminals who have guns – the line being skewed in favor of the latter group. After all, that black market isn’t thriving because it’s too easy to obtain a gun legally. However, on the flip side of things, I don’t think my arguments work in much of Europe. They have low gun ownership rates, strong gun laws, and a significantly reduced black market, all with the result of fewer gun crimes and deaths. Gun control is a success on that side of the pond. End of story.
So, while I do happen to be fairly in line with current mainstream, and especially conservative, view on the pragmatic end of this matter, I part in my basis. I favor liberal gun ownership in the United States, but I don’t think the Second Amendment gets us there.