I just read the story that Chronos linked above. I know this conversation has been going on for months and I'm quite late to the party. Apologies if what I say below is already well-covered territory - this is a long thread and difficult to parse in context to my thoughts on this.
First I want to state that I am not opposed to guns. I don't own any myself, but plan to have a handgun by year's end. I don't know enough about guns in general to get deeply involved in what regulations and restrictions make the most sense.
But I do have opinions related to the 2nd amendment. The first clause is often overlooked and I'm sure this observation has been made already. I'm looking to either be pointed close to the posts that cover this, or to see if my idea has merit if it's not already been discussed.
Amendment 2 in full states this: 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.
I'm willing to concede that "the right to bear arms shall not be infringed" is pretty clearly stated, and I'm not going to take either side on if the military reference was intended to set a limit on who is specifically being identified. I AM going to ask if the well regulated militia reference allows enough flexibility to require certain conditions rather than simple insisting that everyone who wants a gun is constitutionally entitled to own one. Guns are already dispersed across the country, so we may as well deal with that reality. We also should all be willing to admit that a complete lack of any restrictions is probably not the best choice for the country as a whole. I realize that only the irresponsible gun-owners are the ones to make the news, but there sure seems to be a lot of them, so there's no value in ignoring them as atypical - they exist in enough numbers to be worth noting.
For instance, can we legislate that all guns must be sold with a trigger guard (am I using the right term?)? Can we insist on mandatory gun safety training for every citizen by age 14 (14 is arbitrary, any age would do)? Can we legislate that any minor who can not prove that they have attended gun safety training be barred from handling firearms until such training is completed, or else the parent or parents are penalized in some way - call it negligence, or public safety violations? How much room to negotiate acceptable-to-most conditions does the first part of the amendment allow? And why do the politico's never talk about the first half of the damn thing?
Like all the hard issues under debate, there are no easy answers or these problems wouldn't still need attention. Politically, we seem to only approach these issues from the extreme edges, pretty much ensuring that nothing will change. I try not to get too cynical, but certain issues seems to have a rotation - same-sex marriage, abortion and gun control cycle by over and over, serving to distract the public from things that need both attention and political will to deal with. It makes me uncomfortably aware of just how much we get manipulated by the media and the government about almost everything.