In fact, the first shots of the eight-year struggle for American independence, fired at Lexington and Concord, were in response to the British government’s attempt to disarm “the People.”
It was understood then, as now, that the inherent right to self-defense was irrevocable — and not to be infringed. It was and remains the most fundamental of the unalienable Rights of Man — the rights of all people.
After the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, during the 1788 Massachusetts Convention debates for ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Samuel Adams proclaimed, “The said Constitution shall never be construed … to prevent the People of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” Other states provided similar assurances in their constitutions, based on common law.
Once our Constitution was ratified, the debate over the addition of a “Bill of Rights,” including the Second Amendment right to self-defense, was hotly contested. Many of our Founders argued that the mere reiteration of these innate and unalienable Rights of Mankind within the Constitution might imply that they are somehow subject to amendment, as if granted to the people by the state rather than inherent as “endowed by their Creator.”
Typical of those objections was this from Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 84: “Bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?”
In his first Bill of Rights draft, James Madison proposed what would become the Second Amendment. This was a concession to the Anti-Federalists, who insisted upon the enumeration of these specific Liberties in the Constitution, much to the objection of the Federalists, who believed this might imply to future generations that those inherent rights were subject to amendment... ~The Patriot Post