Talk of gun rights and gun control is back on full boil after 10 people were killed in the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, so the conversation turns to the Second Amendment quickly and often. According to the Law Library of Congress, "The Second Amendment, one of the ten amendments to the Constitution comprising the Bill of Rights, states: “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.”
The meaning of this sentence is not self-evident, and has given rise to much commentary but relatively few Supreme Court decisions.
On the other hand, some scholars point to the prefatory language "a well regulated Militia" to argue that the Framers intended only to restrict Congress from legislating away a state's right to self-defense. Scholars have come to call this theory "the collective rights theory."
A collective rights theory of the Second Amendment asserts that citizens do not have an individual right to possess guns and that local, state, and federal legislative bodies therefore possess the authority to regulate firearms without implicating a constitutional right.