Original Sources Underlying the Second Amendment

With Heller about to be argued, a lot of folks are debating what the Second Amendment means. But what does the historical record really show?

A cool (and useful) website is ConSource, which is a free, fully-indexed online library of constitutional sources. Apparently the lawyers (on both sides) have been using ConSource to track down historical references.

The website not only has an image of the Constitution posted on it, but also lots of useful related sources (e.g., the Federalist Papers and ratification debates).

Here are the gun-related documents on ConSource related to the Second Amendment:

The Second Amendment

Federalist 4

Federalist 29

The Dissent of the Minority of thePennsylvania Convention (Dec. 18, 1787)

Virginia Ratification Debates

Massachusetts Ratification Debates

Pennsylvania Ratification Debates

Madison's Resolution for Amendments to the Constitution

House Committee Report

Amendments Proposed by the Virginia Convention (June 27, 1789)

Articles of Amendments as agreed to by the Senate (Sept. 14, 1789)

Amendments to the Constitution (Sept. 28, 1789)

House Debates (Aug. 17, 1789)

House Debates (Aug. 21, 1789)

There are also some interesting secondary sources, specifically letters of the Framers:

John Randolph to St. George Tucker (Sept. 11, 1789)

George Mason to John Lamb (June 9, 1788)

Jeremy Belknap to Paine Wingate (May 29, 1789)

Fisher Ames to Thomas Dwight (June 11, 1789)

Fisher Ames to George R. Minot (June 12, 1789)

I can't say I've made a fully study of every bit of evidence. But there is lots of ammunition for the individual rights proponents in here.