A lawyer for the District of Columbia, Walter Dellinger, countered that the Second Amendment protects a collective right to use only those guns needed to provide for the common defense as part of a state militia. The amendment does not protect a right to use guns for self defense at home, he said.
The Second Amendment reads: "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."
Supporters of the individual rights view of the amendment focus on the second half of the measure, while those embracing the militia-rights view stress the importance of the first clause.
Based on the questions they raised, Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Anthony Kennedy support an individual rights approach to the Second Amendment. Although he did not ask any questions, Justice Clarence Thomas has suggested in the past that he supports an individual rights view.
Justices John Paul Stevens and David Souter appear to be among the strongest supporters of a narrow reading that would apply the Second Amendment to only the militia service. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer fall someplace in between.