As much as many disagree with the Founder’s intent of the Second Amendment, there is little doubt that there were two primary purposes. The first, of course, was be able to respond if, should the need arise, as had then recently occurred, the government had begun taking their rights. It was to assure that the People would have an adequate means of defending against those encroachments and complying with the duty set out in the Declaration of Independence:
“But when long trains of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide for new guards for their future security.”
Even during the expansion of the country, especially after the Civil War, military forts were few and far between. The first line of defense had to be the armed citizenry. It could be days, weeks, or there might never be a response by the military when there were attacks made on the People.
As the West was settled, the need for the militia and the armed citizenry was diminished. Since that time, that historical necessity had all but gone away. By 1903, with the passage of an Act “To promote the efficiency of the militia“, also known as the “Dick Act”, the militias was redefined as the National Guard and the Reserve Militia. Within that Act, only the National Guard could be called to national service.
That Act did not deny the existence of any right secured by the Second Amendment. However, it did mandate (shall) that:
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