The Second Amendment - and Tenth Amendments - clearly and explicitly dictate that the right to keep and bear arms is an unalienable individual right - falling under NEITHER Federal authority - NOR State authority - this is explicit in the US Constitution.
In accordance with the 10th Amendment - NOT ONLY shall the Federal government NOT act in any way that limits the right to keep and bear arms.....but no STATE may limit those rights either.
The 10th Amendment States Explicitly --- "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, NOR PROHIBITED BY IT TO THE STATES, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
The operative phrase here is ... "NOR PROHIBITED BY IT TO THE STATES."
The Constitution's language is CLEAR and EXPLICIT -- it is NOT OPEN TO INTERPRETATION -- ".... the right of the people to keep (OWN) and bear (CARRY) arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED."
This clearly PROHIBITS TO THE STATES - the authority to limit the right of the people to keep (OWN) and bear (CARRY) arms.
Furthermore, the first phrase "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state......" is continually misapplied either out of ignorance, or out of a deliberate effort to subvert the original meaning and intent. One must merely look to the Federalist Papers, to understand that "the militia" is NOT -- the national guard (as so commonly misrepresented). The Militia, is THE WHOLE OF THE PEOPLE ----
In speaking of "a well regulated Militia," the Amendment merely states a reason for recognizing the people's right to be armed, not a purpose for and/or limitation on that right. An armed citizenry was recognized as advantageous to a free State. If the Amendment were meant merely to guarantee a State the right to maintain a militia, the last half could just as easily have stated "the right of any State of this Union to permit their citizens to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
This is not a State's right; it is a People's Right which each individual person may claim in both their collective and individual capacities, and this is where the Tenth Amendment's clear language "... nor prohibited by it to the states..." explicitly defines this right, as a right of individual people - not of States NOR the Federal government to infringe upon this.
The Declaration of Independence, for example, speaks of the right that the people have to "alter or abolish" a government that becomes destructive of its proper ends, namely, securing their inalienable rights. The 1st Amendment to the Constitution declares that the people have the right "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." In each of these cases it is a people's right, but the exercise of that right requires action by individuals composing the people. So it is with the right to keep and bear arms. It is a right of the people, but it is a right that an individual must be permitted to exercise in order for it to be effective.
And herein is perhaps the most important aspect ... If the 2nd Amendment were read as merely granting states the right to maintain a militia, it would contradict Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids the states from keeping "troops, or ships of war in time of peace," "without the consent of the Congress." Furthermore, the Constitution does not GRANT rights to people, it only defines the limited powers it grants to government. The right guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment goes beyond merely what is necessary for a State to form a militia when needed. As a People's Right, necessary aspects of it exist regardless of whether Congress gives its consent for states to keep troops in time of peace or not. Congress could prevent a state from forming a militia, but this would not affect the right of the people to remain armed, and to be ready whenever the State called upon them to join a militia, or to protect their liberties in other ways contemplated by the Founders.
The militia was drawn from the people, and therefore it was imperative that the people have arms. If the militia relies on the arms that each individual possesses, then obviously the individuals must be able to possess those arms. And finally, Jefferson's words, as well as Madison's (from the Federalist Papers) are clear:
"I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers."
- George Mason, Address to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 4, 1788
"The most important reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, if necessary, at last resort to protect themselves from tyranny in government." --- Thomas Jefferson
"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country."
- James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434, June 8, 1789
"...the ultimate authority, wherever the derivative may be found, resides in the people alone..."
- James Madison, Federalist No. 46, January 29, 1788
"The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed." --Thomas Jefferson
"What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787
"The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
- Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776
"To disarm the people...[i]s the most effectual way to enslave them."
- George Mason, referencing advice given by Pennsylvania governor Sir William Keith, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adooption of the Federal Constitution, June 14, 1788
"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops."
- Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, October 10, 1787