Adam Freedman, in the Sunday New York Times, demonstrates the characteristic talent of members of the contemporary intelligentsia in his facile ability to reduce the discussion of the meaning of the Bill of Rights to an exercise resembling an archaeologist or historian poring over philological treatises on ancient punctuation and orthographic convention in order to guess at the meaning of some cryptic expression found upon a potsherd from a vanished civilization.
Of course, it is only possible to reject the concept of a right of citizens to be armed and able to defend themselves in the first place by achieving a level of estrangement from the philosophical perspectives, values, and ideals of the framers so extreme as to look upon their thought-world as unfamiliar, alien, and irrelevant to oneself, contemporary political life, and current jurisprudence as the outlook and perspective of some Greek hoplite or Egyptian charioteer.
It isn’t difficult in the least to find the meaning of a right to arms in English history, or extensive discussions of a right to arms (for purposes of self defense in both the private and the public sense) in writings of the framers themselves as well as in those of the writers on political philosophy and government who inspired them. One can easily consult the leading earlier treatises (Blackstone) on the laws of England and (Joseph Story) on the US Constitution to determine the nature of the previous status of such a right.
The avoidance of reliance on far more relevant evidence and the resort to the parsing of grammar and punctuation is simply another variation of the old lawyer’s maxim: If justice is on your side, argue justice. If the law is on your side, argue the law. If neither is on your side, pound upon the table.