Originally Posted by BrassMonkey
I have been at conflict with myself over that very issue before. While on one hand the idea of somebody stashing a nuke in their basement scares the hell out of me, on the other hand it is hard to draw the line. I have always viewed "arms" as implied by the Second Ammendment to mean small arms. I tend to go by the resposible use test. For example there can be a resposible use for a private party to own and facilitate a AR15, 1911a, or Sig P226. I don't see a resposible use for nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons in that same capacity.
I'll argue that the Framer's intent was for the people to be armed in such a way they could overthrow an out-of-control, oppressive government as well as to come together as a trained militia to defend the country against a foreign force with similar weaponry. While people did own personal firearms (ball and shot), some also owned cannon and had resources for bombs. No weapons of the day -- regardless of how leading-edge or expensive -- were off-limits to individual citizens to own.
(The framers also never intended there to be a standing army. But since we have a very sophisticated standing military and the average guy on the street can't touch most of the arsenal at our military's disposal, we're pretty much screwed on that front. That's a topic for another thread, however.)
There's some dissonance here with regard to principle: on the one hand, I don't think there should be any limit because none was specified. On the other, WMD do seem a bit over the top for Joe Sixpack to be collecting and obviously I would not want these weapons out "in the wild".