“They had some limitations on the nature of arms that could be borne," he told host Chris Wallace."
This is essentially what SCOTUS said in Heller. Heller was not a resounding affirmation of our Second Amendment rights. Heller is probably the best we will ever get. See III pages 54-55.
Like most rights, the right secured by the Second
Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through
the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely
explained that the right was not a right to keep and
carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever
and for whatever purpose. See, e.g., Sheldon, in 5 Blume
346; Rawle 123; Pomeroy 152–153; Abbott 333. For example,
the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the
question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed
weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or
state analogues. See, e.g., State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann.,
at 489–490; Nunn v. State, 1 Ga., at 251; see generally 2
Kent *340, n. 2; The American Students’ Blackstone 84, n.
11 (G. Chase ed. 1884). Although we do not undertake an
exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the
Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be
taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the
possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or
laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places
such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing
conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of
Cite as: 554 U. S. ____ (2008) 55
Opinion of the Court
We also recognize another important limitation on the
right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have
explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those
“in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think
that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition
of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual
See 4 Blackstone 148–149 (1769); 3 B. Wilson,
Works of the Honourable James Wilson 79 (1804); J.
Dunlap, The New-York Justice 8 (1815); C. Humphreys, A
Compendium of the Common Law in Force in Kentucky
482 (1822); 1 W. Russell, A Treatise on Crimes and Indictable
Misdemeanors 271–272 (1831); H. Stephen, Summary
of the Criminal Law 48 (1840); E. Lewis, An Abridgment
of the Criminal Law of the United States 64 (1847); F.
Wharton, A Treatise on the Criminal Law of the United
States 726 (1852). See also State v. Langford, 10 N. C.
381, 383–384 (1824); O’Neill v. State, 16 Ala. 65, 67 (1849);
English v. State, 35 Tex. 473, 476 (1871); State v.