As a licensed special police officer for the District of Columbia, Dick Anthony Heller regularly carried a gun for his job, but was still not allowed to have a firearm in his home. After a five-year court case brought on by Heller and 5 others, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on an interpretation of the Second Amendment in 2008.
It was stated that the right to bear arms is a right of an individual, intimately tied to the natural right of self-defense, and that while ‘bearing arms’ implies carrying a weapon “for the purpose ‘offensive or defensive action,’ it in no way connotes participation in a structured military organization.”
Unfortunately this ruling only applied to the Federal district of Washington so a different case was needed for each state. Otis McDonald brought up his right to own a handgun for protection in a suit against the city of Chicago on Second Amendment grounds. His case was ruled on by the Supreme Court in 2010 in his favor with a statement that “the right to keep and bear arms is enforceable against the states because it is a privilege of American citizenship recognized by Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which provides, inter alia: ‘No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States”
In time, these interpretations of the Second Amendment will override more state regulations, but for now the various adaptations of gun control taken on by each of the states makes the legality of carrying, owning or having certain types of firearms a confusing conundrum of facts.