There is an ongoing argument among Americans about whether the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides an individual right to bear arms or only to a duly constituted and enrolled State militia. The key concept is the meaning of "militia" in the late 18th century when this amendment was enacted. At that time, the militia referred to the total population of persons who were qualified to own and use firearms in that state. Thus, it meant all able-bodied males (and perhaps females), including youngsters who might have been in their early teens. It probably also included old men, many of whom would have owned firearms for hunting or even self-protection. The actual enlisted or enrolled state militia would be the ones who had been self-selected and/or designated by their local governments for actual service. Thus the purpose of the Second Amendment was to make certain that the largest possible number of persons would be available for service, and therefore that every person would have the individual right to bear arms and be trained in the use thereof--and that this right could not be taken away by the Federal government.The idea that the militia is limited to the number of persons actual serving, rather than the entire population available, is an obvious absurdity. It amounts to stating the persons who have the right to bear arms is defined as the persons who have right to bear arms. The founders were not this foolish, although many modern commentators are.