This annoying piece of uninformed nonsense is poor even by the lamentable standards of the Washington Post. And I must come out of my comfortable retirement to object!
Quoting Justice Burger's article in Parade Magazine (although it is more impressive to quote his later appearance on MacNeil-Lehrer where he repeated his charge about "fraud")! Talk about grasping at straws.
Not only is this "stare decisis" after Heller and McDonald, but the Founders rejected the idea, too. I don't usually respond to these editorials, but after all of the meticulous scholarship of the last thirty years, have people forgotten? Here is what I said:
Justice Stevens' idea has already been tried and it has failed. On September 9, 1789 the U.S. Senate debated the Second Amendment, then known as Article Five of the Bill of Rights. A motion was entered to add the phrase "for the common defence" after the words "bear arms". This motion was defeated on a voice vote. The Second Amendment was then sent to a conference committee to resolve differences with the House version, and the Second Amendment was sent to the states for ratification in the form we know it today. (Source: Senate Journal #1, page 77) If the Founders of this nation wanted the Second Amendment to be limited to the context of a militia, they had an excellent chance to do it then and it was rejected.
Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe summed up the ambiguity nicely when he said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that the Founders wanted to guarantee that the Federal gov't would never try to disband the state militias, but they did so NOT by protecting the militias, but by protecting the rights of individual Americans to keep and bear arms.