The Second Amendment has nothing to do with personal protection. Owning a gun back in colonial times was like owning a knife and fork. The idea of needing a law to protect one’s right to own a gun would be as ridiculous back then as the idea of needing a law to protect one’s right to own a knife and fork would seem ridiculous to us today. In fact, a number of colonies had laws requiring one to own a gun.
The Second Amendment is about the right of the people to form a militia to fight Federal government tyranny with obviously any guns they already have for personal protection. That being said, the FIRST sort of weapon to fight Federal government tyranny today would be an assault weapon, i.e., NOT a .38 caliber pistol. So EVERYONE—including the NRA—is wrong when they claim that the Federal government can ban (or even regulate) assault weapons. It would be like Hitler claiming he had the right to ban or regulate the U.S. military during WWII, i.e., telling the U.S. military which weapons it could and could not use against the Wehrmacht.
The fact that the Federal government does regulate firearms is just one more glaring proof that the U.S. Constitution is meaningless. It also proves that government itself—because it is a forced monopoly of force—will always become more and more abusive and tyrannical as time goes on. (Let’s hear it for voluntaryism.)
UPDATE: My libertarian friend David Sack sent me this:
“Someone at the office asked me, yesterday, what type of “arms” I thought the Second Amendment protects. The answer to that is those arms of the same caliber and quantity as the armed federal officers who come to your door have.”11:25 pm on December 20, 2012 Email David Kramer