Please don't put words into my mouth. I didn't say that it should be disregarded solely on the basis that Miller never made arguments to the Supreme Court, only that you need to examine the actual ruling in that context, especially as it applies to the actual holdings (as opposed to the dicta) in the ruling. I still hold that Miller is a deeply flawed ruling, and I'll explain why in a moment. One of the biggest flaws in Miller is that the Court only examined the historical context of the term "militia". There was no similar examination of the term "people". In fact, the word "people" only shows up twice in the Miller ruling. Once in a misquote of the Second Amendment (which refers to "the right of people" instead of "the right of the people"), and once more in a footnote (referring to a case by name - People v. Brown). Part of the problem here is that the minority dissent only partially quoted the ruling in Miller. The full paragraph gives the small phrase that they did quote a very different meaning. Specifically, they didn't hold that the Second Amendment didn't apply to something unconnected to the militia. What they said was: They never said that it had to be connected to militia service, only that they couldn't definitively say one way or the other. That is a critical distinction. Dred Scott is important and relevant because it shows that there is a long history of viewing "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" as an individual right not connected to service in a Militia. At the time of Dred Scott (1857), free blacks were not considered part of the militia by law. That didn't happen for another 5 years, in the Militia Act of 1862. And yet, the quotes I gave demonstrate that if Scott were a free citizen, he would have shared in that right (described as "the right to ... keep and carry arms wherever they went"). When you look at Dred Scott in context of the Militia Acts (both of 1792 and 1862), it makes it clear that the understood "scope of the right" went beyond connection with military service. The problem with your argument here is that if the purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that the States couldn't be disarmed, then why didn't they say so explicitly? Why didn't they refer to "the right of the States to keep and bear arms" instead of "the right of the people"? I will say this much, that I don't think Heller got things completely right. Personally, I think it would have been stronger basis to uphold the right to keep and bear arms under both the Second Amendment and the Tenth Amendment. As you said, the common law right of self defense was inherited from English law. That right works in conjunction with the core purpose of the Second Amendment (which was to maintain an armed populace against the potential for tyranny by the government, on whatever level), but it is in parallel to it. It is much like how the Fourth Amendment right to be secure in your person, houses, etc against unreasonable searches combines with a common law right to privacy under the Tenth Amendment to cover such matters as abortion. However, on a functional level, it really makes little difference. Any government restrictions that would limit the keeping and bearing of arms for self defense would also functionally limit the keeping and bearing of arms against the potential for government tyranny. The handguns at issue in Heller are functionally identical to those carried by our military as a personal sidearm. The DC ban covered the Beretta 92FS (virtually identical to the military's standard-issue M9 pistol) and the Colt 1911 (the military's previous standard-issue pistol) just as much as any other pistol. As far as applying those rights to the States (in McDonald), it makes almost no difference because of how the right to keep and bear arms was understood at the time of the passage of the 14th Amendment. As Dred Scott shows above, it was already understood to protect the right of any citizen to "keep and carry arms wherever they went", and it was the understanding at that time which was then made effective against the states.