Historian Garry Wills has made an attempt at claiming the above. An online article, from the gun control group Join Together, reports Wills as writing "any claims that the Constitution ensures an armed citizenry as a bulwark against the potential tyranny of government is a myth. 'You can't read the amendment apart from the body of the Constitution,' he wrote, 'and the body of the Constitution defines taking up arms against the United States as treason.' " [quoting Wills from his book, A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government (1999)]
A myth? Not according to Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story (appointed by James Madison in 1811)--at least in the Guncite article author's opinion
Article III, Section 3.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.
Treason is the only crime mentioned in the Constitution. Actaully, one should read and quote the relevant section in Story's Commentaries, which are those relating to Article III, Section iii.
Somehow, I don't see Story's quote in the guncite article as contradicting the US Constution: do you?
Anyway and again, the whole passage from Joseph Story-Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, vol. 3 at pp. 746-747 (1833):
"§ 1889. The next amendment is "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
"§ 1890. The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them. [FN1] And yet, thought this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burthens, to be rid of all regulations. How is it practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization, it is difficult to see. There is certainly no small danger, that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our national bill of rights. [FN2]
"§ 1891. A similar provision in favour of protestants (for to them it is confined) is to be found in the [English] Bill of Rights of 1688, it being declared, "that the subjects, which are protestants, may have arms for their defence suitable to their condition, and as allowed by law." [FN3] But under various pretences the effect of this provision has been greatly narrowed; and it is at present in England more nominal than real, as a defensive privilege."
Note that Story is talking about the institution of the Militia in relation to the Second Amendment, not personal ownership of firearms, lamenting "How is it practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization". The problem is that the Militia was pretty much dead at the time Story was writing, which he mourns in this passage. In fact, the militia was a still birth.
I mean if the Second Amendment were truly vibrant, there wouldn't be the large military budget since:
It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people.
Again, from Story's Commentaries regarding Article III, Section iii of Constitution:
§ 1292. The propriety of investing the national government with authority to punish the crime of treason against the United States could never become a question with any persons, who deemed the national government worthy of creation, or preservation. If the power had not been expressly granted, it must have been implied, unless all the powers of the national government might be put at defiance, and prostrated with impunity. Two motives, probably, concurred in introducing it, as an express power. One was, not to leave it open to implication, whether it was to be exclusively punishable with death according to the known rule of the common law, and with the barbarous accompaniments pointed out by it; but to confide the punishment to the discretion of congress. The other was, to impose some limitation upon the nature and extent of the punishment, so that it should not work corruption of blood or forfeiture beyond the life of the offender.
Another point, Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951) puts paid to the insurrectionist theory:
The obvious purpose of the statute is to protect existing Government, not from change by peaceable, lawful and constitutional means, but from change by violence, revolution and terrorism. That it is within the power of the Congress to protect the Government of the United States from armed rebellion is a proposition which requires little discussion. Whatever theoretical merit there may be to the argument that there is a "right" to rebellion against dictatorial governments is without force where the existing structure of the government provides for peaceful and orderly change. We reject any principle of governmental helplessness in the face of preparation for revolution, which principle, carried to its logical conclusion, must lead to anarchy. No one could conceive that it is not within the power of Congress to prohibit acts intended to overthrow the Government by force and violence. The question with which we are concerned here is not whether Congress has such power, but whether the means which it has employed conflict with the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution.
What? No mention of the Second Amendment in that passage??? Again, the Second Amendment cannot be construed as allowing treason or "change by violence, revolution and terrorism" since armed revolt is unconstitutional under Article III, Section iii.