The Founders were declaring that we are all equal, and that we are defined by rights that we are born with, not given to us by government.
Among those rights is the right to pursue happiness--to live our lives as we think best, as long as we respect the right of all other individuals to do the same.
The amendments he wrote would not change anything in the original Constitution.
Madison repeatedly insisted that nothing in the original Constitution empowered the federal government to infringe on the rights of the people, specifically including the right of individuals to have guns.
To understand the true meaning of the Second Amendment, it is important to understand the men who wrote and ratified it, and the issues they faced in creating the Constitution.
During the debate over the ratification of the Constitution, there was significant concern that a strong federal government would trample on the individual rights of citizens--as had happened under British rule.
They represent the fundamental freedoms that are at the heart of our society, including freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
The British people did not have a written constitution as we have in the United States.
In 1776, America's Founders came together in Philadelphia to draw up a "Declaration of Independence," ending political ties to Great Britain.
Written by Thomas Jefferson, it is the fundamental statement of people's rights and what government is and from what source it derives its powers: WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.