The present essay seeks to work at the intersection of law and history, a meeting point where interpretation of the Second Amendment has been more characterized by collision than confluence. Analysis brought to bear on the historical meaning of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” has coalesced around two competing normative interpretations: either that the amendment guarantees a personal, individual right to bear arms, or that it applies only collectively to the effectiveness of the militia. It is a premise of this essay that both these models are historically unsatisfactory, the products of present-day normative agendas that have polarized the debate into two competing and largely ahistorical models—a type of historians' fallacy that David Hackett Fischer has labeled the “fallacy of false dichotomous questions.” Fischer's description aptly describes the current controversy over the historical meaning of the Second Amendment: in addition to being “grossly anachronistic,” its two opposing positions “are mutually exclusive, and collectively exhaustive, so that the there is no overlap, no opening in the middle, and nothing is omitted at either end.” It is not without challenge on just these grounds, however, as a recent call for a “new more sophisticated paradigm” attests. This essay seeks to provide that new model and to do so by grounding the “right of the people to keep and bear arms” in eighteenth-century concepts of rights, not those of the twenty-first century, and to contextualize the right to bear arms in an eighteenth-century political struggle now largely ignored but well known to constitutional polemicists framing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights: Parliament's rebuilding of an English militia while denying the Scots the right to do so, despite Scotland's history and its claimed constitutional rights according to its coequal status in Great Britain. That struggle nevertheless remains a missing context that prefigured American debates over constituting and guaranteeing local militias in the coequal states of the federal union established by the United States Constitution in 1787 and 1788. Once the time came for seeking a written guarantee of local militia effectiveness in the federal Constitution, the language and substance of this transatlantic legacy had great influence. As experience, they gave political urgency to the drafting and ratification of the Second Amendment; as a theory of rights, they embodied an eighteenth-century individual right exercised collectively.