I believe that the ACLU should do what it usually does, as it did when it supported the right of neo-Nazis to march in Muncie: put the letter-of-the-law first. I can understand that it would be a far more difficult position to take than giving Nazis the right to hold a parade, but the ACLU should come down hard on the side of the right of everyone, every grownup American, including convicted felons and the mentally ill, to own weapons.
The Second Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights. No one would think for a moment of restricting the rights granted in the other nine amendments. If we revere the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, then how can we countenance restriction of the right to bear arms?
Furthermore, the ACLU should argue not only against restrictions on who should own weapons, but against restrictions on what types of weapons may be owned. Why allow automatic rifles and not bazookas and rocket-propelled grenades? These also arguably would be in the arsenal of the citizen militia whose right to exist is at the heart of the Second Amendment.
Such a stance by the ACLU would place it in opposition to the NRA, which has called for more restrictions on gun ownership by the mentally ill. It would point up the fact that time has overtaken the Second Amendment and it should go the way of the three-fifths rule.
The only way that the ownership of weapons in the United States can be placed under reasonable controls is for the Second Amendment to be repealed or re-written. By advocating that the ownership of any weapon is the constitutional right of every citizen and should not be infringed, the absurdity of the Second Amendment, in a time when there are hand-held weapons that can bring down airplanes and destroy whole buildings, would become clear.