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13 8, 6:24am
The Constitution tells us who gets to decide the criteria:
"The Congress shall have the power... To provide for organizing, arming, and
, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States,
reserving to the States respectively
, the Appointment of the Officers, and the
Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress
...." (Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 16)
Congress sets the criteria, which states ensure are met.
Note also that 10 USC Subt. A, Part I, Ch. 13, § 311 defines "militia" as "all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard."
I do not know which places guns are restricted to past/present cops and friends of municipal government officers, none are in the US since McDonald v. Chicago, because the SCOTUS incorporated the Second Amendment onto the states (and even CITIES) along with all the other Bill of Rights provisions previous SCOTUS rulings applied to states via the Fourteenth Amendments Due Process Clause.
This is not as complex as the competing minority fringes make it. For all the sneers about "disarmed" European citizens, per capita gun ownership is higher in most European countries than in almost every country EXCEPT the US, yet those same countries also manage some of the worlds lowest homicide rates: Because guns are strictly REGULATED (as if for a well regulated militia) but FREELY AVAILABLE to ALL who abide by those regulations. None of this nonsense about needing to let people sell shotguns out of the back of their pickup without checking whether customers have rap sheets, lest that somehow deny guns to customers with NO rap sheet. Likewise none of this nonsense about broadcasting commercials telling four-year-olds to beg their parents for child-sized rifles firing grownup .22 shells.
A short drive from where I type lies an unsupervised Norwegian range where anyone can show up any time, raise the warning flag and start shooting: But criminals, lunatics, children and everyone who does not know how to safely maintain and operate a gun are barred by laws against such people having a gun in the first place. This is what happens when the public refuses to let the "guns for all" and "guns for none" radical fringes dominate gun policy discussions to the exclusion of the rational majority too justifiably frightened of both radical groups to allow ANY change as long as one or the other of them would dictate it. Better the flawed status quo than the far worse opposing extremes on offer.
Bottom line: I fully support any gun ownership by everyone competent and no one incompetent, and with equal fervor. The US Code defines the militia as pretty much every law-abiding adult citizen, while the Constitution expressly empowers Congress to regulate (or "discipline") that militia and the states to maintain that discipline. The highly variable nature of US gun policy is a good example of why there is no state right to decide who gets what CIVIL rights. Likewise abortion, another issue where radical fringes ensure laws in some US states are far more but those in others far less restrictive than Europes. For an even better example of why states rights trump federal authority but not individual rights: Slavery. The Bill of Rights made the heirarchy quite clear: Federal authority>state authority>individual authority, but individual rights>state rights>federal "rights."