A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.Pretty clearly an argument for either a standing army or for a well trained militia not individual ownership. However, according to AWR Hawkins PhD the meaning of the quote is:
When George Washington wrote that “free people ought … to be armed,” he gave us a clue as to the kind of America the Founders envisioned. It was one where the government stayed within its bounds, carrying out its limited duties while leaving the people free to exercise their rights and liberties.If you ignore the full quote and misrepresent it; sure, it can mean whatever you want it to.
Not content with misrepresenting Washington, our PhD insists that
during the 1930s Mahatma Gandhi bemoaned the fact that Great Britain had forcibly disarmed his people. He saw it as not simply a denial of the right to possess a weapon but as something that cut much deeper: “Spiritually, compulsory disarmament has made us unmanly … has made us think we cannot look after ourselves or put up a defense against foreign aggression, or even defend our homes and families.”The full quote:
Spiritually, compulsory disarmament has made us unmanly, and the presence of an alien army of occupation, employed with deadly effect to crush in us the spirit of resistance, has made us think that we cannot look after ourselves or put up a defense against foreign aggression, or even defend our homes and families from the attacks of thieves, robbers and miscreants.Ghandi is, on the one hand, condemning colonialism as a means of infantilizing Indians and, on the other, denying that arms mean or make freedom.
"We hold it to be a crime against man and God to submit any longer to a rule that has caused this fourfold disaster to our country. We recognize, however, that the most effective way of gaining our freedom is not through violence. We will therefore prepare ourselves by withdrawing, so far as we can, all voluntary association from the British Government, and will prepare for civil disobedience, including nonpayment of taxes. We are convinced that if we can but withdraw our voluntary help and stop payment of taxes without doing violence, even under provocation, the end of this inhuman rule is assured. We therefore hereby solemnly resolve to carry out the Congress instructions issued from time to time for the purpose of establishing Purna Swaraj.