Hamilton was for gun rights. Federalist #29
by Steve Svenvold
The Federalist Papers were a series of 85 newspaper articles published circa 1788 in NY State designed to convince New Yorkers (and everybody else) to ratify the newly proposed Constitution. It's all pretty heavy reading, but worth the effort!
In Federalist #29, Hamilton makes the case for employing a standing army. He says, in essence, "Hey, if we're going to have a country, then we need to protect it, right? And if we're going to protect it, we should probably do it properly. This means having a well regulated militia, hired and trained and organized at the ready because if you wait until we're invaded, and THEN gather up troops from all over, try to organize and train them and then deploy them, it will be too late. The only other way to have a well regulated militia for our protection is to make them leave their jobs and attend training as often enough to keep them proficient. This won't work.
Besides, this is like waiting for a modern town to catch on fire before you hire and train firefighters. Not a good idea. But there was a real fear of standing armies amongst the states. They had just fought a war to win their freedoms and they didn't want them taken away by anybody with a standing army. Was there any room for insurance against this?
Absolutely. I quote Hamilton in Federalist #29:
"But though the scheme of disciplining the whole nation must be abandoned as mischievous or impracticable; yet it is a matter of the utmost importance that a well-digested plan should, as soon as possible, be adopted for the proper establishment of the militia. The attention of the government ought particularly to be directed to the formation of a select corps of moderate extent, upon such principles as will really fit them for service in case of need. By thus circumscribing the plan, it will be possible to have an excellent body of well-trained militia, ready to take the field whenever the defense of the State shall require it. This will not only lessen the call for military establishments, but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist."
He's saying here that we must have a well-regulated, standing army. If the government turns the standing army against the people, the well-armed body of citizens can defend their rights, and this is the best way to do it.
In my opinion this is why the 2nd amendment is worded the way it is: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." I.e., God forbid, but we can shoot them if we absolutely have to.