It's not a 'constitutional right'.
It's a constitutionally protected 'Natural right'.
The difference is huge.
In other words, our rights are not granted by the constitution, but protected by it. We have the human right to self defense whether there is a piece of paper mentioning it or not.
We as gun owners put this issue in the wrong terms all the time. I think we need to move away from the thought of our 'right to own guns' which some people just don't or won't understand. Many folks don't understand and don't care about, or actively oppose, that right.
The proper way to phrase this is "People have a natural right to self defense, and towards that end they have a right to own the means of self defense."
The only way for anti rights activists to counter that is to say people do not have the right to defend themselves. They may perhaps realize how insane this sounds, and then say people have the right to defense, but not the right to it's means. That's akin to saying we have a right to breath, as long as we keep our head under the water.
This issue (gun ownership by citizens) might be a non-issue if couched in different terms. While many people who are not gun owners see no connection to the controversy of gun ownership, nearly everyone understands they have a right to defend themselves from criminal attack.
Every single time someone speaks about limiting gun ownership, our stock reply should be "WHY do you want to deny people their right to self defense?"
The anti-rights activists so often state they are not against gun ownership, but for 'reasonable restrictions'. They say this, but in every case they have proven to really be for elimination of personal gun ownership. If we can link personal gun ownership directly to the right of self defense, limitations become more difficult to justify.
While the framers of the constitution may have had the peoples defense against their own government in mind when they wrote the bill of rights, that does not resonate in todays world of big government and survival by wealth redistribution. Therefor the idea of defending the people against runaway government is not seen as a viable reason for gun ownership. While many find it the most important reason, many more do not understand, or even oppose, the idea of armed resistance to unjust law.
The reality is.... if slavery was the law of the land today, today's people would just knuckle under and pull the plow.
That said, what most people can agree on is that giving in to criminal attack is bad. Giving in to violent attack is worse than bad, it's suicide in most cases. People can understand the need, and right, of self defense. Thus, they can also understand needing the means of self defense.
Most people applaud the little old lady who stands up to the thug, using her weapon to save herself. Few people understand that without that weapon she is not a hero, but a crime statistic in a hospitol bed, or worse, a morgue.
We need to make THAT point clear, and make THAT the debate.