1789 Senate action on right to arms
"On motion to amend article the fifth, by inserting these words, 'for the common defence,' next to the words 'bear arms:'
It passed in the negative.
On motion to strike out of this article, line the second, these words, 'the best,' and insert in lieu thereof 'necessary to the:'
It passed in the affirmative.
On motion, on article the fifth, to strike out the word 'fifth,' after 'article the,' and insert 'fourth,' and to amend the article to read as follows: 'A well regulated militia being the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'
It passed in the affirmative."
At this point in the drafting, the Second Amendment was in fifth position. Since "passed in the negative" was then parlance for "was voted down," the first passage documents that the Senate rejected a proposal to word the amendment as "right of the people to keep and bear arms for the common defense."
I was the discoverer of this passage, back in the mid-1980s, when I found a copy of the Journal of the First Senate sitting in Interior Department's library. If I were to guess -- the movant or at least proponent was John Adams, sitting as president of the Senate. Adams had drafted the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, which had the "for the common defense" proviso. As Steve Halbrook has documented, that provision created a bit of a stir in the state, with several communities protesting that it might allow the state government to confine all arms to its armories -- they would still be available for the common defense. The critical point here is that the Senate, which was otherwise rather liberal in amending the House's proposals, rejected this language.
In debates a few years ago, at the American Enterprise Institute, the proponent of "collective rights" claimed that there was no record at all of the Senate deliberations. He was wrong. There are no verbatim transcripts, but there is the Journal which lists motions and votes. (Interestingly, the compilation of the House debates is actually fragmentary and noncontemporaneous. While it looks like a running log of debates, it was really compiled fifty years later by editing contemporary newspaper articles that described what went on.
BTW, the secretary of the Senate was a notorious lush, which may account for the typo in the last paragraph (he left "necessary to" out: "A well regulated militia being the security of a free state...")