Prior to the 20th century, I'm curious as to how the 2nd amendment was understood:
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.
There doesn't seem to be any (serious) controversy in the US about whether a person should able to own heavy military weaponry (mortars, grenade launchers, chemical weapons, artillery, mines, nuclear bombs, etc.) The only (serious) disagreement is around weapons that a person can carry on his or her person.
This seems a little arbitrary to me as I think the term 'Arms' referred to more than carried weapons at the time the constitution was written. Obviously, many of the weapons listed above did not exist at that time but there were at least cannon and mortars. Was the right to "keep and bear Arms" considered to extend to any form of weaponry in the early 19th century? If it was, when did this understanding change?
On determining a Google search that I felt wouldn't cause the ATF to knock on my door, it seems that these weapons fall under the category of "destructive device" per the National Firearms Act. I read on a non-authoritative site that a permit is required to own such a device and not all states allow them to be owned at all.
Prior to that law being passed were there weapons regulations at the state level anywhere in the US?
Please refrain from discussing the current politics around firearms. Answers should only address historical understanding and precedents. Thanks.