Individuals carrying handguns in public was never so much as mentioned in debates over 2nd Amdt.
The Federalists and the Anti-Federalists agreed that the main danger to the republic was tyrannical government and the ultimate check on tyrannical government was an armed population. They disagreed, however, that a bill of rights was necessary and thus the debate began. The Anti-Federalists held that a bill of rights should be incorporated into the Constitution to protect certain rights while the Federalists argued that it was unnecessary because of the limits on federal power granted by the Constitution. The Federalists had a point, if specific rights were protected by the Bill of Rights, it may be construed to mean that other rights weren't recognized or protected and there have been many a SCOTUS rulings on what's protected and what's not (abortion, flag burning, hate speech, etc.)
Now, as we know, the Constitution was ratified and then the Bill of Rights was added, the following is the statements made by the State Conventions:
New York: the people had a right to keep and bear arms and that the militia was to include all the people capable of bearing arms, not just a select few.
New Hampshire: Congress shall never disarm any citizen unless such as are or have been in Actual Rebellion.
Pennsylvania: That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own State or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed disarming the people or any of them unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals.
Massachusetts: (Adopted a Declaration of Rights) The right of the people to keep and bear arms was included as was the statement that a militia composed of the body of the people was the natural and safe defense of a free state.
North Carolina's convention proposed that a declaration of rights be added to the Constitution which explicitly identified the right of people to keep and bear arms as a natural right and one of the means necessary to the pursuit and obtainment of happiness and safety.
BUT WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH HANDGUNS IN PUBLIC I hear you yelling at me. Quite simply, while it's true that there may have been no debating on whether or not handguns should be held in public, likewise there was no debating on whether or not long guns should be held in public.
The debate wasn't about firearms in public at all, or if the people had the right to bear arms, but if a Bill of Rights should be included with the Constitution.
Keep in mind too, that just because it's not specifically mentioned in the Bill of Rights, doesn't mean that you don't have that right. I hear the voices in my head questioning me. Aren't all rights protected by the Constitution? No. well, yes, but they're all not listed. Some rights are so basic and fundamental that it shouldn't have been necessary to list them. According to the Constitution, the right to travel is only protected for Congress, but does that right extent to the public at large? Yes it does and thanks to the 9th Amendment, the right to travel for average Joe Citizen is protected as well.
Amendment IX The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Next time you hear or read about there being no debate on whether or not handguns in public was debated, remember, there was no right specifically enumerated to protect one putting cream in their coffee either. It was just so basic and fundamental that any debate was unnecessary.
What be yo opinion?