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Montana Moves to Guarantee the Availability of Ammunition

January 23, 2015 Leave a comment

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MONTANA SHOOTING SPORTS ASSOCIATION AND ABOUT THE 15 PRO GUN BILLS WE HAVE LINED UP FOR THIS 2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION: http://www.mtssa.org/?page_id=172

There is a serious threat to our right to bear arms because of narrow, monolithic and federally-controlled manufacture of essential ammunition components, smokeless powder (propellant), primers and cartridge brass. For example, there are only two manufacturers of smokeless powder in the U.S., one plant owned by defense contractor General Dynamics and another owned by defense contractor Alliant Systems (ATK). All other smokeless powder used in the U.S. is imported, and subject to immediate and arbitrary import restrictions. And, General Dynamics and Alliant Systems are subject to a standard condition of military contracts that 100% of their production may be commandeered for military use at any time.

Without ammunition, our firearms and our right to bear ammunition are worth nothing.

We propose certain incentives to encourage small-scale production of ammunition components in Montana. That model includes offering liability protection to future producers, providing that such producers qualify for existing state assistance with financing, and will include a 20-year tax amnesty from start of business, which would give up zero current tax income to the state but would provide jobs for Montana.

Montana Moves to Guarantee the Availability of Ammunition

It’s downright strange.  And more than slightly suspicious.

One of our spokesmen will be on talk-radio in some distant part of the country, and the first caller will ask a familiar question: “Why has all of the ammunition flown off the shelves?”

There are a variety of answers to this question, but many of them revolve around the same three words.  And those words are: Barack Hussein Obama.

Under Obama, for some reason, agencies like FEMA and the IRS have suddenly found it necessary to make large ammunition purchases.

In addition, Obama has banned the import of Russian made 7N6 6.45×39 ammunition using questionable legal justification, and this may be just the beginning.

Private gun owners have made atypically large purchases because of a fear of what Obama and his disciples might do next.  And the paucity of ammunition on the shelves in many places has created a self-perpetuating cycle.

Perhaps for this reason, Montana state Senator Matt Rosendale has introduced Senate Bill 122 — a bill which would use Montana’s considerable resources to encourage the manufacture and sale of ammunition in Montana: CONTINUE READING GOA ARTICLE: http://www.gunowners.org/state01222015a.htm

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MONTANA SHOOTING SPORTS ASSOCIATION AND ABOUT THE 15 PRO GUN BILLS WE HAVE LINED UP FOR THIS 2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION: http://www.mtssa.org/?page_id=172

Shall We Wait Until They Come For Us?

September 27, 2013 2 comments

Shall We Wait Until They Come for Us?

American Revolution Shall We WaitMilitia News – by Andrew Reid

The first American Revolution started with a few brave people. In the beginning most colonists were not ready to take on the world’s best trained and equipped military. And we forget that most of the people who pledged at the signing did lose either their lives or fortunes before it was all over but none lost their sacred honor. Today, few understand the concept of sacred honor.

As I write this there are forces drumming the concept of sacred honor out of the military. Every day another right is quietly transformed into one that requires permission in order to be exercised. And still we go on thinking that things have not quite risen to the level requiring us to take action.  

So far, we cannot speak out of turn at a public meeting or we are arrested; we cannot wear apparel that has politically incorrect statements or pictures on it particularly in school; you cannot pass out literature on a college campus without permission even if it is a copy of the Constitution and it is Constitution day; you cannot shoot an imaginary gun at your own home from your own property without being expelled from school; we cannot carry a gun – even in States that have open carry laws- if it frightens someone; we cannot express our religious beliefs in public; if you are in the military you cannot discuss your faith with another soldier even if you are a Chaplain; if you say anything derogatory about Islam you are islamaphobic, a term invented by leftists who want to write laws banning this breach of politically correct etiquette but there is no such word as Chritianophobic or Christophobic; If you are a Muslim you can teach lies but if you are a Christian you may not teach the truth.

Few remember, I am sure, that as Nazi Germany began to rear its head, one of the first manifestations was that school children had to fill out a questionnaire about their families. Among the questions were a few about each student’s ethnic origins and that of their parents and relatives. The kids had to take them home and have them back the next day. Many parents recognized that what looked like a simple survey was indeed trouble, especially the Jewish parents. The Jewish parents were afraid to buck the system because by this time everyone had seen what the Brown Shirts did to people who did not comply and the parents who were of Aryan origins understood that this was not about them.

Not long after those papers were turned in, parents of the Jewish children were notified that their kids would not be allowed to go to college and later the bar was lowered to eighth grade and later still to 4th grade. Along the way they had to turn in their guns then they were made to sew a star on their clothes so they were easily identifiable, then Aryans were not allowed to patronize their shops; then Jews were forced to sell their shops to Aryans for whatever they could get; then they had to sell their chattel to Aryans and give the money they got to the government and so on. The last step for many was a Notice of Deportation which for most meant they were going to a camp from which most did not return.

Today the accusation of an infraction of an environmental or USDA law can result in being descended upon by armored personnel carriers loaded with heavily armed police in helmets and flack jackets and may result in employees standing against the wall not allowed to ask questions about their status while storm troopers rummage through file cabinets collecting evidence. Now I realize this has not yet happened to you but I hope you know that these demonstrations of force are meant to let you know that if you do not stay in line, this and worse can happen to you.

We are witnessing the same progression today that occurred in pre second World War II Germany. Your rights are being curtailed a little at a time and you are being shown what will happen if you resist. Members of the press, and elected officials are being threatened implicitly and explicitly. Every day another protection fades. How long do you think we should wait?

Written by Andrew Reid.

http://www.militianews.com/shall-we-wait-until-they-come-for-us/

TWG NOTE:  Many of us, at some point, have asked the question “What’s it going to take before the American people have had enough?”  Well, we thought that time would come when they started disarming and abusing our Beloved Veterans.  Clearly we were sadly mistaken, because that time arrived long ago and we haven’t done a damned thing about it.   (We also see several Veterans and active members of our military supporting this marxist regime we have today, but that’s another blog post.)

I wonder what it’s going to take before the American people will stand and prove AG eric holder wrong when he said “America has become a Nation of COWARDS.”  What we’ve tolerated thus far is absolutely shameful.

(How many of you know that obama’s racist weapons trafficker, eric holder, is an armed terrorist who participated in an armed takeover of the military offices at his college?  You didn’t know that?  I didn’t think so.   If you care, go HERE and see what he did.)

WHAT IS THE UNITED STATES MILITIA?  Have the media, “educators” and other terrorists within the White House and Pentagon got you spooked about using that word?  You can learn the truth about it here:  http://www.awrm.org/mission.htm

What’s it going to take, America?  How much history are we going to repeat?  Did we not learn from the past?  Was AG holder correct?

obamahitlerstalin

Mass. Anti-Gun Proposal Yanked After ‘Hundreds’ of Pro-Gun Supporters Turn Out

February 21, 2013 Leave a comment

TWG: One of these days, hopefully soon, Americans who still care about the future of this Nation and for our children will rise up and show these ignorant, gun grabbing bitches why our Second Amendment was written.

Anti-Gun Proposal Yanked After ‘Hundreds’ of Pro-Gun Supporters Turn Out

Feb. 21, 2013 5:25pm

One of liberals’ favorite arguments for the impermanence of the Second Amendment is the argument that, because the prefatory clause of the amendment discusses “a well-regulated militia,” the right to keep and bear arms is only protected in a militia context. Now it appears that at least one local official in a deep blue state tried to put that theory to the test and failed. From the Westford Eagle of Westford, Massachusetts:

A gun control debate that was meant to bring discussion to the Town Meeting floor fizzled in Westford last night (Feb. 20) when Selectman Robert Jefferies withdrew his warrant article seeking to amend the town’s firearms bylaw.[…]

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CONTINUE READING: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/21/mass-town-politicians-bizarre-militia-and-anti-gun-proposal-yanked-after-hundreds-of-pro-gun-supporters-turn-out/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Posse Comitatus Act kicked to the roadside by feds, say critics


{TWG Note: This is a nightmare that has become a very real and dangerous  threat.  You can learn more about the “Posse Comitatus Act” HERE ]

 

Jim Kouri's photo

Law Enforcement Examiner

The new defense authorization act all but erases decades of U.S. government compliance with the letter and the spirit of the Posse Comitatus Act 1878,  a law that prohibits the use of the U.S. military to perform law enforcement functions within the United States, according to police officials and others opposed to the militarizing of American law enforcement. 

Provisions in the new authorization act allow military reservists — Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines — to be called to duty and deployed in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency within the homeland, as well as mobilization of reserve units to support counterterrorism and security missions overseas, according to the American Forces Press Service’s Donna Miles.

“Except for a crisis involving a weapon of mass destruction, the reserves historically have been prohibited from providing a homeland disaster response,” Army Lt. General Jack C. Stultz, the Army Reserve chief, told reporters on Friday. …(Con’t)

 

CONTINUE READING: http://www.examiner.com/article/posse-comitatus-act-kicked-to-the-roadside-by-feds-say-critics

Obama Threatens 14 US Governors With Immediate Arrest

May 14, 2012 13 comments

[TWG Note: If this doesn’t send shivers through your spine, I don’t know what would.  This is some extremely frightening stuff here, folks…….  tick tock tick tock tick tock]

 

A chilling report from the Foreign Military Intelligence Directorate (GRU) prepared for Prime Minister Putin warns today that United States President Barack Obama has had served on 14 US Governors National Security Letters (NSLs) warning that if their actions in attempting to form what are called State Defense Forces are not halted they will face “immediate” arrest for the crime of treason.

The use of NSLs in the United States was authorized by the Patriot Act law enacted after the September 11, 2001 attacks and forbids anyone receiving them from even acknowledging their existence, and was reauthorized by Obama’s “rubberstamp” Congress this past February over the objections of both civil and human rights groups who warned they mimic similar type “government security notices” enacted under both the former German Nazi and Soviet Communist regimes.

To the issue angering Obama against these State Governors, this report continues, is their attempt to reestablish what are called State Defense Forces which are described as follows:

“State Defense Forces (SDF) (also known as State Guards, State Military Reserves, or State Militias) in the United States are military units that operate under the sole authority of a state government; they are not regulated by the National Guard Bureau nor are they part of the Army National Guard of the United States.

State Defense Forces are authorized by state and federal law and are under the command of the governor of each state. State Defense Forces are distinct from their state’s National Guard in that they cannot become federal entities.

The federal government recognizes State Defense Forces under 32 U.S.C. § 109 which provides that State Defense Forces as a whole may not be called, ordered, or drafted into the Armed Forces of the United States, thus preserving their separation from the National Guard.”

Important to note is that Obama, as President of the United States is also its most powerful military leader known by the term of Commander in Chief, and is authorized by the Militia Act of 1903 to federalize his individual States National Guard Forces putting them under his command, something he does not have the power to do with State Defense Forces.

Obama’s fear of these State Defense Forces, this report says, rests with his not having power over them, and with the bulk of the US Military Forces he does control being stretched to near breaking with the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would leave these State military forces under the control of these Governors in “defacto control” of the United States.

The two US Governors spearheading this rebellion against Obama, this report states, are the Republican opposition party Governors of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty and Texas, Rick Perry; both of whom have a deep fear their President is destroying their Nation.

Governor Pawlenty’s fear of Obama is that since he took office he has appeased America’s enemies while at the same time shunning some of America’s most stalwart allies, especially Israel.  Governor Pawlenty recently castigated Obama for abandoning the US missile defense plan for Europe by saying, “The lessons of history are clear: Appeasement and weakness did not stop the Nazis, did not stop the Soviets, and did not stop the terrorists before 9/11. We must stand strong with allies like Israel and eastern Europe in the face of growing challenges to our national security.”

Governor Perry has blasted Obama and warned his fellow Texans that the President is “hell bent on socialism” and is punishing his State by dumping tens-of-thousands of illegal Mexican immigrants into their cities and small towns. Governor Perry further warned Texans that that if “Barack Obama’s Washington doesn’t stop being so oppressive, Texans might feel compelled to renounce their American citizenry and secede from the union.”

Note: Following the end of the Civil War the rights of the individual US States to succeed from the Union was heard by their Supreme Court in a case called Texas v. White (1869) and who ruled that the Constitution did not permit States to secede from the United States, and that the ordinances of secession, and all the acts of the legislatures within seceding States intended to give effect to such ordinances, were “absolutely null”. However, the decision did allow some possibility of divisibility “through revolution, or through consent of the States.”

Obama, in fearing a revolution against him by the States, this report continues, has moved swiftly against them, including nationalizing nearly all National Guard Forces in Governor Pawlenty’s Minnesota in what is being described as their State’s largest call up of troops since World War II.  Other reports coming from the United States are stating that Obama has also nationalized the National Guard forces in Georgia, Alabama, Kansas, and perhaps Texas too.

Though Obama may have taken from these dissident States their National Guard forces, the Governors of the States of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia still have under their sole command their State Defense Forces to go against US Federal forces.

Important to note in this report is its stating that there are no US laws prohibiting National Guard troops from also joining their State’s Defense Forces, but would create a dilemma for those soldiers should they be called to service by them both at the same time.  This dilemma occurred for many American soldiers during their Civil War with the great majority of them choosing to serve their States instead of the Federal Government.

To Governor Pawlenty’s fears of Obama appeasing America’s enemies, while at the same time harming its longstanding allies, their remains no doubt as during this past week alone he has put Israel’s security in grave danger by releasing previously classified US documents relating to their nuclear programme, while at the same time removing sanctions on Russian arms makers supplying Iran. And in a move that even Russian military analysts are calling “insane”, Obama this week said he has decided to pre-announce to the World once-secret American ballistic missile tests and satellite launches.

To Governor Perry’s fears of Obama socializing the United States their remains no doubt either, and as we can read as reported yesterday by the USA Today News Service:

“Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year, a USA TODAY analysis of government data finds.

At the same time, government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010.

Those records reflect a long-term trend accelerated by the recession and the federal stimulus program to counteract the downturn. The result is a major shift in the source of personal income from private wages to government programs.”

And in an even worse move against his own people who are still struggling to survive the growing Global economic collapse, new reports from the United States are stating that a “secret” programme found hidden in Obama’s socialist healthcare law called the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act (CLASS Act) is about to take from them another $150-$250 a month from their paychecks forcing tens of millions more of them into abject poverty and debt slavery.

To the final outcome of these events it is not in our knowing, other than to remind these Americans of Dr. Igor Panarin’s 2008 prediction of the fate lying in store for them, and as we can read as reported by London’s Telegraph News Service in their article titled “US will collapse and break up, Russian analyst predicts”, and which says:

“Igor Panarin, a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian foreign affairs ministry, said the economic turmoil in the US had confirmed his long-held belief that the country was heading for extinction in its present form.

In an interview with the Russian newspaper Izvestia, he outlined how the US would divide along ethnic and cultural lines.

They are: the Pacific coast with its growing Chinese population; the increasingly Hispanic South; independence-minded Texas; the Atlantic Coast; a central state with a large Native American population; and the northern states where – he maintains – Canadian influence is strong.

Alaska could be claimed by Russia, he said, claiming that the region was “only granted on lease, after all”.

He said the country’s break-up would be accelerated by rising unemployment and Americans losing their savings.

“The dollar isn’t secured by anything. The country’s foreign debt has grown like an avalanche; this is a pyramid, which has to collapse,” said Prof Panarin.”

And to those Americans believing they will be able to defend themselves against the fast approaching onslaught meant to destroy them they should think again, for even as these words are being written, Obama, through the United Nations, is preparing to disarm them all under the so called UN Treaty On Arms Control that he ordered his government to sign.

The late great American dissident comedian George Carlin once said, “It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it”….one can only hope these poor souls will awaken from their long slumber before all is lost.

www.whatdoesitmean.com/index1375.htm  

© May 26, 2010 EU and US all rights reserved

SOURCE: http://beforeitsnews.com/story/49/821/Obama_Threatens_14_US_Governors_With_Immediate_Arrest.html

The Militia Of The United States Of America and The Enemy Within

February 17, 2012 Leave a comment

The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the high powers delegated directly to the citizen, and is excepted out of the general powers of government. A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power.” ~Cockrum v. State

 

The right is general. It may be supposed from the phraseology of this provision that the right to keep and bear arms was only guaranteed to the militia; but this would be an interpretation not warranted by the intent. The militia, as has been explained elsewhere, consists of those persons who, under the law, are liable to the performance of military duty, and are officered and enrolled for service when called upon. . . . [I]f the right were limited to those enrolled, the purpose of the guarantee might be defeated altogether by the action or the neglect to act of the government it was meant to hold in check. The meaning of the provision undoubtedly is, that the people, from whom the militia must be taken, shall have the right to keep and bear arms, and they need no permission or regulation of law for that purpose.” ~Thomas Cooley

 

Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American … the unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.” ~Tench Coxe

 

It is not the function of the government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.” ~Justice Robert H. Jackson

 

It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freeman of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle.” ~James Madison

What is the Militia?  It is YOU.  To learn about the Militia and why it is necessary, read more: http://www.awrm.org/mission.htm

******************************************************************

David Codrea's photo

Gun Rights Examiner

Part One: Time enough for love

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.” —Patrick Henry, Speech in the Virginia Convention, June 5, 1788

We the People, by and large, have given up that force, abdicating it through ignorance, laziness and apathy.  And that includes most members of that citizen militia the Founders deemed “necessary to the security of a free State.”

Henry’s contemporary, and in many ways, ideological opposite, would not have been surprised.

“The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious,” Alexander Hamilton warned in Federalist 29.

“A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice… to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people,” he observed. “Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large than to have them properly armed and equipped.”

Continue reading on Examiner.com The enemy within – National gun rights | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-national/the-enemy-within?CID=examiner_alerts_article#ixzz1mfAiji18

The Militia and the Mexican Border


 

 With the current (and ongoing) situation at our border with Mexico I’m curious why our Militia haven’t been dispatched in those states to help secure our borders and protect our people.

OUR Country and it’s people are under seige and under major attack by illegal aliens coming through the Mexican border. We’ve also seen an influx of OTM’s (Other Than Mexicans – Read syrians, iranians, jordanians, turkish, and other Muslim middle easterners and those who originate in States that Sponsor Terrorism)

 Our Federal Government isn’t doing ANYTHING to help those states and the Government in those states are crying out. They need help!

I’m going to take some time and look into the militia to see if what I’m thinking is fact.  I mean, really. It seems to me that if there were ever a time for the United States Militia to step in and help, it would be today. 

But then, what do I know? I didn’t get one of those high falootin’ lawyer degrees and I don’t even play a lawyer on tv.

In the meantime, here’s a few documents I thought you might want to read.  I’ll post my research here after I’ve had a chance to look at several angles.

Oh, and by the way……

I AM a member of the militia.  And so are most of you.

 

 

What is the militia?

**********************************

 

Source: http://www.awrm.org/mission.htm

Go look in the mirror and you will have the answer. The militia, contrary to the insistence of the media [and leftist hate groups such as the SPLC], is not an “anti-government hate group.” It is not a group of uneducated, backwoods, inbred, hicks who date their sisters. It is not made up of malcontents bent on destroying America. Militiamen are not misfits, they are not psychologically damaged mental defectives.

They are you…

The unorganized militia (legally speaking) is made up of “…all able bodied males between the ages of 17 and 45…” We are all militia. You, me, your dad, your neighbor, your brother, your boss, your dry cleaner, the mail man, the stock boy at the grocery store, the cook at your favorite restaurant, and the cable guy are all members of the unorganized militia.

You might be asking scratching your head thinking that we don’t need a militia…what good can they do anyway. You ask, and I’ll answer… It was the unorganized militia that brought down that plane in Pennsylvania on September 11 and prevented it from reaching it’s target. Now I’ll bet your saying, “What? Huh? That was just ordinary people.” My point exactly. Ordinary people are the militia.

But, don’t take my word for it, read the words of the founding fathers:

“Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms
each man against his own bosom? Congress shall have no power to disarm the militia.
Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an
American … The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or
state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the People.”

— Tench Coxe, 1788.

“And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from
time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take
arms…the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood
of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

— Thomas Jefferson

“Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared
to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic
purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice
for that freedom.”

— John F. Kennedy
(okay, so JFK was’t a founding father, but this quote is just as valid as any)

Or if you would rather, take a look at the actual legal definition of the militia as set forth in the United States Code:

Section 311 of US Code Title 10, entitled, “Militia: composition and classes” in its entirety:

“(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b) The classes of the militia are —

(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.”

Still doubtful? Check it out for yourself at Findlaw.com

Now that we have covered what the militia is, you are probably wondering what it has to do with you. We have already established that every member of American society is in fact militia. You can stop now, and leave this site, and nothing will change, you will go about your life, but you will still be a member of the militia, the choice to take that responsibility seriously is one that all militiamen have to make on their own.

How does one “take the responsibility seriously?” Train. Simply owning a gun does not a minuteman make. Owning arms is the birthright of every American, and the duty of every militiaman, but it does not end there. In order to be a more effective militiaman, you must train. The extent and depth of that training is entirely up to you. If you own a rifle, and you take it to the range and practice, you have taken part in militia training. If you take to the hills for a camping or hiking trip, you have completed militia training…….

Source: http://www.awrm.org/mission.htm

*************************BEGIN GUNCITE ARTICLE****************************

Source: http://www.guncite.com/gc2ndmea.html

 

The Second Amendment:

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.

Militia

The word “militia” has several meanings. It can be a body of citizens (no longer exclusively male) enrolled for military service where full time duty is required only in emergencies. The term also refers to the eligible pool of citizens callable into military service. (dictionary.com)The federal government can use the militia for the following purposes as stated in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution: 

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

Is today’s National Guard the militia? It is a part of the well-regulated militia.[1] (As mentioned in GunCite’s, The Original Intent and Purpose of the Second Amendment, it was not the intent of the framers to restrict the right to keep arms to only those serving active militia duty.)For a definition of today’s militia as defined, by statute, in the United States Code, click here.

A militia is always subject to federal, state, or local government control. A “private” militia or army not under government control could be considered illegal and in rebellion, and as a result subject to harsh punishment. (See Macnutt, Karen L., Militias, Women and Guns Magazine, March, 1995.)

Some argue that since the militias are “owned,” or under the command of the states, that the states are free to disarm their militia if they so choose, and therefore of course no individual right to keep arms exists. The Militia is not “owned,” rather it is controlled, organized, et. cetera, by governments. The federal government as well as the states have no legitimate power to disarm the people from which militias are organized. Unfortunately, few jurists today hold this view. (See Reynolds, Glen Harlan, A Critical Guide to the Second Amendment, 62 Tenn. L. Rev. 461-511 [1995].)

A brief summary of early U.S. militia history.

Well Regulated

The Random House College Dictionary (1980) gives four definitions for the word “regulate,” which were all in use during the Colonial period and one more definition dating from 1690 (Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition, 1989). They are:

1) To control or direct by a rule, principle, method, etc.2) To adjust to some standard or requirement as for amount, degree, etc.3) To adjust so as to ensure accuracy of operation.4) To put in good order. 

[obsolete sense]b. Of troops: Properly disciplined. Obs. rare-1.

1690 Lond. Gaz. No. 2568/3 We hear likewise that the French are in a great Allarm in Dauphine and Bresse, not having at present 1500 Men of regulated Troops on that side.

We can begin to deduce what well-regulated meant from Alexander Hamilton’s words in Federalist Paper No. 29:

The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious if it were capable of being carried into execution. A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, nor a week nor even a month, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry and of the other classes of the citizens to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people and a serious public inconvenience and loss.
        — The Federalist Papers, No. 29.

Hamilton indicates a well-regulated militia is a state of preparedness obtained after rigorous and persistent training. Note the use of ‘disciplining’ which indicates discipline could be synonymous with well-trained.

This quote from the Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 also conveys the meaning of well regulated:

Resolved , That this appointment be conferred on experienced and vigilant general officers, who are acquainted with whatever relates to the general economy, manoeuvres and discipline of a well regulated army.
        — Saturday, December 13, 1777.

In the passage that follows, do you think the U.S. government was concerned because the Creek Indians’ tribal regulations were superior to those of the Wabash or was it because they represented a better trained and disciplined fighting force?

That the strength of the Wabash Indians who were principally the object of the resolve of the 21st of July 1787, and the strength of the Creek Indians is very different. That the said Creeks are not only greatly superior in numbers but are more united, better regulated, and headed by a man whose talents appear to have fixed him in their confidence. That from the view of the object your Secretary has been able to take he conceives that the only effectual mode of acting against the said Creeks in case they should persist in their hostilities would be by making an invasion of their country with a powerful body of well regulated troops always ready to combat and able to defeat any combination of force the said Creeks could oppose and to destroy their towns and provisions.
        — Saturday, December 13, 1777.

I am unacquainted with the extent of your works, and consequently ignorant of the number or men necessary to man them. If your present numbers should be insufficient for that purpose, I would then by all means advise your making up the deficiency out of the best regulated militia that can be got.
        — George Washington (The Writings of George Washington, pp. 503-4, (G.P. Putnam & Sons, pub.)(1889))

The above quote is clearly not a request for a militia with the best set of regulations. (For brevity the entire passage is not shown and this quote should not be construed to imply Washington favored militias, in fact he thought little of them, as the full passage indicates.)

But Dr Sir I am Afraid it would blunt the keen edge they have at present which might be keept sharp for the Shawnese &c: I am convinced it would be Attended by considerable desertions. And perhaps raise a Spirit of Discontent not easily Queld amongst the best regulated troops, but much more so amongst men unused to the Yoak of Military Discipline.
        — Letter from Colonel William Fleming to Col. Adam Stephen, Oct 8, 1774, pp. 237-8. (Documentary History of Dunmore’s War, 1774, Wisconsin historical society, pub. (1905))

And finally, a late-17th century comparison between the behavior of a large collection of seahorses and well-regulated soldiers:

One of the Seamen that had formerly made a Greenland Voyage for Whale-Fishing, told us that in that country he had seen very great Troops of those Sea-Horses ranging upon Land, sometimes three or four hundred in a Troop: Their great desire, he says, is to roost themselves on Land in the Warm Sun; and Whilst they sleep, they apppoint one to stand Centinel, and watch a certain time; and when that time’s expir’d, another takes his place of Watching, and the first Centinel goes to sleep, &c. observing the strict Discipline, as a Body of Well-regulated Troops
        — (Letters written from New-England, A. D. 1686. P. 47, John Dutton (1867))

The quoted passages support the idea that a well-regulated militia was synonymous with one that was thoroughly trained and disciplined, and as a result, well-functioning. That description fits most closely with the “to put in good order” definition supplied by the Random House dictionary. The Oxford dictionary’s definition also appears to fit if one considers discipline in a military context to include or imply well-trained.

What about the Amendment’s text itself? Considering the adjective “well” and the context of the militia clause, which is more likely to ensure the security of a free state, a militia governed by numerous laws (or the proper amount of regulation [depending on the meaning of “well”] ) or a well-disciplined and trained militia? This brief textual analysis also suggests “to put in good order” is the correct interpretation of well regulated, signifying a well disciplined, trained, and functioning militia.

And finally, when regulated is used as an adjective, its meaning varies depending on the noun its modifying and of course the context. For example: well regulated liberty (properly controlled), regulated rifle (adjusted for accuracy), and regulated commerce (governed by regulations) all express a different meaning for regulated. This is by no means unusual, just as the word, bear, conveys a different meaning depending on the word it modifies: bearing arms, bearing fruit, or bearing gifts.

Security of a Free State

Most likely “security of a free State” is synonymous with “security of a free country,” as opposed to security of one of the States of the Union against federal oppression (see UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh’s commentary).

The People

As ample evidence illustrates below, the people, as referred to in the Constitution at the time it was written, was synonymous with citizens. Also shown below, some scholars mistakenly assume that when the Constitution refers to “the people,” a collective right or entity is referenced. However, that notion is incorrect. When the term “the people” is used, it could be referring to a right that is exercised individually, collectively, or both, depending on context. Of course, the meaning of the term “the people” is the same regardless.

Why wasn’t “person” or “persons” used instead of “the people” when enumerating certain individual rights? “Persons,” as referred to in the Constitution, signified a wider class of people than citizens. Persons included slaves. For example, Article 2, clause 3 of the Constitution refers to slaves as persons, but they were never considered as citizens or a part of the people: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.” (U.S. Constitution)

The Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights begins:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”

“The people” in the Fourth Amendment obviously refers to an individual right. (The phrase “in their persons” means people themselves [their bodies] cannot be unreasonably seized or searched. Compare the 14th Amendment from Virginia’s proposed declaration of rights to the Constitution [also written by James Madison] to the 4th Amendment: “That every freeman has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches and seizures of his person, his papers…” “Persons” in the 4th Amendment is used to match the plural “people.”)

One of James Madison’s proposed amendments:

“The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.”

Would anybody in their right mind suggest Madison proposed a collective right to speak, write, or publish their thoughts?

Looking at other declarations of rights from the time clearly shows “the people,” being used in conjunction with the enumeration of indvidual rights.

For example, Article XIII of Pennsylvania’s 1776 Declaration of Rights states:

“That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state…”

Article XII from the same declaration says:

“That the people have a right to freedom of speech, and of writing, and publishing their sentiments; therefore the freedom of the press ought not to be restrained.”

In both of the above examples, “the people” means each citizen. Would anyone seriously suggest that Article XII protects only a “collective right,” or that the people’s freedom of speech and writing is limited to those who posses a printing press or to works appearing in the news media?

Yet, there are those claiming “it is far from obvious that the meaning of the phrase ‘defense of themselves’ should be interpreted as a statement of individual rights.'” (Saul Cornell, “Don’t Know Much About History” at p. 674. See also pp. 675-77.)

Cornell states, “One of the most serious problems with individual rights theory is that it makes it impossible to understand why some states embraced a new formulation of the right to bear arms in the nineteenth century. Rather than assert a right to ‘bear arms for the defense of themselves and the state,’ the new Jacksonian constitutional formulation of this right asserted that ‘each person has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.’ Indeed, the shift in language between the Founding Era and the Jacksonian period itself provides one of the best arguments against reading the earlier languague as advancing an individual right. There would have been little need to adopt the new formulation if the old one were widely understood to protect an individual right.” (Cornell, St. George Tucker and the Second Amendment at pp. 1140-41)

Unfortunately for anti-individual rights advocates the historical record refutes “one of the best arguments:”

Pennsylvania kept that same clause in a 1790 revision as follows: “That the right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned.” James Wilson, president of the convention which adopted that provision, a leading Federalist, and later Supreme Court Justice, explained it in a discussion of homicide “when it is necessary for the defence of one’s person or house.” He continued:

it is the great natural law of self preservation, which, as we have seen, cannot be repealed, or superseded, or suspended by any human institution. This law, however, is expressly recognised in the constitution of Pennsylvania. “The right of the citizens to bear arms in the defence of themselves shall not be questioned.” This is one of our many renewals of the Saxon regulations. “They were bound,” says Mr. Selden, “to keep arms for the preservation of the kingdom, and of their own persons.” [Web source of Wilson quote]

(Stephen Halbrook, St. George Tucker’s Second Amendment at p. 18)

For further refutation of the notion that “in defense of themselves” was referring to a collective right or one that was entirely military see Randy Barnett, Was the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Conditioned on Service in an Organized Militia? at pp. 22-3.

Again looking at Virginia’s proposed declaration of rights, from the preamble:

“That there be a Declaration or Bill of Rights asserting and securing from encroachment the essential and unalienable Rights of the People in some such manner as the following;”

Article Sixteen:

“That the people have a right to freedom of speech, and of writing and publishing their Sentiments; but the freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty and ought not to be violated.”

Article Sixteen enumerates rights that clearly can be exercised indvidually.

Roger Sherman‘s draft bill of rights clearly refers to individual rights when referring to the rights of the people (article 2 [at 983]), (Sherman was a Founder, Senator, and lawyer):

“The people have certain natural rights which are retained by them when they enter into Society, such are the rights of Conscience in matters of religion; of acquiring property and of pursuing happiness & Safety; of Speaking, writing and publishing their Sentiments with decency and freedom; of peaceably assembling to consult their common good, and of applying Government by petition or remonstrance for redress of grievances. Of these rights therefore they Shall not be deprived by the Government of the united states.”

From the Articles of Confederation:

“The people of each State shall free ingress and regress to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce…”

Hopefully the reader does not interpret the above as referring to a collective right to travel.

Yet, Yale law professor Akhil Amar claims, “when the Constitution speaks of ‘the people’ rather than ‘persons,’ the collective connotation is primary” (Second Thoughts: What the right to bear arms really means). Amar’s theory unravels when looking at all of the evidence. He tries to reconcile a portion of it writing, “The Fourth Amendment is trickier… And these words obviously focus on the private domain, protecting individuals in their private homes more than in the public square. Why, then, did the Fourth use the words ‘the people’ at all? Probably to highlight the role that jurors–acting collectively and representing the electorate–would play in deciding which searches were reasonable and how much to punish government officials who searched or seized improperly.”

Amar’s reasoning might sound plausible in today’s context, however he fails to provide an appropriate example. In 1789 jurors did not issue warrants or determine whether a search was reasonable and they could not “punish government officials who searched or seized improperly.” There was no method of suing the government in 1789 for damages resulting from the violation of civil rights. Also Amar fails to explain Madison’s draft amendment protecting the people’s right to speak and write, mentioned above.

Regardless of what the duties and responsibilities of juries were in 1789, Amar apparently does not realize that in the Constitution, person, without further qualification, refers to a wider class of individuals than the people.

Some individual rights were protected for collective purposes, the Second Amendment being one of them. However this doesn’t transform the individual right into a collective right belonging to the states or the militia. Keeping arms was a right that could be exercised individually or collectively.

Compare Amar’s opinion with that of Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe’s:

[The Second Amendment’s] central purpose is to arm “We the People” so that ordinary citizens can participate in the collective defense of their community and their state. But it does so not through directly protecting a right on the part of states or other collectivities, assertable by them against the federal government, to arm the populace as they see fit. Rather the amendment achieves its central purpose by assuring that the federal government may not disarm individual citizens without some unusually strong justification consistent with the authority of the states to organize their own militias. That assurance in turn is provided through recognizing a right (admittedly of uncertain scope) on the part of individuals to possess and use firearms in the defense of themselves and their homes–not a right to hunt for game, quite clearly, and certainly not a right to employ firearms to commit aggressive acts against other persons–a right that directly limits action by Congress or by the Executive Branch and may well, in addition, be among the privileges or immunities of United States citizens protected by � 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment against state or local government action.
(Laurence H. Tribe, 1 American Constitutional Law 902 n.221 [3d ed. 2000] [emphasis added]. [Online references here and here.])

Even this anti-individual right law journal article finds, “As to the broader context of usage within the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, those documents use “the people” in both senses: sometimes collectively, sometimes individually.” (Also see note 5 for further discussion, concluding, “In short, contrary to claims often made on both sides of the debate, the Second Amendment’s reference to ‘the people’ does not, simply as a textual matter, commit us to either an individual or a collective right interpretation of the Amendment.”)

Lastly, even the Supreme Court agrees on the meaning of “the people” as used in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

“The words ‘people of the United States’ and ‘citizens’ are synonymous terms, and mean the same thing. They both describe the political body who, according to our republican institutions, form the sovereignty, and who hold the power and conduct the Government through their representatives. They are what we familiarly call the ‘sovereign people,’ and every citizen is one of this people, and a constituent member of this sovereignty. The question before us is, whether the class of persons described in the plea in abatement compose a portion of this people, and are constituent members of this sovereignty? We think they are not, and that they are not included…” (Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 [1856])

And the dissent agrees:

“If we look into the Constitutions and State papers of that period, we find the inhabitants or people of these colonies, or the inhabitants of this State, or Commonwealth, employed to designate those whom we should now denominate citizens.”

In Adamson v. California, 1947) the Supreme Court refers to the Bill of Rights as protecting individual rights:

“The reasoning that leads to those conclusions starts with the unquestioned premise that the Bill of Rights, when adopted, was for the protection of the individual against the federal government…”

And again the dissent agrees:

“The first 10 amendments were proposed and adopted largely because of fear that Government might unduly interfere with prized individual liberties.”

More recently the Supreme Court comments on what “the people” may mean today and its distinction from “person:”

‘[T]he people’ seems to have been a term of art employed in select parts of the Constitution… While this textual exegesis is by no means conclusive, it suggests that ‘the people’ protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community… (Excludable alien is not entitled to First Amendment rights, because “[h]e does not become one of the people to whom these things are secured by our Constitution by an attempt to enter forbidden by law”). The language of these Amendments contrasts with the words ‘person’ and ‘accused’ used in the Fifth and Sixth Amendments regulating procedure in criminal cases.” (U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259 [1990])

To Keep

To “keep” arms means keeping one’s own, private, arms. For example, in response to Madison’s proposed amendments, Samuel Nasson, an Antifederalist representative to the Massachusetts ratification convention, in a letter to George Thatcher, a Federalist Representative from Massachusetts, wrote:

I find that Amendments are once again on the Carpet. I hope that such may take place as will be for the Best Interest of the whole[.] A Bill of rights well secured that we the people may know how far we may Proceade in Every Department[,] then their [sic] will be no Dispute between the people and rulers[.] [I]n that may be secured the right to keep arms for Common and Extraordinary Occations such as to secure ourselves against the wild Beast and also to amuse us by fowling and for our Defence against a Common Enemy[.] [Y]ou know to learn the Use of arms is all that can Save us from a forighn foe that may attempt to subdue us[,] for if we keep up the Use of arms and become well acquainted with them we Shall allway be able to look them in the face that arise up against us[,] for it is impossible to Support a Standing armey large Enough to Guard our Lengthy Sea Coast…I think the man that Enters as a Soldier in a time of peace only for a living is only a fit tool to enslave his fellows. (July 9, 1879) (See U.S. v. Emerson and Halbrook)

“The above is the only known correspondence from a constituent to a Congressman which explained the understanding of the proposal that became the Second Amendment (source).” It is clear that Nasson read a broad personal right to keep arms in the proposed amendment, unconditioned upon militia service, and that familiarity and practice with arms enabled the citizenry to effectively oppose an invasion or tyranny by a standing army.

For refutation of claims that “keep” was not intended to guarantee a private right to arms, see Guncite’s “Is there Contrary Evidence?”

To Bear Arms

“Bearing arms,” throughout the 18th century, most likely meant to serve as a soldier or to fight (including bearing arms against another man in individual self-defense). Where the term “bear arms” appears, itself, without further modifiers it did not infer a broader meaning such as hunting or the mere carrying or wearing of arms.

For example, Roger Sherman, during House consideration of a militia bill (1790) refers to bearing arms as an individual right of self-defense (against other individuals) as well as a right belonging to the states:

[C]onceived it to be the privilege of every citizen, and one of his most essential rights, to bear arms, and to resist every attack upon his liberty or property, by whomsoever made. The particular states, like private citizens, have a right to be armed, and to defend, by force of arms, their rights, when invaded.
         14 Debates in the House of Representatives, ed. Linda Grand De Pauw. (Balt., Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1972), 92-3.

Thus the term bearing arms was understood as not referring exclusively to military service.Although without modifying terms, as mentioned above, bearing arms probably did not refer to the mere carrying or hunting with arms.The Second Amendment as passed by the House of Representatives read:

A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the People, being the best security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person. (source)

In the conscientious objector clause, “bearing arms” clearly conveys an exclusively military or fighting connotation, and thus it would seem “to bear arms” also has a military meaning. Otherwise, we are talking about different meanings associated with the same word within the same amendment. Highly improbable, especially since most of the framers were lawyers.If one examines the House discussion of the proposed Second Amendment, it is clear that bearing arms could only have meant military service or fighting. Quakers, as mentioned in the House discussion, were scrupulous of bearing arms. Quakers were allowed to hunt (source), but were opposed to “war against any man” (source).Further, the comments of Representative Vining (from the House discussion) show that bearing arms was synonymous with fighting:

Mr. Vining hoped the clause would be suffered to remain as it stood, because he saw no use in it if it was amended so as to compel a man to find a substitute, which, with respect to the Government, was the same as if the person himself turned out to fight (source).

Note, the drafters did not use “keeping and bearing” in connection with the conscientious objector clause, although they obviously could have.Some would argue that serving in a militia wasn’t a right, but a duty. In the 18th century it was considered both, as the evidence from two state constitutional provisions (source) unambiguously illustrates:

North Carolina (1776) (unchanged until 1868): “That the people have a right to bear arms, for the defence of the State…”

Massachusetts: (1780): The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence.

Comments from Tench Coxe provide further evidence:

Coxe noted that Pennsylvania excluded free Blacks from “the right to enter militia and to partake of public arms,” and that the states “deny them the use of the public arms (source).”

Since the 18th century was filled with war, one might counter that, of course, when the term “bearing arms” was used without accompanying modifiers, its use always referred to martial activities, and as a result there weren’t opportunities to refer to bearing arms in a broader context. However, as some of the above examples illustrate, the term was often used where a broader meaning, such as mere carrying, could not be derived (eg., scrupulous of bearing arms). Further, there was plenty of opportunity to use “bearing arms” in a context similar to carrying, but it doesn’t appear to have been used that way. “Bearing arms” was used in statutes to forbid blacks or Indians from serving or enrolling in the militia, however when referring to civilian gun use by these same persons, terms such as keep and carry were used. (For example, see St. George Tucker’s use of the term “bear arms” and “carrying any gun” in this passage.)Often, the following, in this case excerpted from U.S. v. Emerson (see Part V [Second Amendment], C [Text], 1 [Substantive Guarantee], b [Bear Arms]), is used as an attempt to show bearing arms was synonymous with carrying:

Also revealing is a bill drafted by Thomas Jefferson and proposed to the Virginia legislature by James Madison (the author of the Second Amendment) on October 31, 1785, that would impose penalties upon those who violated hunting laws if they “shall bear a gun out of his [the violator’s] inclosed ground, unless whilst performing military duty.”

To bear a gun or bear an arm is a different construction than bearing arms. The former normally refers to the mere carrying of arms rather than actual military service or fighting with arms.Another, more seriously erroneous, example, also cited by Emerson and others:

A similar indication that “bear arms” was a general description of the carrying of arms by anyone is found in the 1828 edition of Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language; where the third definition of bear reads: “[t]o wear; to bear as a mark of authority or distinction, as, to bear a sword, a badge, a name; to bear arms in a coat.”

Concealing a gun in a coat could hardly be considered a mark of authority or distinction. The above reference to “coat,” refers to a coat of arms. In the same 1828 dictionary, one of the definitions given for coat is a coat of arms (source). To bear arms in a coat referred to a coat of arms containing some form of arms (example).The fifth item for the word, bear, in the Johnson Dictionary which precedes Webster’s by several decades (1755), gives the following definition for bear:

To carry as a mark of distinction. So we say, to bear arms in a coat.

Once again, especially in 1755, carrying a gun inside a coat was not a mark of distinction. The far more likely reference is to a coat of arms.History professor Robert Shalhope expresses the same concept of keep and bear as described above:

“Americans of the Revolutionary generation distinguished between the individual’s right to keep arms and the need for a militia in which to bear them. Yet it is equally clear that more often than not they considered these rights inseparable.” Shalhope then refers to James Madison’s Federalist No. 46 where “Madison drew the usual contrast between the American states, where citizens were armed, and European nations, where governments feared to trust their citizens with arms. Then he observed that ‘it is not certain that with this aid alone [possession of arms], they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will, and direct the national force; and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned, in spite of the legions which surround it.'” (The Ideological Origins of the Second Amendment at p. 611)

Neither was Shalhope’s law journal article the first to express such a view (see The Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Harvard Law Review, (1915), by Lucilius Emery).[2]ArmsIn Colonial times “arms” usually meant weapons that could be carried. This included knives, swords, rifles and pistols. Dictionaries of the time had a separate definition for “ordinance” (as it was spelled then) meaning cannon. Any hand held, non-ordnance type weapons, are theoretically constitutionally protected. Obviously nuclear weapons, tanks, rockets, fighter planes, and submarines are not.This off-site essay offers a differing and reasonable view that arms in the late 18th Century did mean the full array of arms and offers how that definition can be applied today “honestly (and constitutionally).” 


NOTES

[1] For some strange reason, many gun-rights activists insist that the National Guard is not a militia. This just plays into the hands of those claiming the Second Amendment is obsolete, in-part, because there is no longer a mlitia (also it mistakenly lends credence to the idea that gun ownership is predicated on militia membership).

When in the service of the states, guardsmen function as militia. Once a member of a State Guard unit is ordered into active military service of the United States, that person is no longer under the command of, or serving, a State Guard unit (until they are relieved from federal service), but is now a member of the army. (See the Supreme Court case Perpich v. Department of Defense, 496 U.S. 334 (1990). Perpich also provides a brief but good explanation of the evolution of the National Guard statutes.)

In other words, even today, the states still maintain a militia system, however the federal government, at this time is not utilizing the state militias, as militias, when state militia members are called into federal service.

Typical objections to the contention that the National Guard, when in the service of the states, is not a milita:

  • The National Guard is authorized by federal legislation and supported, and armed, entirely by federal funds.
    The source of a militia’s funding is irrelevant as to whether an organization is considered a militia. Rufus King, a Massachusetts delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, when discussing the meaning of the Militia Clause in the Constitution said, “arming meant not only to provide for uniformity of arms, but included the authority to regulate the modes of furnishing, either by the militia themselves, the state governments, or the national treasury…” (Elliot’s Debates) This founder’s statement clearly shows that regardless of how the militia was armed, it was still a militia.Nowadays civilians are generally not allowed to keep military arms, but that is a separate issue. Originally, regardless of how the militia was armed, the Second Amendment was ratified to ensure the right of the people to keep their own arms (after all, federally supplied arms could be withdrawn). 
  • Gubernatorial consent is not necessary for Congress to call state guard troops into active duty training
    Normally yes, however the governor does have veto power in certain cases. The following is from Perpich:

“The Montgomery Amendment deprives the Governors of the power to veto participation in a National Guard of the United States training mission on the basis of any objection to “the location, purpose, type, or schedule of such active duty.” 10 U.S.C. 672(f). Governors may withhold their consent on other grounds. The Governor and the United States agree that if the federalization of the Guard would interfere with the State Guard’s ability to address a local emergency, that circumstance would be a [496 U.S. 334, 352] valid basis for a gubernatorial veto.””Under the interpretation of the Montgomery Amendment advanced by the federal parties, it seems that a governor might also properly withhold consent to an active duty order if the order were so intrusive that it deprived the State of the power to train its forces effectively for local service.””Under the current statutory scheme, the States are assured of the use of their National Guard units for any legitimate state purpose. They are simply forbidden to use their control over the state National Guard to thwart federal use of the NGUS for national security and foreign policy objectives with which they disagree.” 

 

  • Congressional statute allows states to form a militia that is exempt from being drafted into federal service. If the State National Guard is the modern militia, then how does the separate state militia fit into the mix?
    Of course the National Guard is a part of the militia and so are the state defense forces, but, again from Perpich:
  • “The Governor contends that the state defense forces are irrelevant to this case because they are not subject to being called forth by the National Government and therefore cannot be militia within the meaning of the Constitution. We are not, however, satisfied that this argument is persuasive. First, the immunity of those forces from impressment into the national service appears – if indeed they have any such immunity – to be the consequence of a purely statutory choice…Second, although we do not believe it necessary to resolve the issue, the Governor’s construction of the relevant statute is subject to question. It is true that the state defense forces ‘may not be called, ordered, or drafted into the armed forces.’ 32 U.S.C. 109(c). It is nonetheless possible that they are subject to call under 10 U.S.C. 331-333, which distinguish the ‘militia’ from the ‘armed forces,’ and which appear to subject all portions of the ‘militia’ – organized or not – to call if needed for the purposes specified in the Militia Clauses.”

    As Perpich notes, even individual members of state self-defense forces are not exempt from a draft (see sec d). Since the Founding, there was nothing in the Constitution preventing individual militia members from being conscripted into the armed services. Today, it’s easier to enlist a larger portion of the militia into the armed services, but apparently, at least according to Perpich, the states are still entitled to have the bulk of their militia (State National Guard) left intact.

    (The Supreme Court in MARYLAND v. U.S. (1965) held, “The National Guard is the modern Militia reserved to the States by Art. I. 8, cl. 15, 16, of the Constitution.”)

    Thus, the National Guard, when in the service of the states, functions exacly as militia, period. The dual status is certainly a twist, but there are built-in checks so the states can still maintain their militia.

    [2] Political science professor Robert Spitzer claims the first law journal article to advocate an individual rights interpretation was not published until 1960 (Lost and Found: Researcing the Second Amendment at p. 366) incorrectly reporting Emery’s intepretation from the 1915 journal article cited above.

    Spitzer writes, the 1960 article “asserted that the Second Amendment supported an individual or personal right to have firearms (notably for personal self-defense), separate and apart from citizen service in a government militia. The second novel argument was that the Second Amendment created a citizen ‘right of revolution.'”

    Apparently overlooked by Spitzer, Emery’s article also writes about this “novel” idea:

    But, however concise the language of the provision, it should be construed in connection with the well-known objection to standing armies and the general belief in the need and sufficiency of a well-regulated militia for the defense of the people and the state. Thus construed it is a provision for preserving to the people the right and power of organized military defense of themselves and the state and of organized military resistance to unlawful acts of the government itself, as in the case of the American Revolution.

    Spitzer also misinterprets Emery’s view of the right to bear arms as if he were writing about the entire Second Amendment:

    Authored by noted constitutional scholar Lucilius Emery… Emery quotes Presser, and concludes that “only persons of military capacity to bear arms in military organizations are within the spirit of the guaranty [i.e., the Second Amendment].” Emery ends by saying that “the carrying of weapons by individuals may be regulated, restricted, and even prohibited according as conditions and circumstances may make it necessary for the protection of the people.” Emery’s article was widely reprinted.

    Note that Spitzer has inserted the comment “i.e., the Second Amendment,” in brackets, when Emery writes of the “guaranty.” However Emery is specifically referring to bearing arms rather than keeping arms (“keep” is addressed in a proceeding paragraph and discussed here shortly).

    Spitzer, by ignoring Emery’s comments on the meaning of keep, erroneously concludes the article reflects:

    What is here labeled the “court” view of the Second Amendment – namely, that the Second Amendment affects citizens only in connection with citizen service in a government-organized and regulated militia.

    Emery’s comments regarding “the guaranty:”

    The constitutional guaranty of a right to bear arms does not include weapons not usual or suitable for use in organized civilized warfare, such as dirks, bowie knives, sling shot, brass knuckles, etc., and the carrying of such weapons may be prohibited. Only persons of military capacity to bear arms in military organizations are within the spirit of the guaranty. Women, young boys, the blind, tramps, persons non compos mentis, or dissolute in habits, may be prohibited from carrying weapons. All persons may be forbidden to carry concealed weapons. Military arms may not be carried in all places even by persons competent to serve in the militia. They may be excluded from courts of justice, polling places, school houses, churches, religious and political meetings, legislative halls and the like. (emphasis added)

    However, the paragraph prior to the above states:

    From the foregoing premises I think there are deducible several propositions as to the power of the legislature to restrict and even forbid carrying weapons by individuals, however powerless it may be as to the simple possessing or keeping weapons (emphasis added).

    The last sentence in the article concludes:

    In fine, I venture the opinion that, without violence to the constitutional guaranty of the right of the people to bear arms, the carrying of weapons by individuals may be regulated, restricted, and even prohibited according as conditions and circumstances may make it necessary for the protection of the people.

    Once again Emery states severe restrictions may be placed on the “guraranty” of the right to bear arms, not the Second Amendment as a whole. Legislatures were “powerless” to restrict or prohibit weapons possession. Therefore, it is obvious Emery makes a distinction between keeping and bearing arms rather than viewing the phrase as “unitary.” In Emery’s view, the keeping of arms is not necessarily connected “with citizen service in a government-organized and regulated militia.”

     Source: http://www.guncite.com/gc2ndmea.html

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