Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Case for an Independent Militia

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.

It's interesting that both sides of the RKBA crowd look at the Second Amendment and find antithetical interpretations. Here is a summary of those positions:

These interpretations tend to lean in one of two ways. The first is that the amendment was meant to ensure that individuals have the absolute right to own firearms; the second is that the amendment was meant to ensure that States could form, arm, and maintain their own militias.

I wish to observe that what the anti-gun crowd's interpretation lacks in sense, it compensates for in its ingenuity and audacity. The "right" of a military force to arm itself seems hardly worthy of a mention in the nation's fundamental law, for an unarmed military is an oxymoron of the first order.

Nonetheless, the wording of the amendment raises a couple a singularly pertinent question:
  1. How does the people's right to arm themselves relate to the militia?
  2. How does the militia relate to maintaining  the "security of a free state"?
In answer to the first question, I point you to the official definition as contained in federal law:

(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.)
(U.S. Code, Title 10 > Subtitle A > PART I > CHAPTER 13 > § 311)

In the broadest sense, THE PEOPLE ARE THE MILITIA. Virginia statesman George Mason is quoted as saying, “I ask sir, who is the militia? It is the whole people…To disarm the people, that is the best and most effective way to enslave them….”

Thus, above-quoted interpretation is wrong. The states have not ever and currently do not "form, arm and maintain their own militias". They take members of the broader militia and "regulate" them through uniform training and discipline.

To be continued

1 comment:

The Warrior said...

I rather think of the AmRev-era "militia" as more of a localized group of armed males than a government-controlled force, as the National Guard is today.