22 thoughts on “The Militia

  1. DJMoore

    You want reasonable gun laws? Here’s a reasonable gun law:

    Congress exercises its Article I, section 8 power to organize, arm, and discipline the militia by instituting high school militia classes, patterned after Drivers’ Ed. It would be a regular elective in the Civics curriculum, not PE. It would cover history, law, first aid, fire suppression, search and rescue, light drill, and range time for pistol, shot gun, and AR-15 pattern rifle. Pass the course, keep the rifle and 1200 rounds ammo (One hundred rounds a month for a year’s practice). Annual training musters for four years, then once every five until you are 45.

    Your militia ID, renewed at muster, serves as your concealed carry permit and your NICS clearance.

    Use of your issue weapon, or any weapon purchased with your card, to commit a violent crime, earns you a place in front of a firing squad composed of your fellow militia members.

    The idea is to make the militia as inclusive as possible, in keeping with the Second Amendment.

    1. Gregg

      An interesting idea though a little over the top regarding firing squads…….

      Switzerland allows all households to have a military grade rifle. Although once mustered out of the militia, the rifle is downgraded to a semi-automatic. We don’t hear of the sort of gun violence there like, say, in Chicago……

      I wonder what mechanisms they have in place to keep guns out of the hands of mentally disturbed people. Maybe we might learn from them.

      And of course, the 6.4 firearm deaths per 100,000 is much lower than the US 10.27

    2. Will McLean

      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. It would form an annual deduction from the productive labor of the country, to an amount which, calculating upon the present numbers of the people, would not fall far short of the whole expense of the civil establishments of all the States. To attempt a thing which would abridge the mass of labor and industry to so considerable an extent, would be unwise: and the experiment, if made, could not succeed, because it would not long be endured.

      1. Mitch H.

        Well, that depends on the rigour of your definition of “well-regulated”. In practice, the post-colonial militias were more in the manner of marching, drinking, and shooting associations than anything capable of operating in a proper field army without significant post-mobilization training. The regiments which fought on both sides of First Manassas, for instance, were composed almost entirely of mobilized antebellum militias, thus the presence of such peacock-regiments as the New York Fire Zoaves. There’s a serious argument that the South won that first battle because their prewar militias took the shooting and marching portions of militia festivities a hair more seriously than did their northern counterparts, who tended to emphasize the political organizational aspect of these associations.

      2. DaveP.

        ” To attempt a thing which would abridge the mass of labor and industry to so considerable an extent, would be unwise”

        Then it’s a good thing Obama’s driven up unemployment to such unbelievable highs, isn’t it? After all, if nobody’s working anyway, being able to drill in military arts to ‘…preserve the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic’ sounds like a good way to fill time.

      1. Gregg

        Geez Gerrib you at LEAST should read a citation you post. If you did you’d see this:

        “Militia members were to arm themselves with a musket, bayonet and belt, two spare flints, a cartridge box with 24 bullets, and a knapsack. Men owning rifles were required to provide a powder horn, 1/4 pound of gun powder, 20 rifle balls, a shooting pouch, and a knapsack.”

        “….ARM THEMSELVES…”

        And do you suppose they were to arm themselves with lances? Or swords only? Perhaps a knife only…maybe a stone age club?

        No…they were to arm themselves with the most potent and capable weapons of the day.

        Another waster of our time………..Plonk….

  2. Gregg

    This is an extremely well written article and clearly states the correct position.

    I would only add that if the Founders truly wanted to limit the people to weapons that were not military grade weapons, the Amendment would have read:

    “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear slingshots, shall not be infringed.”

    But it doesn’t say that……does it?

  3. wodun

    “Consider the words of Supreme Court justice Joseph Story…

    “It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. “”

      1. Dave

        Apparently so, though no one on this forum wants to focus on that inconvenient part of the justice’s opinion.

        I’ve got a deeper question: If the point of the 2nd amendment is that the citenzenry needs the means to contest the government’s power in the event of tyrranical overreach, why should that stop at assault rifles? Isn’t it also my right to have to have RPG’s, stinger missiles, land mines, tanks, self-propelled howitzers, and fuel-air explosives? I mean this entirely without snark — I don’t understand the libertarian/conservative position here.

        1. Al

          There’s a distinction between the military and the police.

          With a totally disarmed populace, the police have a dramatically reduced “check” that pushes them to respect any of the citizenry’s -other- rights. Search warrants? Probable cause? How about “Because she’s cute!”

          It’s tough to express without covering a lot of historical ground – but the right to be armed was a liberal civil rights issue pre-dating most of the other civil rights issues.

        2. gregg

          I’ve got a deeper question: If the point of the 2nd amendment is that the citenzenry needs the means to contest the government’s power in the event of tyrranical overreach, why should that stop at assault rifles?

          It shouldn’t.

          Although most of us cannot afford a 155 mm howitzer (just like most people 200 years ago could not afford a cannon).

        3. Gregg

          “Apparently so, though no one on this forum wants to focus on that inconvenient part of the justice’s opinion. ”

          I will:

          The Milita Acts of 1792 provided the calling up of the militia by the President in case of invasion or obstruction to law enforcement.

          And since we also have Posse Comitatus, that leaves out the regular standing army for that function…doesn’t it?

          Educate your self before you post such drivel and expose yourself as a laughable blowhard.

      2. wodun

        Actually if you cut out all defense spending, we still would have a deficit.

        Interest payments on our debt are over $400b a year. Iraq/Afghanistan? $200b at their peak. Where lies the folly?

        1. CT

          Exactly. The US government spends about 12 billion every day,almost half of that is borrowed. And only 2 billion is for defense.

  4. ken anthony

    The problem is those that would ignore our laws. If people have no honor, laws are meaningless. I’m not talking about criminals or the mentally ill (although some may think as if they were mentally ill.)

    Laws also become meaningless when there are so many our ‘leaders’ pick and choose to whom they apply.

  5. MfK

    Does anyone have references to works containing a full exegesis of the Founders views on the right to bear arms? Such writings must exist.

    My reason for wanting it is that, as a newly minted Leftist Democrat, I need to be able to know more about your arguments than you do — and be able to counter with irrefutable sound bites.

    Thanks in advance, future serfs.

  6. Tom Nally

    This is my opinion…and I think it is the same opinion held by Thomas Jefferson. The Second Amendment doesn’t give us the right to keep and bear arms. Rather, it acknowledges a right that already exists by virtue of our humanity. These are called “natural rights”, though Jefferson called them “unalienable rights” from “The Creator”. The right to keep and bear arms pre-exists our government and all governments.

  7. Fletcher Christian

    gregg – Simple. The 2nd Amendment says “bear arms”. Which sounds like carrying the arms. Can you carry a 155mm howitzer?

    In fact, the right to bear arms has been limited for quite some time. It does not include (anywhere in the USA that I know of) RPGs, fragmentation grenades, Davy Crockett, Stinger missiles or canisters of VX or weaponised anthrax. Fortunately.

    Which means that US citizens have already agreed to limitations of their 2nd Amendment rights; the argument is actually about where the line should be drawn.

    1. Gregg

      Agreements about limitations can be re-debated and new agreements can be arrived at. Before, during and after the Revolutionary war, private citizens who could afford cannon and frag grenades (yes they existed back then) did own them and even did use them.

      I’m reminded of how John Glover – who later became a famous Rev War General, was faced, at his home, with an angry crowd with rope, and pitchforks because he wanted to build a smallpox inoculation hospital on an island offshore. This was around 1750-1760 or so.

      He opened his front door and there was a very handy 2 pounder cannon aimed right at the crowd.

      The crowd dispersed.

      Merchant vessels were always armed (unlike now) and with the latest most technologically advanced weapons the owners could.

      MORE to the point:

      For quite some time civilians in the US had BETTER weapons than the military. There’s many a member of the 7th Cavalry who wished he had a Winchester ’73 repeating rifle rather than his old Trapdoor single shot Springfield.

      Please give us SOMETHING better than tired old hoary fatuous and ignorant arguments.

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