I am by no means a constitutional scholar, but I have read extensively and I think I have something to add to the discussion. And special thanks to Herschel Smith of Captain’s Journal for the impetus to this post.
A brief history Lesson:
“Anyone familiar with an accurate telling of the political truths leading up to the events of mid-April, 1775 in small towns and villages west of Boston knows that while the Colonials and their British masters were at loggerheads for the better part of a decade over a number of issues including taxation and liberty, the immediate and proximate trigger of the first American Revolutionary war was an attempt by General Thomas Gage to disarm the Colonists.” [Bob Owens, January 2013]
Following the Battle of Concord, General Percy, in charge of the British Soldiers at said battle wrote to General Gage:
In obedience to your Excellency’s orders, I marched yesterday morning at 9 o’clock with the 1st brigade and two field pieces in order to cover the retreat of the grenadiers and light infantry in their return from their expedition to Concord.
As all the houses were shut up, and there was not the appearance of a single inhabitant, I could get no intelligence concerning them till I had passed Menotomy when I was informed that the rebels had attacked his Majesty’s troops who were retiring, overpowered by numbers, greatly exhausted and fatigued, and having expended almost all their ammunition – and at about 2 o’clock I met them retiring rough the town of Lexington – I immediately ordered the 2 field pieces to fire at the rebels, and drew up the brigade on a height.
The shot from the cannon had the desired effect, and stopped the rebels for a little time, who immediately dispersed, and endeavored to surround us being very numerous. As it began now to grow pretty late and we had 15 miles to retire, and only 36 rounds, I ordered the grenadiers and light infantry to move of first; and covered them with my brigade sending out very strong flanking parties which were absolutely very necessary, as there was not a stone wall, or house, though before in appearance evacuated, from whence the rebels did not fire upon us. As soon as they saw us begin to retire, they pressed very much upon our rear guard, which for that reason, I relieved every now and then.
In this manner we retired for 15 miles under incessant fire all round us, till we arrived at Charlestown, between 7 and 8 in the evening and having expended almost all our ammunition. We had the misfortune of losing a good many men in the retreat, though nothing like the number which from many circumstances I have reason to believe were killed of the rebels. His Majesty’s troops during the whole of the affair behaved with their usual intrepidity and spirit nor were they a little exasperated at the cruelty and barbarity of the rebels, who scalped and cut off the ears of some of the wounded men who fell into their hands.
Thus began the experiment called the United States of America.
Surely, no one would state that the militia’s that stood up to the British were “A well regulated militia…” yet it is precisely because of these American stalwarts that the Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights. Let’s take a close look at the 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.” Parsing this, one would think that in order to keep and bear arms, one must belong to a militia. Not so. It says, that the security of a free state is dependent on a well regulated militia, but the last phrase states clearly “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It does not say that the people must belong to a militia, but that they can be called on by the states to form a well regulated militia. Take a look at the First Amendment, it begins “Congress shall make no law…” you don’t see that in the Second, because the infringement caused by making such a law is forbidden and it is forbidden implicitly, as opposed to actually as in the First Amendment.
Leftish Daily Kos believes that ONLY those in a well regulated militia can keep and bear arms, bolstering his argument from part of the Federalist Papers #29 stating that the Union has the power:
“to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, RESERVING TO THE STATES RESPECTIVELY THE APPOINTMENT OF THE OFFICERS, AND THE AUTHORITY OF TRAINING THE MILITIA ACCORDING TO THE DISCIPLINE PRESCRIBED BY CONGRESS.”
What the author (CartoonDiablo) neglects to add is that Alexander Hamilton (the author of the paper in question) also stated:
THE power of regulating the militia, and of commanding its services in times of insurrection and invasion are natural incidents to the duties of superintending the common defense, and of watching over the internal peace of the Confederacy.
A far cry from “at all times” as Mr. CD would have you believe. “…in times of insurrection and invasion…” Hamilton goes on to say:
There is something so far-fetched and so extravagant in the idea of danger to liberty from the militia, that one is at a loss whether to treat it with gravity or with raillery; whether to consider it as a mere trial of skill, like the paradoxes of rhetoricians; as a disingenuous artifice to instil prejudices at any price; or as the serious offspring of political fanaticism. Where in the name of common-sense, are our fears to end if we may not trust our sons, our brothers, our neighbors, our fellow-citizens? What shadow of danger can there be from men who are daily mingling with the rest of their countrymen and who participate with them in the same feelings, sentiments, habits and interests?
Note: “Where in the name of common-sense, are our fears to end if we may not trust our sons, our brothers, our neighbors, our fellow-citizens? What shadow of danger can there be from men who are daily mingling with the rest of their countrymen and who participate with them in the same feelings, sentiments, habits and interests?” It would seem that those who believe that ONLY those in well organized militia can own arms, are in fact afraid of and do not trust “…our sons, our brothers, our neighbors, our fellow-citizens.”
Yes, if you are 17 or older up to the age of about 40 you are a member of an unorganized militia, and many of you are in the National Guard, an organized militia. As Bob Owens notes:
The “National Guard and the Naval Militia” are one part of our Republic’s militia, formally identified in 10 USC § 311 (b) (1) as the “organized militia.”
You and I and others not formally part of the National Guard or Naval Militia or on active duty military are codified in 10 USC § 311 (b) (2) as the”unorganized militia.”
We are the militia.
Those of us between the ages of 17-45 are bound by law. Those of us below or older than that range are bound by duty, honor, heritage, loyalty and love. There is no middle ground, and few legitimate (mental and physical health, criminal history) excuses.
If the National Guard are today’s Minutemen, we are the larger backbone of that militia, drawn to serve our nation much as Jason Russell, Samuel Whittemore, David Lamson, Mother Batherick, and “death on a pale horse” himself, Hezekiah Wyman, were that first day patriotism called them to war to defend their families, communities, and way of life from those who would enslave them to a disconnected, arrogant tyrant.
This post has gotten longish. More will come in a few days. Thanks for reading.