Excerpt from an older edition of my book, Concerning the Militia
5. THE SECOND AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION AND THE MILITIA
“This is our situation, and who will may know it. By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils —a ravaged country —a depopulated city —habitations without safety, and slavery without hope —our homes turned into barracks and bawdy-houses for Hessians, and a future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of. Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.”
This was not written by survivors of Waco, Ruby Ridge, Elian Gonzales or any of the other victims of excessive force. This is the picture painted by Thomas Paine in Crisis Paper No. 1. Thomas Paine is a man who liberals love to quote when it fits their needs. Although I disagree with some of what Paine wrote—for the moment, this is still America and I can—he wrote in his paper, To the People of America, “When necessity or occasion has pointed out the convenience of addressing the public, I have never made it a consideration whether the subject was popular or unpopular, but whether it was right or wrong; for that which is right will become popular, and that which is wrong, though by mistake it may obtain the cry or fashion of the day, will soon lose the power of delusion and sink into disesteem.”
As you can see by the preceding Federalist Papers, the militia has always been a civilian organization run by a duly elected civilian officer corp. As was also pointed out, the only reason to dismiss the civilian militia and drive them underground in favor of a standing army is if your agenda runs contrary to theirs, which should be freedom.
One of the arguments against the 2nd clause in the Bill of Rights is that it is only a collective right granted to the National Guard. One argument I heard on television by a liberally educated person was that conservative gun nuts always seem to neglect the militia part of the 2nd Amendment. She even went on to say that the 2nd Amendment only protects the rights of the National Guard to bear arms. She, like so many, are confused into believing that the National Guard is the militia. Let us make clear, then, that the National Guard—which even wears their uniforms and medals—are a branch of the standing army. The Militia are civilians. I would counter that you liberals always forget to bring Federalist Paper No. 29 to light in your arguing. Of course, the Supreme Court disagreed with her, as well. The recent decision in Washington D. C. v. Heller, the Supreme Court ruled, “The Second Amendment protects and individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia,...”
There are two distinctly liberal and idiotic ideas about the Second Amendment. The first is that the “Founding fathers never envisioned automatic weapons and assault rifles.” By this concept, of course, we should all be allowed only flintlocks. Using their “collective right” argument, that includes the National Guard. This also devalues the fact that the founding fathers were highly educated, especially in history. Admittedly, that is probably hard to understand or believe given the state of public education today. They surely recognized the progress from knives and spears to powder. Even the advanced concept of rifling appeared in their own time and in their own country! It is absurd to believe that the founding fathers felt there would be no further development in arms. That is probably why they did not state, “...the right of the people to bear flintlocks shall not be infringed.” We have already covered Alexander Hamilton’s opinion on the matter. This document also confirms that all guns, knives, clubs and other arms were meant to be protected by the Second Amendment despite the ruling in United States v. Miller. That ruling is a strong argument against the National Firearms Act, by the way, which limits your right and ability to obtain automatic weapons.
The founding fathers could not have envisioned an Internet either. Yet Thomas Jefferson wrote, “No experiment can be more interesting than that we are trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first objective should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues of truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press.” In other words, the press was the most effective means known, at that time, to keep the government in line. Of course, he expressed some regret when they attacked some of the policies of his admin-istration. Of press, Jefferson said, “It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions.” Sort of like McCain did with the Campaign Finance Reform. Vladimir Lenin put it another way. He said, “The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses”.
You are Constitutionally allowed to have, hold and carry an AK-47, M-16, or the latest MP-5 with 30 round clips—or larger—grenades and launchers, and so on. That also means that, in your backyard, you can have fully operational tanks, and, if you can afford it, an air strip for your F-16 or Blackhawk helicopter.
The second, “We’re not out to infringe on the rights of hunters and sportsmen.” What an idiotic interpretation of the Second Amendment. First of all, the gun control lobby is out to disarm all, including hunters. Hunter’s rights are protected under the Ninth Amendment. The Second Amendment does not say, “Hunters being necessary to the security of a free state,...” I know we covered this, but it certainly bears repeating.
Another claim that I saw, if only briefly, was that people in America were never required to, and most did not, own guns. I only add this argument for the levity value. I wonder, then, why the South Carolina Government passed legislation that every Militia man not showing up for muster with a musket was to be fined one-dollar unless he could prove that he could not afford to purchase one.
I have even heard the argument that, Society today wants to get rid of guns. Don’t you want to be a part of society? The poster child for the separation of Church and State once wrote, “The idea is quite unfounded that on entering society, we give up any natural right.”
I thought that I had heard the most ridiculous arguments for gun control until I came across the following on a Communist web site.
These people are cowards: they can’t face Democracy without a Gun. It’s pure paranoia, not the true involvement of active citizens in the Democratic process. Instead of being well informed and political active they rather trust in violence instead of votes.
Their mindset is stuck somewhere around 1775.
This person chose to use a pseudonym—as so many do on the web, these days. I would not append my name to such tripe, either. It show that he does not understand that we were not formed as a “Democracy.” That is a term used in The Communist Manifesto, not the Federalist Papers.
It shows that this person does not know that the “founding fathers” very clearly indicated that was the reason for the Second Amendment. They very clearly wrote that we are supposed to use force to fight off any tyranny that might arise to spoil the Constitution and our monetary system as they set it up.
I am glad that their “mindset is stuck somewhere around 1775.” That means they are actually reading the Constitution the way it was intended to be read.
Between an armed and an unarmed man no proportion holds, and it is contrary to reason to expect that the armed man should voluntarily submit to him who is unarmed, or that the unarmed man should stand secure among armed retainers. —Machiavelli, The Prince
There is a much maligned personality in history by the name of Niccolo Machiavelli. What he wrote in The Prince is loved and hated depending on your perspective. In Chapter XX, Whether Fortresses, And Certain Other Expedients to Which Princes Often Have Recourse, are Profitable or Hurtful, he wrote:
"To govern more securely some Princes have disarmed their subjects, others have kept the towns subject to them divided by factions; some have fostered hostility against themselves, others have sought to gain over those who at the beginning of their reign were looked on with suspicion; some have built fortresses, others have dismantled and destroyed them; and though no definite judgment can be pronounced respecting any of these methods, without regard to the special circumstances of the State to which it is proposed to apply them, I shall nevertheless speak of them in as comprehensive a way as the nature of the subject will admit.
"It has never chanced that any new Prince has disarmed his subjects. On the contrary, when he has found them unarmed he has always armed them. For the arms thus provided become yours, those whom you suspected grow faithful, while those who were faithful at the first, continue so, and from your subjects become your partisans. And though all your subjects cannot be armed, yet if those of them whom you arm be treated with marked favour, you can deal more securely with the rest. For the difference which those whom you supply with arms perceive in their treatment, will bind them to you, while the others will excuse you, recognizing that those who incur greater risk and responsibility merit greater rewards. But by disarming, you at once give offence, since you show your subjects that you distrust them, either as doubting their courage, or as doubting their fidelity, each of which imputations begets hatred against you. Moreover, as you cannot maintain yourself without arms you must have recourse to mercenary troops. What these are I have already shown, but even if they were good, they could never avail to defend you, at once against powerful enemies abroad and against subjects whom you distrust. Wherefore, as I have said already, new Princes in new Princedoms have always provided for their being armed; and of instances of this History is full."
In other words, arm those, in particular, that are willing to die for you. Some are starting to worry that Obama will now let openly gay people serve in the military. He will do away with the don’t ask, don’t tell policy of a former glory president. The thing that must be re-membered is that they are not there to destroy the military. They are there to destroy the United States. As Machiavelli states, you disarm those who oppose you while arming those who will support you to the end. This way, you control the dissident poulace. Arming gays at taxpayer expense is a move for control. As Lenin put it, “There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel.”
The 2nd Amendment relation to the Militia
No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to congress a power to disarm the people.-William Rawle
The following study is academic, of course, since the Supreme Court finally ruled on June 27, 2008 in the case of Washington, D.C. v. Heller554 U.S. ___ (2008) that the ownership of guns is an individual right—not a collective right dependent on militia membership—after over sixty years of debate and misinterpretation. It actually goes back more than sixty years to the twenties when automatic weapons first appeared en masse. The reason it never came up is that the Supreme Court in the day of John Jay would have laughed at the notions that the Congress is coming up with now. In fact, they could only get regulations started by using the power given to Congress to regulate interstate commerce in the Constitution.
In this celebrated case, Dick Heller, a security guard, was denied permission for a handgun at his home for his protection. He was joined by Amy McVey, Absalom F. Jordan and the National Rifle Association. While the decision allows an individual right, it does say that types of guns can be regulated which still falls short of the founding fathers interpretation of the Second Amendment. According to their interpretation, ownership is limited only by what the government owns.
William Rawle was a renown Philadelphia lawyer who would probably be dismayed at the interpretations of the Constitution today. Senate Document 2807, The Right to Keep and Bear Arms written by the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution in 1982, said, of Rawle, “The Jefferson papers in the Library of Congress show that both [Saint George] Tucker and Rawle were friends of, and corresponded with, Thomas Jefferson. This suggests that their assessment, as contem-poraries of the Constitution’s drafters, should be afforded special consideration.”
In 1829, Rawle published A View of the Constitution. He explains the purpose of the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights. “In the second article, it is declared, that a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free state; a proposition from which few will dissent. Although in actual war, the services of regular troops are confessedly more valuable; yet, while peace prevails, and in the commencement of a war before a regular force can be raised, the militia form the palladium of the country. They are ready to repel invasion, to suppress insurrection, and preserve the good order and peace of government. That they should be well regulated is judiciously added. A disorderly militia is disgraceful to itself, and dangerous not to the enemy, but to its own country. The duty of the state government is, to adopt such regulations as will tend to make good soldiers with the least interruptions of the ordinary and useful occupation of civil life. In this all the Union has a strong and visible interest.”
Rawle makes an interesting distinction here. First, that, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state,” is one clause. Rawle makes a deliberate intent to evaluate this as one clause distinct from the second clause. Second, that the states—not the Federal Government as in the case of the National Guard—are responsible for the arming and training of the men in their control. He also notes that disorganized militias, those we have today, are no threat to any standing army. The militia being a threat to a standing army, and not vice-versa, was the preferred scenario by Alexander Hamilton.
Rawle continues. “The corollary, from the first position, is, that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
“The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretence by a state legislature. But if any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.”
However, Rawle is very clear in subsequent passages that the, “...assemblage of persons with arms, for an unlawful purpose, is an indictable offence...” so-called militias that exist to suppress the rights and freedoms of “minorities,” for lack of a better term, are wrong and illegal. Those that base their existence on the enforcement of prejudice are wrong. Those that do not allow minorities within their ranks are wrong. Those that don’t allow others of certain Christian religions in their ranks are wrong; except, of course, those Christian religions who do not believe in war.
The point is, every man has the right to defend the freedom of his friends, family and himself. When he proves he is not fighting for freedom or actually intent on destroying a legal militia, then that person can be dismissed, during peace time, or other actions may be taken during time of war, according to the law.
In his article, Common Sense, Paine speaks to the Quakers who, by their peaceful nature, are against the ownership of arms. “Alas! it seems by the particular tendency of some part of your testimony, and other parts of your conduct, as if, all sin was reduced to, and comprehended in, the act of bearing arms, and that by the people only. Ye appear to us, to have mistaken party for conscience; because, the general tenor of your actions wants uniformity—And it is exceedingly difficult to us to give credit to many of your pretended scruples; because, we see them made by the same men, who, in the very instant that they are exclaiming against the mammon of this world, are nevertheless, hunting after it with a step as steady as Time, and an appetite as keen as Death.”
I find it interesting that people will quote the “founding fathers” on every topic that destroys America vice those which prove that the right of the people to bear arms is an individual right which cannot be infringed. In his day, Paine noted, “Were the back counties to give up their arms, they would fall an easy prey to the Indians, all who are armed: this perhaps is what some Tories would not be sorry for. Were the home counties to deliver up their arms, they would be exposed to the resentment of the back counties who would then have it in their power to chastise their defection at pleasure. And were any one state to give up its arms, that state must be garrisoned by all Howe’s army of Britons and Hessians to preserve it from the anger of the rest.”
ACLU member Sanford Levinson wrote an article for the Yale Law Journal. He fell short of suggesting that every male between the age seventeen and forty-five be issued an AK-47 or MP-5. Though I will be glad to submit that we are allowed—according to the framers of the Constitution—to purchase them without undo paperwork and wait. Me and the Supreme Court disagree on this point, however, even though the evidence is clearly in my favor. In D.C. v. Heller, they wrote, “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose:...”
While his paper has several flaws, he brings out many interesting points for the individual right to bear arms despite retaining his anti-gun profile. He raises an interesting point that perhaps, if we could get beyond calling each other “gun nut” and “bleeding-heart liberal,” we might be able to arrive at an equitable solution. I now address this topic.
The ACLU is a group that supports a woman’s right to “choose” murder. Abortion used to be only in the first-trimester, so everyone seemed to agree that because it was “before life really begins,” it was acceptable. Now they are fighting for the right of a woman to “choose” to have a baby delivered just enough punch a hole in the back of the head of the child so they can suck the brains out with a vacuum. They even promote the idea that this sort of “education” is acceptable in schools; that children do not even have to tell their parents. Yet they recoil in alleged shock not understanding why there are school shootings. This is the reason you cannot arrive at an equitable solution with a liberal.
The Brady bill background check was only supposed to apply to handguns. The Handgun Control web site issued angry editorials that they are not out to disarm citizens. They only want “reasonable” handgun controls. They were not after long guns, or rifles. The politi-cians cried that they were not after the hunter or sportsman. It is not about hunting. That is protected under the Ninth Amendment. The Second Amendment does not even remotely imply killing the King’s deer. The Second Amendment is about protecting your freedoms, as well as those of your family and neighbors. The second point about the Brady bill is they lied. Background checks are required for long guns. This is the reason you cannot arrive at an equitable solution with a liberal.
Levinson does, interestingly enough, mention the dangers of a Police state using the example of Tiananmen Square in China. Could that happen in the United States? Or has it happened at Ruby Ridge and Waco?
I am no lawyer. However, I read what other lawyers write. As in the case of Judge Sam R. Cummings in his decision concerning United States of America v. Timothy Joe Emerson. In the Texas-court decision, he writes, “When the first Congress convened on March 4, 1789, James Madison, who had previously advocated passage of the Constitution without amendments, now pressed his colleagues to act on a bill of rights. When his initial efforts failed to produce any response, he drafted his own version of a bill of rights and presented them to members of Congress on June 8 of that year. His version of what would later be the second amendment read:
The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.
Judge Cummings noted:
“That Madison envisioned a personal right to bear arms, rather than merely a right for the states to organize militias, is evident from his desired placement of the right in the Constitution...”
The original language of the Second Amendment cited clearly makes the desire of the founding fathers known.
Federalist Paper No. 29, attributed to Alexander Hamilton, covers the Militia. In it, he states, “The attention of the government ought particularly to be directed to the formation of a select corps of moderate extent, upon such principles as will really fit them for service in case of need. By thus circumscribing the plan, it will be possible to have an excellent body of well-trained militia, ready to take the field whenever the defense of the State shall require it. This will not only lessen the call for military establishments, but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist.”
He puts the point another way in the same document. “If a well-regulated militia be the most natural defense of a free country, it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security. If standing armies are dangerous to liberty, an efficacious power over the militia, in the body to whose care the protection of the State is committed, ought, as far as possible, to take away the inducement and the pretext to such unfriendly institutions.”
Alexander Hamilton also makes another stunning suggestion that gun control enthusiasts should be aware of. “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? What reasonable cause of apprehension can be inferred from a power in the Union to prescribe regulations for the militia, and to command its services when necessary, while the particular States are to have the sole and exclusive appointment of the officers?”
I know I repeat this passage, but it is such an important concept for the liberals to grasp. Unless you are out to stop the freedoms we enjoy, what have you to worry?