Skip to comments.FiRiNG BACK The Founding Fathers were clear: Citizens should be armed
Posted on 03/13/2006 12:38:29 PM PST by neverdem
RON MILLER is obviously a good fiction writer. His op-ed on the Second Amendment ["Hold your fire: Second Amendment was aimed at building militias," March 1], certainly qualifies as such.
Miller, like others who wish to restrict select freedoms, writes that the Second Amendment is obsolete--only there to form a militia--and that it does not guarantee an individual right to arms.
After reading the voluminous writings of the people who conceived the Constitution and Bill Of Rights, I can only find history that is at odds with Miller's theories.
I would certainly like to know the historical sources to back up his assertions that:
"A civilian militia simply doesn't work."
As a former Armored Cavalry Scout of the Virginia Army National Guard, 29th Infantry Division, I can assure him that I am insulted by the implication that the most decorated militia unit in Virginia history did not and does not work--especially after the landing on the beaches of Normandy in WWII, and the current deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
By Virginia law (Code Of Virginia: § 44-1, Composition of militia), each of us, including Mr. Miller, is currently a member in the Virginia unorganized militia (one of the four official militia classes of Virginia). He may be called upon until the age of 65. Members of the Virginia State Defense Force may be retained until age 75.
I will personally ensure that Mr. Miller reports for duty, with his weapons.
"The Second Amendment is a kind of fossil."
Remember New Orleans and the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles? Civilian-citizens banded together in the time-honored militia and defended their lives, neighbors, and communities. They defended themselves successfully with rifles, shotguns, and pistols.
The police tried and in some cases disarmed the people in New Orleans, then abandoned them to the gangs and looters.
Those police and their officials, including Mayor Nagin, are currently under a federal restraining order and are being sued for Second and Fourth Amendment violations. They have also had contempt charges filed, for ignoring that order.
"[The Second Amendment] can be made clearer by simply inverting the two clauses, thus: 'The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed because a well regulated Militia is necessary.'"
Legal minds strongly disagree with Miller's wishful thinking. "The plain language of the amendment, without attenuate inferences therefrom, shows that the function of the subordinate clause was not to qualify the right, but instead to show why it must be protected." U.S. v. Emerson, 46 F.Supp.2d 598.
Jurists St. George Tucker, William Rawle, and Joseph Story were contemporaries of the Founders, wrote constitutional commentaries--and read the Second Amendment as protecting a private, individual right to keep arms.
And Thomas Jefferson's thoughts on "interpretations"?
"On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." (Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823).
"A civilian army does not--and probably cannot--work."
See the first correction to this argument, above. Many times each year the militia is activated and used to support law enforcement and emergency personnel, all across America: the hurricanes of the Gulf Coast in 2005, the Virginia snow storms of 1980 & 1981, the Richmond floods of 1986, Hurricane Agnes 1972 in Fredericksburg.
Does Mr. Miller honestly think that a call to the civilian military veterans of America, for the defense of hearth and home, would go unanswered? How does he explain the Swiss, who use a militia exclusively without a standing army?
In perhaps the most obvious case of willful revisionism, Miller suggests that the Second Amendment is not a part of the Bill Of Rights, and the amendment does not guarantee an individual right.
In all of the other amendments to the Constitution, when it says "the People," it means individual citizens--except in the Second Amendment? I'm sure that James Madison and friends would find that astounding.
As one person on the scene at the time put it: "As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms." (Tench Coxe, "Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution" writing under the pseudonym "A Pennsylvanian" in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789.)
And consider: "The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; thatit is their right and duty to be at all times armed." (Jefferson, Letter to John Cartwright, 1824.)
"The amendment has nothing to do with the rights to protect one's home and family "
Miller thus concedes, by his own statement, that a right to protect [defend] one's home & family exists. Like all of our rights, it is a natural right that exists independent of any document or law.
The Second Amendment guarantees that the government shall not infringe the right of the people to own the instruments used to accomplish this defense.
Remember New Orleans & Katrina?
" the sole, original intentions [of the Second Amendment] were: the creation of a civilian militia."
That anyone could base such an assertion on his own interpretation and not on the writings of the people who conceived and wrote the Second Amendment is beyond astonishing--and sounds like an artifice of falsity.
It brings to mind a quote from another ODWG (old dead white guy):
"The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men." (Samuel Adams, 1777)
Nowhere does Miller use the published words of the people who debated, conceived, and wrote the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. Why is that? Because they do not support his delusion. Miller would have to take out of context the words to prove his point.
Miller's attempt at "artifices of false and designing men" against "our fair inheritance" is summarily rejected.
I'll have to avoid reading Ron Miller's books.
The term "well regulated militia" means just what the Founders believed and meant it to mean.
"Regulated", back in the day, meant to "make regular", just as a watch or clock maker "regulates" their timepieces to not gain or lose time. A "regulator" was/is known as a very accurate pendulum wall clock that others set their clocks or watches to.
Therefore, it meant that communities should regularly stage defensive practice drills, hold turkey shoots, etc. to insure everyone had a plan and place should armed defense be necessary.
Rehearsed, if you will.
The anti-gun nutz are America's biggest ignoramous's or traitor's both.
How clueless of them to have forgotten the tactics of a Hitler or Stalin - or is it their REAL agenda? I think so.
The militia is us:
"That brings me to the second pillar of the collective right, the Militia clause. The argument is that this clause clearly means that the right to arms only applies to the states as the right applies to the Militia and the Militia is a state organization. I asked Did those who advocated strict state control win the discussion? The actual result was a compromise in which both the states and the federal governments had a measure of power over the Militia. In addition, this argument for a collective right also ignores the composition of the Militia.
Remember, the founders never defined the Militia at the Constitutional Convention. They knew what the militia was and were not in any way confused over the concept as are some modern jurists. When discussing ratification, however, the founders wrote extensively on exactly this issue.
Rhode Island proposed an amendment which read in part
That the people have a right to keep and bear arms, that a well regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state
Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia wrote
"A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves . . . and include all men capable of bearing arms. . . To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms... The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle." (Additional Letters From The Federal Farmer, 1788)
Tenche Coxe, of Pennsylvania wrote
"The militia, who are in fact the effective part of the people at large, will render many troops quite unnecessary. They will form a powerful check upon the regular troops, and will generally be sufficient to over-awe them." (An American Citizen, Oct. 21, 1787) and Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Congress 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." (The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788)
The vast majority of actual written record from the period defines the Militia as a body of the people. Congress defined the Militia in the Militia Act of 1792 as consisting of
each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective states resident therein, who is or shall be of age of 18 years, and under the age of 45 years In addition, it was the responsibility of every citizen so enrolled (in the militia) and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket
It is clear that to Congress, the Militia consisted of all the people capable of bearing arms.
What did the Militia mean to the various states?
Rhode Island wrote in their state Constitution
That the people have a right to keep and bear arms, that a well regulated militia, including the body of people capable of bearing arms
New Yorks Constitution read
That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms .
Virginias Constitution read
That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated militia composed of the body of the people trained to arms is the natural and safe defense of a free state
North Carolinas is almost identical. It seems the writers of the various state constitutions had no confusion over who constituted the Militia, the People.
If, as I think I have proven, the Militia consisted of the broad body of all the people capable of bearing arms and as this Militia was expected to provide their own arms as was clearly the case, then the Militia of the Second Amendment was the self same People listed in the Second Amendment as having a right that shall not be infringed. When the founders spoke of controlling the Militia, they were speaking of controlling the entire armed body of the citizenry for the purpose of uniformity and effectiveness and they viewed this right to arms as fundamental. Simply stating that a purpose, or even the primary purpose of this Militia, was to protect the states from federal encroachments, does not in any way change the very nature of the institution being discussed, the body of the people with a fundamental right to be armed."
The author is wrong. The national guard is not the civilian militia talked about in the bill of rights. The NG constitutes an organized milita, the civilian population the unorganized militia. The NG is under the command of the Federal and state govts the civilian militia is not.
I could not believe what I was hearing.
uH...the first 'C' in CCW is for concealed.
LOL! Let me guess. You live in a decent sized city.
We live in Western NC in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mtns. The neighbors are mostly transplants from the NE.
Good heavens! Then why bother with the permit?
>>'Miller thus concedes, by his own statement, that a right to protect [defend] one's home & family exists. Like all of our rights, it is a natural right that exists independent of any document or law.'<<
Yup! Tripped himself up, he did. Glad to see even the gun-grabbers are starting to catch on to the truth of the matter. If not, maybe it's just a sneaky way of reminding everyone that they have the right to protect one's home and family, regardless of what the law says.
I would agree. The law of survival is the supreme law. Ask any animal.
I took the "just-in-case" approach and like to have the option of being able to legally carry concealed whenever I may want to.
That is the true reason for the 2nd amendment ( aside from defending one's self ).
The author of the op-ed sounds like a real piece of work. It would be interesting to know the guy's age. If op-ed author was born before 1970, he's being disingenuous. If after, ignorant.
The stupidity of liberals(and she was one)always amazes me.
Sorry, you are wrong, the first C is for Carrying. Carrying Concealed Weapons, but concealed is the operative word when you are out in public. It is ok to tell people you know that you have one as long as you don't shout it out in public and let the general public know you have a weapon on you.
To put it in perspective though, we shouldn't have to have a permit to exercise our 2nd amendment rights. If we keep fighting we may make it back to that point eventually!
I've been looking for that article. Thanks. It's a great example of the 2nd Amendment at work.