Today I read the Constitution and its amendments as I often do. After the massacre at Sandy Elementary School I’ve become more interested in the Second Amendment but it was today, when I read not only the Second Amendment but all of them that I came to realize that the Second Amendment doesn’t seem to be directed at a regular, everyday citizen but at those serving our Nation.
The Second Amendment reads: “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.” But what is a militia? More importantly, what did the Founding Fathers understood a militia should be?
I keep hearing those defending the Second Amendment that a Militia is necessary to fight a tyrannical government; many ‘Teapers’ proudly displayed their weapons and made threats against the established government, particularly since we elected an African-American President. I think I’ve found what the Founding Fathers considered a Militia to be: The Armed Forces or the Reserve. Not regular citizens to fight against our government. That never made any sense to me because the Founding Fathers gave too much thought when they wrote the Constitution and they had to know that there will always be those that disagree with the government; they knew that there will always be radicals that would take to their Arms and try to forcibly overturn a government elected by the majority.
On Article I, Section 2 it reads, “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States…” That means that the President is the Commander in Chief of the Militia, of every State – that rules out the idea that a group of armed people, meeting on the weekends to play war can be considered a Militia. If the group is plotting against and/or training to overthrow the government, they will be considered traitors, not Militants, not a Militia and as traitors they could be prosecuted.
Further down and still in Article I, Section 8 we read: “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.” What caught my eye was the “suppress insurrections” – how can a Militia be allowed to bear Arms to fight a tyrannical government if the same government can call upon them to suppress their own insurrection? An insurrection is nothing more than a rebellion, and a rebellion (fighting against an established government) is what many Americans claim to be their Constitutional right, but it seems to me that's not true.
“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.” As far as I know, I’ve never heard of Congress providing, arming, governing and training anyone other than soldiers, evidence corroborating that a Militia is what it’s known today as the Armed Forces or the Reserve, not a bunch of armed and untrained civilians shooting cans in the woods.
“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” is followed, of course, by the Third Amendment that says “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law” – is it coincidence that the Founding Fathers’ inserted that Amendment following the Second Amendment? I think not.
We can debate forever, and we sure have for decades, the meaning of the Second Amendment, but I can’t believe it means for any regular Joe or Jane to be armed as much as they please. I don’t believe that the Second Amendment was meant for regular civilians to be armed to defend the country against an oppressive government, unless it’s a foreign government trying to invade us and then these civilians will be called to serve in the Armed Forces and defend the country. I truly think that the Second Amendment refers to those individuals that have been properly trained, that have served the country honorably or that are on call to serve at a moment’s notice and whose weapons and training are given by Congress, as Article I, Section 2 clearly states.
The Founding Fathers were highly educated people and knew the Latin meaning of the word Militia. The term "militia" is derived from Latin roots:
miles /miːles/: soldier 1
-itia /iːtia/: a state, activity, quality or condition of being 2 3
militia /mil:iːtia/: Military service
In other words, a Militia is nothing else but the Armed Forces also known as the Military or the Reserve. Those brave men and women serving in the Armed Forces are Militants and they are part of a Militia. Those individuals that dream of one day overthrowing the government and train on weekends dressed in camouflage are not and have never been a Militia, what they truly are is a Guerrilla.