-Richard Henry Lee
Just a little reminder for those clueless wonders out there who keep trying to tell me that the Second Amendment doesn't apply to me because I am not part of a militia; that the Second Amendment only allows states to have a National Guard.
First off, until 2004, I was a member of the National Guard. Second, the National Guards of each state are the very "select militia" of which Richard Henry Lee was speaking.
Even federal law (if one chooses to go there) says that the militia is basically everyone. Title 10 United States Code section 311 states:
(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard. (b) The classes of the militia are - (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.The money quote is subsection (b)(2), which ensures that even if you are not a member of the National Guard or Naval Militia, you are still a member of the militia. 10USC311 essentially says, "Here are the people who are required to be a part of the militia, otherwise, everyone else is free to join of their own accord." With the Bill of Rights guaranteeing the God-given rights of the People, I get so sick of being told that it's just the Second Amendment that grants a right to the government - whether it be state or federal. Of course, this poisonous notion has been drilled into young minds full of mush for decades now. Just one example of this comes from a discarded high school civics textbook that I ran across while substitute teaching ten years ago.
The book, which was published in 1953 by the California Department of Education and Harr Wagner Publishing is entitled Living in our Democracy. Referring to our country and system of government as a democracy instead of a republic is a whole other issue I will leave alone in this post!
On page 211, this textbook describes the Second Amendment as such (all spellings and emphases are the publisher's):
The second amendment is not so important as it was in the early days of the nation, but it is still a right of the people. This amendment states that a militia is necessary to the security of a free state. It gives the people the right to organize state militias. The colonists had seen the Kings's army harm their friends and relatives. They wanted a state militia as a possible protection against a federal army. This is not considered necessary today, since the armed forces of the nation are controlled by Congress. They protect all the people and not the powers of a king or a dictator.Good Lord, where do I begin? First, the Second Amendment should be capitalized, in my not-so-humble opinion; they did not do so.
Next, this amendment is indeed just as important today as it ever was. We may not face British regulars or marauding Indians on the frontier anymore, but predators who would do us harm have not gone away. Instead, we must defend ourselves against feral urban youth, rural home invaders, and, especially, our increasingly meddlesome and power-hungry federal and state governments.
Next, the Second Amendment doesn't "give" us the right to "organize state militias". None of the Amendments in the Bill of Rights "give" us anything. God gave us those rights; the Bill of Rights simply declare to our government that those rights are sacrosanct, and shall not be violated.
And these militias we are supposed to have are not "state militias" that are "organized." They would be better described as militias that secure the freedom of a state. Again, the founders made clear that militias are composed of
"the people themselves," and most people are members of what 10USC311 calls the "unorganized militia."
Next, if the book posits that an army controlled by a King can harm your friends and relatives, what possesses the authors to smugly proclaim that an armed forces controlled by our Congress (and President) can't or won't do the same damn thing? It is the idea of that very standing army - controlled by our federal government - that concerned our founders so greatly that they recommended the guarantee of an armed populace to provide a check on the power of our federal government to use the military against the American people.
So essentially, every statement this book makes about the Second Amendment is incorrect. But yet, how many young minds were warped by what they read in this textbook? I would be interested to see what today's civics/political science textbooks say about the Second Amendment. My parting question is, how are we supposed to possibly reason with these gun-grabbing busybodies among us when they are so horribly misinformed about the Second Amendment, and firearms in general? If the time for reason is ever over, then God help us.
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson