‘Militia’ defense fails in Second Amendment argument
The letter of May 13 headlined, “One more second” concerning gun control is born of misinformation and emotions — not the meaning of our Constitution. To change the Constitution many points would require the lengthy and difficult processes defined in Article 5. This is unlikely to happen. In the letter, several statements were made about the Second Amendment and the words “a well regulated militia.” Most prominent was a challenge to the Supreme Court.
The letter said, “The meaning of Amendment II is straightforward. What is a well Regulated Militia? Regulated by definition means ‘To control or direct by rule.’I defy the United States Supreme Court to oppose that explicit statement.”
The challenge to defy the second amendment fails. The Framers used the definitions of the day. Federal Appeals Courts and the Supreme Court have stood by the Second Amendment as written:
¯ James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper 46: that a standing federal army would not be able to conduct a coup to take over the nation because it couldn’t field more than 25,000 to 30,000 men based on the country’s population at the time and: to these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence.
Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.
¯ The New Royal Cyclopaedia, and Encyclopaedia; Or, Complete Modern and Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, 1788; and a New Complete English Dictionary, 1760 define “militia” as: In a more restrained sense, militia denotes the trained bands of a town or country, who arm themselves, upon a short warning, for their own defense. So that, in this sense, militia is opposed to regular or stated troops.
¯ After the Civil War ended in 1865, the United States adopted the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in 1868, which reads in part: No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
In an 1866 speech introducing the 14th Amendment to Congress, Senator Jacob Howard (R-MI) stated that: the “great object of the first section of this amendment is, therefore, to restrain the power of the States and compel them at all times to respect” the “personal rights guaranteed and secured by the first eight amendments of the Constitution,” including “the right to keep and to bear arms …” those personal rights “are secured to the citizen solely as a citizen of the United States and as a party in their courts.”
¯ In 2001, a federal appeals court panel ruled that the Second Amendment “protects the right of individuals, including those not then actually a member of any militia or engaged in active military service or training, to privately possess and bear their own firearms.”
The Second Amendment has been upheld by SCOTUS many times: D.C. v. Heller 1976, McDonald v. Chicago 2008, and New York State Rifle & Pistol v. Bruen 2022.
The Second Amendment stands and will continue to do so. The appearance of a coup against the Constitution is the reason for the Second Amendment. Destruction of the Constitution by the left will bring the Second Amendment into play. There are millions-upon-millions of armed patriots that see what the left is doing to the country.
They will support the Constitution through the ballot box, but if that fails, I believe there will be an armed revolution where the citizen militia will rise in defense of the Constitution as the Founders envisioned through their writings.
Daniel Reiff is a Warren resident.