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Old February 28, 2009, 04:53 PM   #26
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Arguments for consideration

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Which is nothing more than a pool of people that the Organized Militia draws its members from and has no rights, duties or responsibilities. The Unorganized Militia (from the Militia Act of 1903) is NOT the Well-Regulated Militia defined in the 2A
I submit that while the unorganised militia is "nothing more than a pool", the individuals making up that pool do have rights, and while the duties and responsibilities are seldom taken up by individuals in this day and age, they still do exist.

The Second Amendment does not define a well regulated militia (or any other kind), it simply states that the existance of one is necessary for the security of a free state, and that is why government should not infringe on the right (of the individual, or the state) to keep and bear arms.

The unorganised militia does still exist, and even though not utilised in the manner envisioned by the Founders, it is still there.

As to the argument that private citizens with their own arms could never defeat a military armed with tanks, jets, artillery, bombers, etc, it seems valid on the surface, but when thinking about this nation, I think one needs to look deeper. The difficulty and expense our military has had overseas, facing a tiny fraction of the population, in nations without a cultural history of individual freedom, without a cultural history of legal private arms ownership, without many of the things common to our nation, has been enormous.

I think that kind of situation, in this nation, should it ever come to pass, would face the military with even larger problems, including a significant segment of the population at least tacitly supporting "insurgents", and including friends, sons and daughters of "insurgents/rebels" inside the military and in government, which would make it even more difficult for a military victory. Certainly our militia would not be likely to defeat our regular military on the field of open battle, but not all wars are won on the battlefield.

As said many times before, the mere fact that we, as individual citizens retain our right to arms, and the (at least theoretical) ability to resist a tyrannical government means that we will never need to actually to do so.

Future generations may not see things this way, and great "change" might well occur. But for now, thats the way I see it.
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Old February 28, 2009, 05:34 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP
the individuals making up that pool do have rights, and while the duties and responsibilities are seldom taken up by individuals in this day and age, they still do exist.
What rights do the members of the "unorganized militia" have. What responsibilities do they have that are defined by law (not the whims of gun owners) and why aren't they meeting them? The militia of 1789 was not optional but mandatory (except for religious reasons for a few) as was training and arms that the member was required to keep. Is this true today?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP
The Second Amendment does not define a well regulated militia
No, but statutes have and the first two in 1792 did and they weren't a mob with guns. Can any reasonable person think the unorganized militia spoken of in the Militia Act of 1903 is the "well-regulated militia" of 1789? If so they are poor students of history and their thoughts are nothing more than nostalgia.

A good analogy to this type of thought would be to call a random group of people who didn't know each other and who lived scattered throughout the community a football team.

A well regulated unorganized militia is a square circle and doesn't exist outside of fantasy.

Here are some unorganized militia that I have posted before:

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Old February 28, 2009, 09:12 PM   #28
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well regulated seems to be the key

The unorganised militia is indeed the pool from which the material of the organised well regulated militia can be drawn. To expect "the whole body of the people, less certain officials" to be well regulated is confusing the organised with the unorganised.

Yes, the militia of 1789 no longer exists. But the same basic precursor does, the citizens of our nation. True, we would make a poor showing comparing skill and discipline against our forefathers, but the fact that is probably true doesn't invalidate the concept.

A group of individuals who don't know each other, and live scattered through out the city may not be a football team as such, but when they all show up on the field to play, then they are one. Not a good one, compared to professionals, but a team, none the less.
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Old February 28, 2009, 09:24 PM   #29
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Here's what the "militia vs. government military = unwinnable" argument misses: it doesn't matter if we can win or not. It is our right to have the ability to fight.

Unarmed, the government can force us to do whatever they want, whenever they want.

Armed, at least we can go out on our own terms.
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Old February 28, 2009, 11:32 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44AMP
A group of individuals who don't know each other, and live scattered through out the city may not be a football team as such, but when they all show up on the field to play, then they are one. Not a good one, compared to professionals, but a team, none the less.
AMP I respect your opinion on this and I see where you are coming from but I have to be honest and say I unless we're talking TEOTWAWKI I would not want to be on that team.

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Originally Posted by TheManHimself
Unarmed, the government can force us to do whatever they want, whenever they want.
Not if we stay involved in our government, vote and participate in the process. If we don't and the government goes another way due to our indifference all the guns in the world won't save us.
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Old March 1, 2009, 12:52 AM   #31
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Not if we stay involved in our government, vote and participate in the process.
Of course, that is how a democracy works. We work it, and work it until, and unless it doesn't work anymore. And for 230 some years it's done pretty darn well.

One key aspect of the second amendment that's emblematic of who is actually in charge. It's a vivid reminder to the elected servants that government is by the people. We're the boss. The servants don't tell the bosses what to do, it's the other way around.

What ever the form, or non-form of the present day militia, looking at the reasoning and principles behind 2A, I can not help but see the wisdom of keeping the balance of power in the hands of citizens.

Our entire system of government rests on the balance of power. Perhaps even more important than balancing the branches of government, is balancing the power of the government with the power of the citizens. Simplistic as it may sound, those with the guns rule.

That's why I cringe a little when Tennessee Gentlemen, whom I hold in high regard, pronounces the militia, in it's entirety, deceased, or 'no more' as he put it. I certainly hope not. Even as a dormant, largely theoretical body of citizens, it's balancing effect cannot be overestimated.
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Old March 1, 2009, 12:59 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
One key aspect of the second amendment that's emblematic of who is actually in charge. It's a vivid reminder to the elected servants that government is by the people. We're the boss. The servants don't tell the bosses what to do, it's the other way around.
Shoot the whole COTUS does that. I am not sure I see as much of that in the 2A as I do in our vote or in the separations of powers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
Simplistic as it may sound, those with the guns rule.
In our system those who vote rule.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
That why I cringe a little when Tennessee Gentlemen pronounces the militia, in it's entirety, deceased, or 'no more' as he put it.
I think you need to cringe more at voter apathy and lack of citizen participation in government. That is a greater danger than the lack of a militia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
I certainly hope not. Even as a dormant, largely theoretical body of citizens, it's balancing effect cannot be overestimated.
As I told BillCA earlier, the militia today is a fiction residing in the imagination of the gun culture and nowhere else.
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Old March 1, 2009, 01:16 AM   #33
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As I told BillCA earlier, the militia today is a fiction residing in the imagination of the gun culture and nowhere else.
Well, it resides in the constitution, TG. You can say all day long it doesn't exist, but there it is in the second amendment. And you can bet your bottom if it were truly needed, as in the case of a cataclysmic disaster, the states would raise it from the dead in a New York minute. So let's not erase it from the bill of rights just yet, shall we?

I do agree with you about the more pressing, present danger of voter apathy, and would add ignorance, misinformation to the mix.

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Old March 1, 2009, 01:33 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
Well, it resides in the constitution, TG. You can say all day long it doesn't exist, but there it is in the Second Amendment.
But it doesn't exist in the United States anymore just like Letters of Marque.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
but they didn't consider armies to be necessary to the security of a free state.
But today we do consider them essential to our freedom and thus they replaced the militias 100 years ago.
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Old March 1, 2009, 02:09 AM   #35
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We could get into another argument over exactly what kind of "arms" are protected by the 2nd Amendment here. Hopefully we can limit this discussion to "portable firearms" and not crew-served weaponry or artillery/RPG type weapons.
I'm for that, Bill.

On Pax's old site (Armed Citizen), now gone forever, we discussed, with regularity, whether the intent of the 2A was to put restrictions on anything at all.

Discussions involving tactical nuclear weapons that could be stored under our beds was a regular feature with heated opinions on both sides of the argument. Hey, for the record, I was opposed to the individual nuclear weapons interpretation, and drew the line at having my own M1 Abrahms.

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Old March 1, 2009, 02:16 AM   #36
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Heller is more of a theoretical win than a practical one. As nearly as I can tell it prevents a ban of an entire very GENERAL class of firearms but offers no protection against a ban of firearms within that general class having specific characteristics.

The classes could be as general as "handgun" and "long gun", probably as specific as "handgun", "rifle", "shotgun" and maybe even as specific as "handgun", "repeating handgun", "rifle", "repeating rifle", "shotgun", "repeating shotgun" but certainly not more specific than that.

A "repeating" firearm is a single barreled firearm that can be fired more than once without reloading. I could see a very open interpretation of Heller protecting the right to own a repeating firearm in any of the general categories, but I can't see it getting specific enough to protect different types of repeaters (pump, lever, semi-auto) or even preventing "reasonable" restrictions on ammo capacity .

Anything more than that will require another case and another ruling. Frankly, I'm not particularly interested in seeing a case along those lines put before the SCOTUS because I'm not at all sure how the court would rule on protecting more specific types of firearms...
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Old March 1, 2009, 09:53 AM   #37
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Tennessee,

This is one area where we have disagreed before and I can see that neither of us is going to be persuaded to change their mind.

I'm sure a lot of you were taught in school that the U.S. Constitution is remarkable because it has a "balance of powers" amongst three branches of government. This is true to a point, however it is actually a balancing act against four branches of government. We The People are the fourth branch as we have an active, participatory role in our government. We have the right to vote, speak out on issues, go to Congress with petitions, to freely assemble to discuss or listen to others speak out and, lastly, we have a right to use force of our own should the government refuse to uphold the laws or the constitution. This has often been referred to as the 3-box rule: The soap box, the ballot box and the ammo box.

TG, while many ascribe to the notion that "the militia" is a dead letter for various reasons, it is still the one thing that puts fear into politicians and military commanders alike. The 1903 federalization of the select or organized state militias into the National Guard had zero impact on "the militia" which remains the body of the people. Subsequent acts have blurred the role of the select militia until it is nearly the same as the regular army. But the people are still "the militia".

The founders recognized the potential of every citizen to be a solider when needed, but that would require training. Jefferson proposed that military instruction be a part of every school ciriculum and started as early as possible. Unfortunately the people were busy enough hacking out a living, in a bare wilderness in some cases, and the added burden of even one day of monthly drills appealed not.

Scalia is right in the sense that the right to keep and bear arms is not dependent upon militia exercise. However, the existence of a militia does depend upon an armed citizenry. And even if a few men armed with hunting rifles cannot stop a tank, they can certainly slow the progress of its supporting troops and make occupation an expensive proposition.

Militia at home during WW-II
During WW-II I know of two left-coast "actions" in which the un-organized militia turned out. One was around Half-Moon Bay California. A coastal resident spotted a long "tapered cylinder" shape in the water just before dark and telephoned police. It was spotted and believed to be a submarine. Over 200 people came out with hunting rifles of all types. A former WW-I army captain placed men every 200 yards and dispersed some others around the entrance to the bay. By midnight a pair of boats went out and could not find it using searchlights and by 3am the boats retired. The tide came in just before dawn and people began to see an immense shape on the water in the distance. By this time, a Coast Guard cutter from San Francisco was cautiously coming down the coast and boats sent out to guide it. By 7am it was identified as a dead whale. So much for glorious action.

Second was near Santa Barbara. I think it was early '42 in the early evening, a half-hour after dark, and explosion rocked the shore near a then existing oil refinery. Minutes later another explosion damaged an oil derrick. Several volunteer coastwatchers spotted the muzzle flash of a Japanese submarine about a mile offshore. Phones rang and within 30 minutes hundreds of armed volunteers lined the shore area. The Japanese submarine I-17, under the command of Commander Nishino Kozo, had fired 16 shots and many fell short into the surf before the submarine departed and submerged. In April of '42 the IJN submarine I-25 fired on Fort Stevens, Oregon at the mouth of the Columbia river. These incidents, along with the sinking of freighters of the west coast, increased fears of an impending invasion[1]. The result was that the governors of all three west coast states called forth the militia (not the National Guard) to act as coast-watchers, guard bridges and waterways as well as to secure vital infrastructure like power plants. And many of these volunteers brought their own rifles along.

The U.S. went into Iraq, a country with only about 5,000 square miles more territory than California and a population of 5 million less (28M vs. 33M). This conflict has engaged a quarter million troops for six years. Plus 3 divisions from the U.K. and 35 other countries. An estimated 24,000 "insurgents" have been killed and an unknown number still exist, but their numbers have been seriously reduced.

By comparison, the American Revolution was fought by barely ten percent of the population by several accounts. If just 1% of Californians fought an invasion or tyrannical government that would be 338,000 people. Just 3% would be over 1 million and 5% would be close to 1.7 million. Out of such pools come former soldiers, police officers and others with organizational and command experience. The U.S. military's total active and reserves total just about 2.9 million (not all combat qualified).

The military does not have sufficient force to put down a seriously angered U.S. population. It is debatable if they could manage against one or two of the larger states.

The sleeping giant of the fourth branch of government is The People who, as long as they have any spirit of liberty and good arms, will keep the power hungry from taking over.


[1] After the war, one high ranking IJN officer, when asked about invasion plans, said his country was well aware that there was a high density of armed citizenry in America, even state championships for private citizens in the use of military rifles. But the Japanese were not fools enough to set foot in such quicksand.
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Old March 1, 2009, 10:10 AM   #38
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Quote:
Yes, the militia of 1789 no longer exists.
The press and state sanctioned churches of that period have passed, but this doesn't mean that COTUS rights have an expiration date.

The trope that revolutionary militias no longer exist ignores both the law and the meaning of the word.

More importantly, the idea that we do not benefit from the liberty of the 2d Am. simply because we have other liberties as well ignores the frailty of written constitutions. Unless the affection for freedom is the genuine constitution of a people, the written form of their constitution will not matter. The purpose of this civil liberty is understood best by people who've been deprived of it, like those who wrote the 2d Am.

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How we burned in the prison camps later thinking: What would things have been like if every police operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive? If during periods of mass arrests people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever was at hand? The organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt.
Or, as Mao more pithily wrote:

Quote:
Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
No student of history can regard the state as purely benign. Our system recognises this, and provides many ways to oppose the power of the state, including the vote, the press and access to courts. While calling for insurrection here and now is strictly the province of what nearly all of us would regard as kooks, the impulse to divest people of any of the BOR should be recognised as illiberal.
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Old March 1, 2009, 11:40 AM   #39
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These incidents, along with the sinking of freighters of the west coast, increased fears of an impending invasion[1]. The result was that the governors of all three west coast states called forth the militia (not the National Guard) to act as coast-watchers, guard bridges and waterways as well as to secure vital infrastructure like power plants. And many of these volunteers brought their own rifles along.
And these were hardly cataclysmic events, as I discussed earlier.

Great posts Bill; Zukiphile. I can't understand TG's narrow view on this subject. He has contributed so much good stuff here. I still regard his viewpoint highly.

Short of any constitutional convention, My gut tells me me are on solid constitutional ground with our semi-automatics, and that it is only a matter of time before it is codified in the courts.

I am not naive enough to think that congress won't try or maybe even succeed with another ban, but that unhappy occurrence would provide the rope with which they hang themselves, politically, and legally. The DC ban took 34 years to undo. But in the end, it was the extreme nature of the law which made it a softer target.

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Old March 1, 2009, 11:48 AM   #40
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As I told BillCA earlier, the militia today is a fiction residing in the imagination of the gun culture and nowhere else.
TG declares the demise of the militia because its current form does not fit his expectations. The militia certainly does not exist today as it did in 1789, nor should it. The militia is nothing more than people willing to protect and defend their community. Today, the militia is silent and unorganized, but it exists, whether formally acknowledged and blessed by government or not.

The post-Katrina picture that TG derisively posted proves the existence of the militia. There were numerous news reports after Katrina about neighbors who banded together and defended their neighborhoods against the predations of looters. Although they lacked a pre-defined chain of command and the formalizations of which military organizations are so fond, those citizens organized themselves and protected their communities.
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Old March 1, 2009, 01:53 PM   #41
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Quote:
but I have to be honest and say I unless we're talking TEOTWAWKI I would not want to be on that team.
And honestly, I would not want to be on that team either. But if I felt I had to be on that team, I would be. And I would be bringing along as many other players as I could.

The militia is not dead. It still exists. It isn't often visible, it isn't organised, and as long as the military/police/national guard have a handle on things, it stays sleeping. But when no formal organised (official) group responds, the citizens band together (which is all a militia really is), and do what needs doing.

We may not have regular meetings, other than coffee at the diner, or chatting on the 'net. We may not wear uniforms, or practice military discipline. We may not conduct practice field exercises, and we may even think much more highly of our capabilities than appearences suggest, but we are still out there. And if we see the need, we do respond.
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Old March 1, 2009, 02:17 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillCA
This is one area where we have disagreed before and I can see that neither of us is going to be persuaded to change their mind.
Bill, that's OK, I am not trying to change anybody's mind, however, I hope each of us can learn from the other as we discuss things. I have certainly learned from you and many others here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillCA
We The People are the fourth branch
Bill, we are not a branch of government, we ARE the government. However, we are also a republic and the separations of power were intended to restrain those we elected from becoming despots. And for 230 years it has worked.

As to the incidents you mentioned in WWII. I know from time to time the military and the police may call upon ordinary citizens to assist them in their duties. However, I think making the case that doing so is a militia as described by the 2A is too much of a stretch. I debated before on here with a gentleman named Jon Roland who felt that calling the police when one saw a crime constituted militia activity. I disagreed and distinguished civic duty from the militia and it's now-defunct purpose.
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Old March 1, 2009, 02:29 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
I can't understand TG's narrow view on this subject. He has contributed so much good stuff here. I still regard his viewpoint highly.
First of all thanks for your kind words and I am thnakful to you and mods like Al Norris that we can have a reasoned discussion on these issues. One note about the "narrowness" of my views. Keep in mind that most who post on here belong to the gun culture. I have no problem with that but many of the views here about the insurrection theory, militias and armed citizenry are really minority views when taken as a whole by our current US society. Talk to Joe on the street and mention militias and insurrection against the government and you are likely to get some strange looks. My point is that even though I might be in the minority on this forum, I may not be elsewhere. Not that your opinion doesn't count it does, just try to avoid the smugness that some on here project.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gc70
TG declares the demise of the militia because its current form does not fit his expectations.
I declare it dead because it is dead and has no form to fit the expectations or requirements the Founding Fathers put on it then or that our society has today. It doesn't exist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gc70
The post-Katrina picture that TG derisively posted proves the existence of the militia. There were numerous news reports after Katrina about neighbors who banded together and defended their neighborhoods against the predations of looters. Although they lacked a pre-defined chain of command and the formalizations of which military organizations are so fond, those citizens organized themselves and protected their communities.
That example by your own description is not a militia. Unless you subscribe to the theory folks like Jon Roland put forth that civic duty or self defense is the militia. I think that theory is wrong IMO.
If you and I resist with firearms a robbery are we in the militia?

The idea that where two or more are gathered togther with guns constitutes a militia shows a complete historical misunderstanding of what the militia of the 2A was and seems more like a romantic notion than reality.

Finally, since everyone here likes to quote old dead folks here is one from George Washington's first State of the Union address:
Quote:
A free people ought not to be armed but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well digested plan requisite
You see 'ole George knew that a mob with guns was not only ineffective militarily but dangerous. As I stated before We the American People killed the militia, may it rest in peace.
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Old March 1, 2009, 04:50 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
The idea that where two or more are gathered togther with guns constitutes a militia shows a complete historical misunderstnding of what the militia of the 2A was and seems more like a romantic notion than reality.
The historical misunderstanding is that the militia aspired to in the language of the Second Amendment is the only form of militia. Militias have existed for millenia as people acted collectively to defend and ensure order in their communities.

Militias are "a romantic notion" only if one is willing to deny the evidence of current events. Militias are active in Iraq and many other countries where warfare and lawlessness have threatened communities and the people have responded collectively to defend and ensure order in their communities.

Arguing that the absence of a 1789-style militia means that the militia is dead is about the same as arguing that the right to keep and bear arms only applies to 1789-era weapons.
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Old March 1, 2009, 05:02 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gc70
The historical misunderstanding is that the militia aspired to in the language of the Second Amendment is the only form of militia. Militias have existed for millenia as people acted collectively to defend and ensure order in their communities.

Militias are "a romantic notion" only if one is willing to deny the evidence of current events. Militias are active in Iraq and many other countries where warfare and lawlessness have threatened communities and the people have responded collectively to defend and ensure order in their communities.
The militia were not created by the common law. Militia law in the US was statutory law. The charter of each American colony included authority to create militia units. All American colonies passed militia laws under the authority granted by their charters. There never was a period of common law militia in America.

The concept of the militia to remember is that it was a SYSTEM to create organized armed forces for the colony. The militia could be called out by local officials for defense purposes or called out by the colonial leadership. There was also fighting and killing done by groups that were not militia units.

This is what the militia was. That is not reality today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gc70
Arguing that the absence of a 1789-style militia means that the militia is dead is about the same as arguing that the right to keep and bear arms only applies to 1789-era weapons.
No it just means things have changed. Militia as I stated above had a specific purpose defined by law. Law has modified that meaning. The second part of your statement does not follw for it speaks to technology not law.
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Old March 1, 2009, 05:22 PM   #46
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Because I am evil....

I'm going to throw some gasoline on the smoldering embers and then duck for cover....

What about all the "militias" that were part of the "vast right wing conspiracy" that the Clintons were so fond of telling us about?

Are they all gone?
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Old March 1, 2009, 05:41 PM   #47
Tennessee Gentleman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP
What about all the "militias" that were part of the "vast right wing conspiracy" that the Clintons were so fond of telling us about?

Are they all gone?
If I told you, you would have to be killed.
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Old March 1, 2009, 06:50 PM   #48
Al Norris
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We seem to have two threads that at this point in time, are both discussing the militia aspect of the 2A.

Could this mean that a semi auto ban would be overturned? (this thread) and 2nd Amendment; Why it's so important. the other thread - Both discussions in both threads are perhaps off topic.

The discussions in both are quite good, and I hate to close them both... Hmmm....

Upon further investigation, it is this thread that has gone off topic and will remain closed.
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