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Old March 25, 2013, 08:08 PM   #1
tomrkba
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That "militia thing"

What would happen if 100 or more men showed up at the local town square, formed up, said the pledge of allegiance, saluted the flag, and someone did an inspection? Every man would have a full kit, rifle, sidearm and ammunition. There would be no standard uniform or "unit". They'd then disperse and go home. No running around the woods, no diatribes against tyranny, the UN, or anything else. It would not be associated with any sort of protest. It would be a simple activity in an open carry state.

I have been thinking about the intent behind the Second Amendment (and state right to keep and bear arms) with all the swirl around gun control. I have noticed that nobody is bringing up the "militia" part of the right. I believe the Founders intended it to be a responsibility of every man to participate in at some level. Yet, today, nobody does it in any formal manner. It seems to me that very few regular shooters are prepared in any sort of way beyond what would be required for the next action shooting match.

I placed this in the "Law and Civil Rights" forum because this is a fundamental portion of the right to keep and bear arms. It seems to me that we should begin to engage in this activity independent of politics or protests.

This is just a thought, nothing more. I'm curious if others have been thinking about this too.
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Old March 25, 2013, 08:09 PM   #2
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Nobody is bringing up the "militia" aspect because SCOTUS just (in the last 5 years) clarified that the RKBA is unconnected to service in any militia.
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Old March 25, 2013, 08:47 PM   #3
tomrkba
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Quote:
Nobody is bringing up the "militia" aspect because SCOTUS just (in the last 5 years) clarified that the RKBA is unconnected to service in any militia.
The right to assemble as a militia still exists. It may be divorced from the right to keep and bear arms, but the Founders intended for us to engage in it.
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Old March 25, 2013, 08:54 PM   #4
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I don't think the SCOTUS said that militia service or membership is "unconnected" to or "divorced from" the RKBA. I think what they said is that the RKBA is not dependent on being a member of the militia. The connection is there and it seems to me that both Scalia and Alito recognized it, but they were clear in saying that the core right to keep and bear arms does not require that one be a member of the militia.

To say otherwise would raise a lot of issues nobody wants raised. For example, the Militia Act defines the militia as able-bodied males 18 to (I believe) 45 years of age, plus female members of the National Guard and Naval Auxiliary (or whatever the naval militia is called in the act). So ... I'm a Vietnam veteran and now very much a senior citizen. I'm several decades past the upper limit for the militia. Does that mean I have no RKBA? What about (oh,oh!) wimmin? If the RKBA were to be strictly based on membership in the militia, NO women other than National Guard and Naval Whatever would have any RKBA.

I don't think even the ardent gun grabbers want to tell women they have less rights than a class of men aged 18 to 45.

Last edited by Aguila Blanca; March 25, 2013 at 09:00 PM.
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Old March 25, 2013, 09:30 PM   #5
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I can’t speak of what would happen in your county, but can mine. If what you describe happened with our previous Sheriff, I guaranty there would be 100 people arrested. With our current Sheriff, well, he’d probably join you.

Can you tell I like our current Sheriff?
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Old March 26, 2013, 06:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
The right to assemble as a militia still exists
No, it doesn't. There is no right to form a militia for The People. Some states have banned a private/non-state militia, and do not organize or regulate a state militia outside of the National Guard, leaving you no militia option in that state.
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Old March 26, 2013, 07:31 AM   #7
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No, it doesn't. There is no right to form a militia for The People. Some states have banned a private/non-state militia, and do not organize or regulate a state militia outside of the National Guard, leaving you no militia option in that state.
And taking it even further, some states ban types of "paramilitary training" outright. The statutes are fuzzy, and were basically just a knee-jerk reaction to the swelling number of survivalist/extremist groups in the 70s.
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Old March 26, 2013, 08:41 AM   #8
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Whoa... I didn't know states had definitive prohibitions on groups like that. Seems it would violate the right of free association. Not arguing any point mind you, just surprised.

I've thought several times during this recent threat that Obama was not JUST the best gun salesman but that he was probably the best thing to happen for recruitment into both fringe groups and into some stand-up militia's.

I know of at least one of the latter, at least from tone of their community outreach. Have heard them talk on the radio in Sandpoint a couple times and they just seem like prudent folk wanting to be on guard on behalf of their nation.
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Old March 26, 2013, 09:09 AM   #9
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Before I moved to the free State of Tennessee, I came from Rhode Island. RI law states that it is absolutely forbidden to form any type of militia and, it is also forbidden to take part in any type of "para military" training.
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Old March 26, 2013, 09:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SgtDog0311
Whoa... I didn't know states had definitive prohibitions on groups like that. Seems it would violate the right of free association.
As ScottRiqui stated, the statutes are fuzzy, and AFAIK none of these laws have been seriously challenged since the SCOTUS started taking incorporation more seriously under the Warren and Burger courts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SgtDog0311
I've thought several times... that Obama was not JUST the best gun salesman but that he was probably the best thing to happen for recruitment into... some stand-up militia's... they just seem like prudent folk wanting to be on guard on behalf of their nation.
As I've stated in several similar threads, an unsanctioned private group is not a true militia in the constitutional sense. I prefer to call such groups paramilitaries.

To build upon what Aquila and JimDandy have already written, the founders clearly intended for "The Militia" to be sanctioned by state and local governments* and controlled by the federal government at certain times*, which is why the Constitution gives control of the state militias to Congress and command of the militias to the President.

More of my thoughts here:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=510312

*[EDIT] Portions in italics were added to clarify what I intended to say. Pardon the misunderstanding- it was a botched attempt at brevity.
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Last edited by carguychris; March 26, 2013 at 03:22 PM.
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Old March 26, 2013, 09:11 AM   #11
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Be arrested for having a parade/protest without a permit.
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Old March 26, 2013, 09:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
To build upon what Aquila and JimDandy have already written, the founders clearly intended for "The Militia" to be sanctioned and controlled by the government, which is why the Constitution gives control of the state militias to Congress and command of the militias to the President.
This sentiment appears to conflate "a militia" with "the Militia". "The Militia" is a defined population, not an organisation like the NG.

Congress is granted authority to call up "The Militia", but that doesn't confer upon it other additional authority to control that population.



In any event, noting congressional authority with respect to a defined population shouldn't suggest that the right described in the 2d Am. is limited to or dependent on membership in a statutorily defined population. It wouldn't make sense to have a fundamental right so vulnerable to routine legislation.
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Old March 26, 2013, 11:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomrkba
...It seems to me that we should begin to engage in this activity independent of politics or protests...
Why? What purpose supportive of the RKBA would it serve? Why would you think it would serve that purpose? Any evidence or data to support your beliefs?

It strikes me that many people who support gun control and politicians who vote for gun control legislation do so because they are frightened of people who own guns. I don't see how a sort of demonstration as suggested by the OP could ameliorate those fears, and would more likely to increase them.

In any case, what positive would likely come of this sort of exercise?
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Old March 26, 2013, 11:39 AM   #14
tomrkba
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The purpose is to exercise a right not used in a long time. The people have not organized themselves in a long time. The idea is to show up, be counted, recite the pledge, show your rifle, and leave. Why does it have to be so difficult?
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Old March 26, 2013, 11:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomrkba
...Why does it have to be so difficult?
Because it sounds like a monumental waste of time that is unlikely to benefit our struggle to promote the RKBA and may well generate some negative public reaction that could hurt us.
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Old March 26, 2013, 12:07 PM   #16
tomrkba
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Frank,

Stop, review what politicians are saying and doing, and think.

Politicians in Colorado have openly admitted to ignoring all pro-rkba correspondence and testimony in the passage of the recent gun control laws in that state. If that behavior exists in other states and at the national level, and that seems to the case, all the letter writing in the world does not matter. They feel confident that they can pass what they want. But, that was not the point of my idea. It was really to see if people are willing to think about standing up and being counted. All indications are that they are not.
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Old March 26, 2013, 12:10 PM   #17
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Agreed. The people setting up would look strange. I'd proffer in most towns of decent size the police would be all over them. On the positive it might be entertaining to watch the hijinks. I am not saying anyone here is a wackjob or anything of that nature mind you. I'm just saying as a bystander thats what it would look like. OR it might look like homegrown terrorists forming up (pick your poison on that one-KKK, neonazis, jihadis etc.).

Now if those guys all came dressed up like the Continental Army, that would be kind of cool. But then it would be a reenactment and not a protest or whatever this is supposed to be.

Last edited by zincwarrior; March 26, 2013 at 01:03 PM.
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Old March 26, 2013, 12:10 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomrkba
The purpose is to exercise a right not used in a long time. The people have not organized themselves in a long time. The idea is to show up, be counted, recite the pledge, show your rifle, and leave. Why does it have to be so difficult?
Emphasis added.

I think there are some ambiguities in the idea you express here.

"The people" express and organize themselves in many different ways. They routinely do this every two years in elections, and in the 1930s they organized themselves to elect a Congress that gave us the NFA. So, let us recognize that "the people" organizing is not an activity uniformly consistent with an expansion of liberty.

Sentiments that rest on the insurrectionist theory of the Second Amendment seem to resonate best with people who are small "d" democrats, i.e. not necessarily members of the American democrat party, but those who place of authority in popular expression. However, as the patchwork of our state gun regulations indicate, popular sentiment is not a frequent companion of civil liberties. On the contrary, the exercise of these liberties appears to be better served by removing their protection from popular sentiment and leaving it with the judiciary.

My general sense is that your suggestion for a rifle bearing protest is most likely to occur, be tolerated well and supported in parts of the country where most voters would already comfortable with it.

Nationally, we have a vice president who suggests all we really need is a double-barreled shotgun (you know, because you do not have to aim those) and a Congress who have most recently focused on whether they should ban items in common use, a genre of legislation unlikely to pass the standard suggested in Heller. I like the chances of prevailing in that controversy.

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Old March 26, 2013, 12:18 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carguychris
To build upon what Aquila and JimDandy have already written, the founders clearly intended for "The Militia" to be sanctioned and controlled by the government, which is why the Constitution gives control of the state militias to Congress and command of the militias to the President.
Whoa, Mate.

I referred to the Militia Act, which is in Federal law. It defines who is in the "unorganized militia," but it does not say that the unorganized militia is under government control unless called up by the Federal government. I don't believe that the Founders saw local militias as being under government control at all ... other than ensuring that each town or county HAD its local militia. The colonial militias were typically not under government control unless/until called up by the governor for duty.

As to someone's comment above that many states prohibit "private" militias or paramilitary training, I'm not so sure about that. I haven't researched the laws of all the states on this, but I have researched several. And, while those I have looked into do have provisions regarding paramilitary training, they do not have blanket prohibitions. They prohibit paramilitary training for the purpose of overthrowing the government.

In states such as those, a group conducting paramilitary training for the purpose of taking over the state and seceding from the United States might be prohibited. A group of U.S. military war veterans training as a "militia" so as to be better prepared against the possibility of a terrorist assault would not be prohibited.

Of course, the question of how to explain the difference to the nice men in the Bradley fighting vehicles could be vexing ...
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Old March 26, 2013, 12:30 PM   #20
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Quote:
In states such as those, a group conducting paramilitary training for the purpose of taking over the state and seceding from the United States might be prohibited. A group of U.S. military war veterans training as a "militia" so as to be better prepared against the possibility of a terrorist assault would not be prohibited.

Of course, the question of how to explain the difference to the nice men in the Bradley fighting vehicles could be vexing ...
Yep - that's what I meant about the statutes being vague. To outside observers, training to repel a superior invading force looks an awful lot like training to overthrow the government, and telling the difference gets into whether or not you can prove intent.
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Old March 26, 2013, 12:49 PM   #21
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I've deleted a couple of posts, one of which used a Nazi reference as an insult. We don't do that here.
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Old March 26, 2013, 01:23 PM   #22
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomrkba
...Stop, review what politicians are saying and doing, and think.

Politicians in Colorado have openly admitted to ignoring all pro-rkba correspondence and testimony in the passage of the recent gun control laws in that state. If that behavior exists in other states and at the national level, and that seems to the case, all the letter writing in the world does not matter. They feel confident that they can pass what they want. But, that was not the point of my idea. It was really to see if people are willing to think about standing up and being counted. All indications are that they are not.
But what does that, exactly, have to do with:
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomrkba
...100 or more men showed up at the local town square, formed up, said the pledge of allegiance, saluted the flag, and someone did an inspection? Every man would have a full kit, rifle, sidearm and ammunition. There would be no standard uniform or "unit". They'd then disperse and go home....
How would your proposed exercise have an impact on gun control efforts?

What purpose supportive of the RKBA would your exercise serve? Why would you think it would serve that purpose? How would it serve that purpose? Any evidence or data to support your beliefs?
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Old March 26, 2013, 01:47 PM   #23
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More importantly how does your idea counter the knee-jerk reactions from people who are afraid of guns?

Gun Nuts Playing Soldier.

Anti-government Militia.

I could come up with more that deal even more directly with the stereotypes of doomsday preppers, and quasi to fully terrorist "militia" organizations in Idaho, Montana and elsewhere, but that would likely get me a spanking from the mods, and the first two should give you an idea.
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Old March 26, 2013, 02:44 PM   #24
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Edward Veira, a Constitutional scholar, wrote a pretty good book about what The Militia is all about. I haven't finished it yet but it has lots of good info.
(Has a picture of the Porcupine Flag on the front cover.)

Congress is charged to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining The Militia. (They've never really done this. )

And there are words in the Constitution about "the Militia of the several states" implying that it is normal and expected that the States would have their own Militias. And there are words about the Militia being called forth to enforce the laws of the union, suppress rebellion and so forth.

All this to say that Veira's view, supported by extensive citation, is that the Militia is an instrument of each State. Citizens are armed in order that when they are called to serve in the Militia that they bring their weapons with them.
(The Swiss model works pretty well to show what ought to be in place.)

If you could convince your state to authorize your group as part of the State Militia then you would have a completely Constitutional activity. The Militia is an agency of each State. ("the Militia of the Several States")

A self-selected group of armed citizens holding maneuvers would not be well-treated by the media, the police, or the courts. How could anyone know if you're rehearsing for insurrection instead?
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Old March 26, 2013, 03:25 PM   #25
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Zukiphile and Aguila- I've edited post #10 to clarify what I really intended to say. I realize in 20/20 hindsight that I unintentionally obscured the distinction between state and local governments and the federal governments as they relate to the militia.
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