American Militia & Your Right to Keep & Bear Arms – “Shall Not Be Infringed”

By Mark Walters

 A Well Regulated Militia, The Basis For Private Gun Ownership
A Well Regulated Militia, The Basis For Private Gun Ownership
Mark Walters
Mark Walters

USA – -( Some Observations

I love writing columns like this. The radio host in me is always scouring the sea of “news” in search of content, which usually requires a triage technique of sifting through stories to either keep for show content, or let go.

There are a few things that stand out from my work on Thursday, the first of which came from my great friend and colleague Dr. AWR Hawkins of Breitbart News (who made my “triage” system easy yesterday).

His work, entitled A Well Regulated Militia, The Basis For Private Gun Ownership, was brilliant. So much so in my estimation, that it will go down as one of the definitive works of his writing career. In it, he expertly tied together the writings of James Madison from Federalist 46 with part of the Heller v. DC decision written so eloquently by late Justice Antonin Scalia, then summed it up with his final analysis. In so doing, he put a dagger through the heart of the “argument” made by many gun-grabbers and leftist scholars that would suggest the Second Amendment is a “collective” right reserved for service in a militia.

Referring to the Second Amendment “well-regulated militia clause, Dr. Hawkins asked us to “Think about what is conveyed by the term “militia.” He then directed us to part of Scalia's Heller decision:

Unlike armies and navies, which Congress is given the power to create (“to raise . . . Armies”; “to provide . . . a Navy,” Art. I, §8, cls. 12–13), the militia is assumed by Article I already to be in existence. Congress is given the power to “provide for calling forth the militia,” §8, cl. 15; and the power not to create, but to “organiz[e]” it—and not to organize “a” militia, which is what one would expect if the militia were to be a federal creation, but to organize “the” militia, connoting a body already in existence, ibid., cl. 16. This is fully consistent with the ordinary definition of the militia as all able-bodied men. From that pool, Congress has plenary power to organize the units that will make up an effective fighting force.

Scalia, in his incredible writing for the majority in the Heller case, in precise and succinct terms, made it clear that the right to bear arms is individual. Hawkins went further by invoking Madison in Federalist 46:

The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. 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. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country.

Dr. Hawkins reminds us, “At the outset, we must understand that the individual right to keep and bear arms is not in spite of the mention of a militia but because of it. In other words, because the militia played a key role in the Founders’ minds, and is intended to play a key role even now, the right to possess arms, with which to gather in militia, “shall not be infringed.””

This piece is a must-read. You can find it at the link above. When you're finished, send it to a liberal.

Second, you may have heard me talk about “unarmed” versus “disarmed” during some of my radio broadcasts. There's a difference. In my world, a person is unarmed by choice and disarmed by the threat of force or arrest. I'll put it in personal terms for you. My friend Gator Gaynor, co-host of the Gator and Denise Show on AAR affiliate KYKN 1430 AM in Salem, Oregon sent me a link via Facebook message to his discussion about being patted down at a Salem Brewfest over the weekend. Yeah, searched for weapons at a brewfest! He asked in his post if TSA had any lost employees that might have found their way to the event. Gator refused to be disarmed and left the grounds. Good for him.

When he alerted me to his situation, he was unaware of the fact that the night before, I had been disarmed by a theatre in the Buckhead section of Atlanta while taking my daughter to a pop concert. Normally I would walk right in as I did when I took her to see the same performers last year, but at a different venue. That one had no wanding security, while this one had a strict “no weapons” policy that I couldn't have thwarted if I tried…well I could have, but I promised my daughter that I would follow the rules. Here in Georgia, it's not against the law for me to violate their “policy,” but they were pretty strict about adhering to it and did provide armed security and police presence. While I was parked fairly close, I just wasn't willing to risk having to walk to the truck and back again, or worse, gotten myself kicked out.

Believe me; if I had gotten us kicked out, I would have broken my daughter's heart. (For those of you grunting ” I wouldn't have gone in if I couldn't have taken my gun,” I'll assume you don't have a daughter that counted down the last 127 days leading up to the show)

Regardless, we made it out alive, my daughter and I shared some precious time together that we'll never forget and I got some more free stuff to talk about on-air.

Funny how that happens!


About Mark Walters

Mark Walters is the host of two nationally syndicated radio broadcasts, Armed American Radio and Armed American Radio's Daily Defense with Mark Walters. He is the Second Amendment Foundations 2015 Gun Rights Defender of the Year award recipient and co-author of two books, Lessons from Armed America with Kathy Jackson (Whitefeather Press) and Lessons from UnArmed America with Rob Pincus (Whitefeather Press)

  • 9 thoughts on “American Militia & Your Right to Keep & Bear Arms – “Shall Not Be Infringed”

    1. When I read articles like this it just verifys all the deep seated twisted reasons we have such problems with owning and carrying firearms! ALL of these so called intelligent people are just showing their stupidity and lack of understanding of our basic fundamental human Rights.

      On the Breitbart article title, ” A ‘well regulated militia’, the basis for private gun ownership”. In other words, because we should have a militia, then, that is the reason we should have private gun ownership! That tells me you believe the ‘cart’ should pull the ‘horse’!!!! The militia is drawn from the general population. Are you actually trying to present a hogwash theory that the militia is the basis, the reason, for having the existence of a general population?

      You should know that our God-given individual unalienable fundamental RIGHT exists and “that” is the BASIS FOR having THE MILITIA! Not vice-versa. To PROTECT all of our Rights. The militia DOES NOT have to exist, BUT, our Right to ARMS will always.

      The Right to be armed DOES NOT depend on the existence of a militia.

      You can oppress our Rights, you can deny our Rights, you can brainwash people with your twist on the reason for our Rights, upside down and inside out, BUT, our Rights STAND as natural fundamental God given Rights that NO man has any authority over!

      Trying to state that the ‘well organized militia’ is the basis for private gun ownership is a political ploy to say government should have tyrannical control over our Right to be armed!

      We are NOT armed to have a militia, but, because we are armed we can have a militia! The militia is NOT the reason to be armed, it is the consequences, the security in numbers, of being armed!

      THUS, the private ownership of guns is the basis for a “well regulated militia”! There, the horse is in front of the cart.

      You might note that some years ago one Second Amendment supporter sent a letter to a professor, a newspaper editor, an English language expert asking him to break down and describe the Second Amendment.
      He said “The right to keep and bear arms is deemed unconditional by the entire sentence.”

      We have a saying, “look before you leap”, BUT, sometimes I wish these so-called intelligent people would play these Orwellian word games on themselves, putting their own ‘cart before their own horse’ and ‘Leap before they look” into the abyss of obscurity. They are really causing more of a problem than a solution to the understanding of our individual unalienable fundamental Rights.

    2. Show me any source you have for the 17th century definition of “Well Regulated” that mentions “well trained”.
      Here is the Etymology of “Well Regulated” from as early as the 1620s:
      well-regulated (adj.) Look up well-regulated at
      1709 (Shaftsbury), from well (adv.) + past participle of regulate (v.).
      regulate (v.) Look up regulate at
      early 15c., “adjust by rule, control,” from Late Latin regulatus, past participle of regulare “to control by rule, direct,”……..
      Meaning “to govern by restriction” is from 1620s.

      This definition fits perfectly with the Second Amendment meaning, being that when “People keep and bear arms” these People “govern by restriction” the “Militia” and insure the “security of a free State”.
      Defined any other way, such as “well trained”, the words “well regulated” have no grammatical connection to the rest of the sentence and could be left out without changing the meaning, the condition of which cannot Lawfully belong to the Constitution:

      U.S. Supreme Court
      Holmes v. Jennison, 39 U.S. 14 Pet. 540 540 (1840)
      In expounding the Constitution of the United States, every word must have its due force and appropriate meaning, for it is evident from the whole instrument that no word was unnecessarily used or needlessly added. The many discussions which have taken place upon the construction of the Constitution have proved the correctness of this proposition and shown the high talent, the caution, and the foresight of the illustrious men who framed it. Every word appears to have been weighed with the utmost deliberation, and its force and effect to have been fully understood. No word in the instrument, therefore, can be rejected as superfluous or unmeaning,Page 39 U. S. 571

      1. …. oh, of course! If it’s on the Internet, it just HAS to be true!! Right? (that’s sarcasm, there, just in case you were wondering)

        Your data and argument stopped short, and deceptively hinted at a conclusion that is dead wrong.

        Of course it involves a factor of “rule or control”… and that is exactly what establishing standards – military regulations – in the first place actually accomplishes. Four different places in the Federalist Papers make clear (crystal clear) that the Founding Fathers intended that each militiaman had the responsibility to be trained and equipped up to those standards – which, quite logically, absolutely required each citizen to have (and bear with them at all times) their own personal war-suitable firearms. The Right of the People (did not say militia, says people – which specifies individuals) to keep, to own – and to bear, carry on their person – arms is absolute, and that IS precisely and exactly the Founders’ intention.

      1. Indeed!

        The term “well-regulated” actually meant equipped and trained “to military regulation.” When called to militia service, each citizen was expected to provide his own arms (suitable for war) and three days’ worth of supplies (ammunition, food, clothing, water, etc)… to last until the logistics train could resupply the troops.

        The concept of “regulated” being defined as “controlled” is a modern interpretation only, and has nothing to do with the Founding Fathers’ original intention.

    3. Someone should tell the state of Texas about infringement on the second ammendment. They demand that highly trained combat veterans go to a firing range to prove their ability with a firearm just to collect their money. This is clearly a civil rights violation that of fair treatment. They also demand your fingerprint before the application process another violation of your constitutional rights because no such law demands it
      They also ask if you are addicted to drugs which is another violation of constitutional rights again because it is an invasion of privacy. They sell hundreds of millions of dollars in lottery tickets saying support veterans and education but yet steal money from disabled veterans like myself. The murder rate has skyrocketed in the state jumping by 44% in some cities because of restricted gun laws. You can not openly carry a firearm into Walmart or a grocery store yet people are killed in the parking lot as they leave the store. Chicanery ,collusion and volutary manslaughter but yet Gregg Abbott and his buddies run free to promote the drug smugglers. The best way to enslave the and kill citizens is to disarm them Thomas Jefferson.

      1. @WM.
        Sorry for You Trouble Dude ! …….MOVE !.
        Other States are Much Easier and More
        Citizen Friendly .
        Like they say ( Everythings Bigger in Texas )
        and that includes headaches and laws.

      2. So you have a problem with a standard background check?
        Please cite the study that shows the murder rate has “skyrocketed by 44%”. If that were true the anti-gun media would be all over it and yet I hear nothing.
        As to Walmart, if you’ll closely read the signs posted, carrying of a handgun is permitted, the open carry of a long gun is not.

      3. @William Miller I live in Texas and I am a licensed CHL/LTC holder. You apparently unaware of the significant reduction in the costs associated with the obtaining of a license. Governor Abbott is a staunch supporter of the second amendment and does what he can to make obtaining a license to carry affordable for all. As there States that are more lenient when it comes to concealed or open carry, sure. However, personally, I happen to love living in Texas. If you feel so repressed, move. As to the 44% increase in crime, flat out B. S. Sell it to someone that isn’t paying attention to what is going on in the state, or provide your source that isn’t some left wing rag. As for Wal-Mart, I shop at the one in Bulverde on s regular basis while open carrying. I have yet to be questioned by any store personnel as to whether I have a license or not. I have yet to observe ANY adverse reactions from any of the other patrons. Additionally, the Wal-Mart I frequent does not have 30-06 or 30-07 signage. Nor have I ever read or heard of anyone “killed in the parking as they leave the store”. Unless you are prepared to back up your ridiculous statements with fact, how about you just keep it to yourself!

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