- Created: 16 February 2013
A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. - U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, Article 2
In the wake of the recent shootings in Connecticut, the public’s attention is drawn once again to the right of the people to keep and bear arms. And as always, the response of tyrannical governments to such crimes is to further restrict law-abiding citizens from owning and carrying firearms. Surely everyone can understand that the existence of laws prohibiting criminal behavior is an effective means of preventing such behavior. One need only look at the statistics on murder, for example, to see how well that theory works. Indeed, that theory doesn’t even hold true for Congress itself, since the 2nd Amendment — the supreme law of the land — makes it illegal to infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and yet, even as you read this, Congress is busy trying to enact all sorts of infringements on that sacred right.
The Declaration of Independence recognizes that our lives are a gift to each of us from God, our Creator. Every person thus having an inalienable right to his or her own life, it naturally follows that no other person can have a right to take it from us. Therefore, in order to preserve and secure our lives, the right to prevent such a taking is an inherent component of our right to life. And so, we come to the first reason why our right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed: because every infringement of that right, by hindering us in defending our lives, is equally an infringement of our right to life.
However, there’s a second reason as well, as recognized by the 2nd Amendment: because the security of a free state depends on the people keeping and bearing arms. The Constitution of Maryland admits this where it states that “standing Armies are dangerous to liberty”1 and that “a well regulated Militia is the proper and natural defence of a free Government.”2 One of the ways that defense could be utilized was addressed by James Madison in Federalist Paper, No. 46:
The only refuge left for those who prophecy the downfall of the state governments, is the visionary supposition, that the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition. ... Extravagant as the supposition is, let it however be made. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the state governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. 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. (emphasis added)
Clearly, Madison recognized that the security of the states from the predations of a tyrannical federal government would be provided by the militia, consisting of the whole body of “citizens with arms in their hands.” Indeed, the deciding factor would be the overwhelming number of militiamen compared to any standing army which the federal government would be able to maintain. Thus, the second reason that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed is because the defense of the state requires that the citizenry be able to take up arms against any invasion by the federales (or even foreign invasion).
And there’s a third reason, recognized by Article 1, §8, clause 15 of the U.S. Constitution, giving Congress the power to “provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.” This provision shows that the militia is also an integral part of the security of the nation as a whole. Just as the number of armed citizens would dwarf the number of soldiers able to be maintained by our own federal government, so too would our citizen militia outnumber any other country’s army, providing the ultimate defense against foreign invasion.
Since the defense of our states and our country, as outlined above, contemplates the militia fighting against organized armies of regular soldiers, then the argument of the gun-grabbers that regular citizens don’t need assault weapons of the types designed for military use, is clearly nonsense. That is precisely the type of weapons needed by the militia to provide an effective defense against invasions or insurrections. And the fact that such weapons are also useful against more personal invasions — in our own communities, against our own lives, or the lives of our families — is an added benefit.
This three-prong aspect of the right to keep and bear arms creates a rather unique situation concerning any restrictions on firearm ownership. Since the states must have an armed populace to repel invasions by an over-reaching federal government, with a standing army on their side, then any federal restrictions prevent the states from being able to defend themselves, and are therefore unconstitutional, on the grounds that the Constitution clearly states that such a militia is necessary to their security. On the other hand, since the Constitution requires that the militia be available for the use of the federal government, any restrictions imposed by the state governments, thereby rendering their citizenry unavailable to the feds when necessary, would likewise be unconstitutional on that ground. And finally, since the people themselves have the inalienable right to defend their lives, their families, their communities, states and nation from invasions of any sort, then any restrictions on our right to keep and bear arms — by governments at any level — would not only violate that right, but would also undermine the security of our states and country. Clearly then, every legislator or other politician who endorses such measures is a traitor to their nation, their state, and to their fellow citizens. Let the prosecutions begin!
1. Article 29, Declaration of Rights, Constitution of Maryland.
2. Ibid., Article 28.