Militias and the Second Amendment

Amendment II, The Bill of Rights:

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.

Does this amendment, the second amendment, part of the Bill or Rights, provide a legal basis for any group to develop and train a militia? Has this amendment been misinterpreted? How is it that the term “well regulated Militia” has come to mean that independent militias, with no real ties to the state, can be formed? Is this one of the many of  Achilles’ heels built into the Constitution?

One interpretation of the original intent of the founding fathers in establishing this second amendment was to guard against the possibility of a tyrannical government developing here in the United States. It was not to include standing armies, like the National Guard, but to consist of individual citizens organized, trained, to act in the event that the United States government were to become tyrannical. This was  a result of the founders having seen governments in Europe used against their own peoples.

Another interpretation is that a militia, like the National Guard, with states in control of individual units, was the intention. It was the Federal Government that was seen as the threat of becoming tyrannical and needing the safeguard provided by a citizens’ militia to keep it in check. 

Presently there are hundreds of militias operating, training in the United States. Rather than composed of Americans in general from all walks of life, many are composed of groups of people who have specific backgrounds, specific goals in mind, rather than a general interest in protecting the Constitution, or individual American’s rights. I do not think that this is what the founding fathers had in mind.

In America we have militias formed by Jewish groups, Christian groups, and Muslim groups. Each seemingly intent on opposing the other should the need arise. There are also militias formed by other groups with suspicious intent. With all these groups seemingly waiting for a moment of anarchy to occur so that they can rise up and protect their own interests it is hard to conceive that they have any interest in the preservation of the America envisioned by the founding fathers.

In 1996 there was a raid on one such militia:

From the Los Angeles Times, July 3, 1996…

Federal agents searching the homes and caches of Arizona’s Viper militia said Tuesday that they found bombs, hundreds of pounds of bomb-making material, more than 200 blasting caps, about 70 shotguns and rifles and a .30-caliber belt-fed Browning machine gun the Vipers called “Shirley.”

The agents pressed their search for 12-inch aluminum rockets carrying half a pound of explosives apiece that they said the Vipers were designing to be fired from automatic rifles. They said the Vipers bragged that each of the rockets could “take out a police car” at 500 yards in what the militia called its upcoming war against “the government.”

Are such groups, through the act of taking excessive advantage of the Second Amendment, through misinterpretation of the Second Amendment, going to cause an erosion of the Second Amendment?

Some of these groups, like the California Militia, have a survivalist mentality, banking heavily on the eventual demise of the United States due to what they see as an inevitable descent into anarchy.

California Militia:

 Our plan is simply to train and prepare for what is inevitable: the destruction of our society from it’s own apathy and greed. Our strategy is simple. Prepare to rebuild America on the ashes of that destruction. If we can survive the initial turmoil and feed ourselves and our families until the chaos levels out, we can begin to rebuild. If we don’t organize now, it will be too late, as it will be impossible to form a network, when everyone will be preoccupied with daily survival in a chaotic state of anarchy. By forming defensive units now, and taking note of skills among our members we can best insure our survival through cooperation. We can, through this cooperation, begin to improve our lives now. All it takes is commitment and loyalty.

In this day and age such plans seem naïve. If our government collapses, do they expect they will be free from foreign encroachment? With the many different groups espousing their own goals how could one group hope to prevail?

Here we have all these militia groups, all training to do battle. Each having some sort of paranoid vision of impending doom. Each having different ideas of what America should be.  What kind of spark would it take to ignite such groups into action? Could it be that the existence of all these disjointed groups might create the anarchy which they seek to prevent? Altogether, might they be a powder keg, awaiting a tiny spark?

Who decides whether a government has become tyrannical or not? What kind of incident would open the floodgates for these militias to initiate action?

One thing is for sure… If our present government collapses, igniting action by the various militia groups, America, as we know it, will never be again.

In conclusion, it is clear that the founding fathers did not intend for the Second Amendment meaning that independent militias representing separate intents were to be legally created. It was intended that each state was to have the right to maintain their own militias. The purpose of such militias were meant to protect the people from the development, should it occur, of a tyrannical Federal government. For this purpose, the right to bear arms, of the individual citizen, was not to be infringed upon.


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