By Erick M.

The gun control lobby has hung hard onto the Militia provision of the Second Amendment,  trying to justify the government regulating private arms practically out of existence.  Without getting too legalistic, the Militia provisions in the Constitution actually serve to bolster the natural rights of defense and arms.  This will help you clear the ignorant fog of “militia” and “well regulated” arguments in gun control discussions and actually turn that rhetorical weapon around  to use against them . . .

What a “well-regulated Militia” really means

The Second Amendment says:

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.

The right of the people to arms is coupled with the militia provision of the Second Amendment in a direct parallel to the First Amendment’s protection of individual speech  and the press coupled with peaceable assembly and petition for redress of grievances.  The Second Amendment, observing the effect of the last comma, is properly read to refer to two things that “shall not be infringed.”  The right of the people to keep and bear arms, individually, of course, is protected,  but also the Second Amendment protects the primary power of a revolutionary People:  to assemble — “un-peaceably,”  (i.e. — bearing arms en masse) – in the form of the Militia.

George Mason referred to the Militia in the Virginia ratification debates: “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.” Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788. The Second Amendment similarly protects the individual right of people to be armed, coupled with the power of the people to participate in armed assemblies — though in an orderly and lawfully prescribed manner, as laid out in the other militia clauses.

The Militia is not a right, or not just a right – it is a power that arises naturally from a People who are individually armed. In our case, it is specifically an armed revolutionary People who were instituting the Constitution in question. In it, they reserved their natural power to participate together in the armed defense of themselves and the enforcement of their laws. They made their power subject only to being put in good order as a more effective and disciplined body – or in other words, being “well regulated” – which is to say improved and bettered by good order– but not “infringed.”

Hamilton in Federalist 29 during ratification goes over this sense of “well regulated,” referring  not to provisions governing possession or use of individual arms, but of establishing regulation over the inherent powers of Militia — as a body of armed people–  in their form, organization, arming and discipline:

“What plan for the regulation of the militia may be pursued by the national government, is impossible to be foreseen…  to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss. … But though the scheme of disciplining the whole nation must be abandoned as mischievous or impracticable; yet it is a matter of the utmost importance that a well-digested plan should, as soon as possible, be adopted for the proper establishment of the militia.”    In the Constitutional context, this power of armed assembly is to be “well regulated” by some scheme of organization  and for defined purposes of public order and defense.

The OTHER Militia Clause

The other Militia clauses read as follows:  Art. I, Section 8, Cl. 15: “[The Congress shall have Power] To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;”   Art. I, Section 8, Cl. 16: “[The Congress shall have Power]…  To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;”  And lastly,  Art. II, Section 2, Cl.1:  “The President shall be commander in chief …  of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States;”

Congress has a very limited – but exclusive – set of roles: to provide for “calling forth”  the Militia and “ to provide for organizing arming, and disciplining” it, but “governing” it only when in actual federal service.  Notably, Congress has no power to “disarm” the Militia, which is to say the People, “ except for a few public officials.”   The States operate and staff the Militia ordinarily — but can’t make the organizational or logistical rules for them.

The Militia has not just a military role, but a civil one as well :  “… to execute the laws of the Union.”    The “calling forth” language is speaking of the posse comitatus.   Hamilton in Federalist 29 directly discusses the role of the Militia in posse comitatus , the power to call forth men at arms to enforce the law and apprehend law-breakers for adjudication.   It is from this power that our present professional police evolved in the 19th century.  The “select corps” of militia, also  discussed by Hamilton in Federalist  29 are none other than our various police and law enforcement agencies, as we refer to them today, and which Hamilton also sagely predicted:

“The attention of the government ought particularly to be directed to the formation of a select corps of moderate extent, upon such principles as will really fit them for service in case of need.”  

This pragmatic approach came with a serious caveat however:

.  … but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens.

Putting it all together

Reading all of the Constitution’s Militia provisions together, we come to something like the following  summary of what can and cannot be done  in governing the keeping and carrying of arms, individually and collectively.  Congress cannot debar any person the use of any arm properly capable of being kept OR carried by a person for defense of their person or home.

This practical line is fairly easy to observe. Tanks and bombs, by contrast, are solely military weapons designed and intended for use in or against en masse formations or fortifications, not in ordinary self-defense, either of the person or of a home or refuge. (Leave aside automatic weapons, which warrant an entire discussion of their own).

What Congress can do is to prescribe a certain regular order in forming and disciplining the body of the people as Militia. What it can do is govern the activities of such parts of the Militia as are “called forth” into direct federal service. What it cannot do is actively govern the Militia’s activities when not called forth in federal service (when they are being administered by the States). Congress has no power whatsoever to “disarm” the People, individually or collectively. The Militia considered as a power of the People presupposes individual people being armed — or there can be no Militia at all.

This kind of organizational regulation aids the People in their role as an armed assembly of Militia and does not infringe it. Undisciplined, unorganized armed nobs are ineffective in both military and law-enforcement terms. Indeed, they can become dangerous to the people themselves. This kind of regulation may include prescribing certain arms that must be kept or carried for militia service – the first and second Militia Acts show this plainly.  Such prescribed arms also do not infringe but aid  the power of the People to assemble  in arms, making it more effective by assuring common supply, parts and ammunition, and operational training, for instance.

The power to prescribe is not the power to proscribe or prohibit. Banning personally selected arms would infringe the right of the people to have at hand a relatively more effective weapon, or perhaps a weapon of greater familiarity or convenience. It also infringes  the power of the Militia, by discarding the benefit of perhaps superior training in a personally chosen weapon.

Congress also has no power to allow for arming any “select corps” of the Militia (law-enforcement or police) to a standard of arms while disabling the rest of the People from the same standard of arms.  Though Hamilton suggests it may threaten to become one, “select corps” of Militia would be distinct from an “Army,” which is a creature of its own under the Constitution.

Unlike soldiers of an Army, who operate only in their hierarchical formations, the People are also individually subject to being “called forth” — being deputized on the spot under the militia clauses in aid of the “execution of the  laws” at any time as posse comitatus. The distinction between active law enforcement personnel and any citizen is simply one of relative preparedness to perform that militia duty, but is not a distinction in their legal status.   As Hamilton recognized, “select corps” are merely  part of the Militia, which is to say – the People.

And as Hamilton said of the Militia provisions in relation to and anticipating our present “select corps” and their dangers – there should always remain  “a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens.

You may note that presently federal law enforcement “select corps”  do not really appear at first glance to operate in compliance with the structures noted.  But that is a topic of another discussion.

44 Responses to FNS-9 Contest Entry: Using the Militia Clauses to Fight Gun Grabbers

    • So much rhetoric about a non-issue. The SCOTUS majority decision in Heller rather succinctly points out that “A well regulated militia…” is an introductory and explanatory phrase and that “The right of the people, to keep and bear arms.” is the “action phrase”. There is no reason to go on and on about militias or who controls them or who is in them – the point, and the protected right, is “the right of the people, to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” The militia is just a statement as to one of the main reasons why that right is so important that they listed it as #2 in the Bill of Rights.

      • There’s nothing wrong with having a greater understanding of the policies that govern our country, or at least use to. We need to have a good grasp of knowledge lest our enemies try to take what has been written and spin it another way. Besides putting our faith supremely in one court decision is a bad idea. The Supreme Court will change in the future, and new rulings in the future may undermine previous decisions. remember anti gunners are always seeking to get that next step towards confiscation. Hopefully obama doesn’t get to elect more judges. And we elect a conservative four the next 8-whenever years.

      • The reason why it is important to point out that the militia is protected as much as the right of the people is that it forms a bright line in the text between the collective right (to form an armed militia) and the individual right of the people to keep and carry arms. This right of the people is similarly phrased to the other individual rights in the rest of the Bill of Rights.

        But it also is important to preserve the State’s recourse to an armed force if there were ever an existential federal conflict. Elsewhere, the States are forbidden to keep troops (an army). This is important is that the States are the bulwark of the individual citizens against the federal government. And the Militia is the only armed force properly at the disposal of the State.

        To fail to protect the role of the State and leaving the militia unprotected from being technically formed but practically disabled by clever Congressional statutory skullduggery, would leave the individual citizen in a naked contest with the federal government — and the Founders understood this danger and addressed it in the militia clauses.

        A better plan at his point would be a President who would grasp that he can exercise poltical influence by giving back to the States the administration of the enforcers of federal law in the agencies. Among other things would force them to prioritize more local concerns — and prevent abusive centrally-driven intrigues using politically discriminatory enforcement.

        All it would take is an executive order by a President deeming prudentially unnecessary for direct federal employment of these select corps in a given area, and simply re-assign, say, all the ATF and FBI agents in a county to the administration of the Sheriff of said county. Sheriffs are historically the chief of the militia within their jurisdiction.

        The funding for those agents would be unaffected — but the people in charge of field decisions would change drastically and at a very low level. Insulated by State officers, they would no longer be subject to politically driven enforcement dictates from Washington D.C. (Gibson Guitar, for example)

        While a president might give up some formal power in this way– he could turn this vehicle into a selective instrument of political power. Choosing which areas to give this Congressionally funded boon to, and on what timetables, could be very appealing to political actors. It would become a source of much valuable patronage in an indirect way. Patronage in this manner would be more salutary as well, because the patronage would be to supporters within the States’ administrations, and less to national and private special interests, who have a vested interest in central administration for purposes of gaining greater leverage.

        It would provide a political mechanism that would uncouple the centralizing ratchet our present politics has created. Driving active enforcement decisions back down into the lower levels of State administration and yet still within the federal system would do a lot to cure some of our ills.

        There is a lot more of use dwelling within the militia clauses than we give credit to.

  1. 10 USC 311

    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313
     of title 32
    , under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.(b) The classes of the militia are—(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

    End of debate!

    • You’d like to think that wouldn’t you? But that’s not the case at hand. What is at hand, is what appears to be a rewording of the text, and it happened on 1/15/2013. To wit: http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/10C13.txt

      10 USC 311

      In subsection (b), the words “The organized militia, which
      consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia” are
      substituted for the words “the National Guard, the Naval Militia”,
      since the National Guard and the Naval Militia constitute the
      organized militia.

      The meaning of the word “militia” seems to have been trampled under foot, for what purpose, someone in the House of Representatives should explain. Curious that they felt it needed a rewrite in the first place.

      Militia: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/militia
      1. An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers.
      2. A military force that is not part of a regular army and is subject to call for service in an emergency.
      3. The whole body of physically fit civilians eligible by law for military service.

      This may just be the last intact definition of a militia you will find. During my search, I found all manner of definitions twisting and conflating the “private citizens” and “professional soldiers” as part of a militia force. The text in the 1/15/2013 House rewrite implies that the National Guard and the Naval Militia are the organized militia. Organized, as though the meaning is entirely different from “well regulated?” WTF does that mean?

      If militia is now redefined as professional soldiers (i.e. the National Guard or the Naval Militia) have we citizen soldiers had the right to keep and bear arms altered for a future plan to remove us from the duty and function of a militia? If we’re no longer considered the militia, do we still have the right to keep and bear arms? This is what some nasty liberals I know have been
      going on about for years. That the National Guard “IS” the militia that is specifically mentioned in the 2nd amendment. WRONG!!!

      It is not cut, and it is not dried.

      • Andddddd you didn’t acknowledge the “unregulated militia”, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

        as opposed to the “regulated militia”

        So yeah, it IS cut and dry.

  2. TO: All
    RE: Heh

    A martial nobility and stubborn commons, possesed of arms, tenacious of property, and collected into constitutional assemblies, form the only balance capable of preserving a free constitution against enterprises of an aspiring prince. — Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Be Prepared…..]

  3. When congress no longer operates under the Constitution have they forfeited thier role in goverening the militia?

    I say yes. Either you are part of the Constitutional Republic or you are not.

    Is/has the Congress operating under the Constitution?

    • Technically, yes — they have simply “called forth” “select corps” on a more or less permanent basis in the forms of the FBI, ATF, EPA armed officers, etc. etc. etc. But since much of our problem lies in federal law enforcement running amok –and these law enforcers are properly Hamilton’s “select corps” of militia — giving some thought to these militia provisions in their own right is worthwhile.

      Things would be different if we noted and decided to follow the language of Art. 1, Sec. 8, Cl. 16 : “… reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;”

      This can be done — it only takes political will to do it. We can have our politicians send the agents of the FBI, ATF, et al. back to the States for their ordinary administration — we just need to give the politicians a political reason and incentive to do so.

      It is not a Constitutional issue, it is a political issue, with Constitutional mechanisms that may be applicable. What we need are political reasons and incentives to decentralize the federal law enforcement. Doing it needs is merely an executive Order (or a number of them) seconding the federal law enforcement establishments back to operate under their State
      officers — usually the Sheriff of their respective counties. Remember — these positions are already funded by Congress. that would not change if they were put under state administration. Funded law enforcement personnel is quite the political plum.

      It could be done wholesale or — with even greater political enticement — doing it retail — county by county by State by City etc. etc. etc. The political possibilities and permutations are beyond calculation. But it would give a political counter to reverse the political ratchet of centralization.

  4. I have argued for a long time that the militia portion of the 2A is a “you get to” thing and not a “only can under this circumstance” thing. It is the Bill of “Rights” after all.

    “Undisciplined, unorganized armed nobs are ineffective in both military and law-enforcement terms.”

    Hence why the militia clause is in there. A well regulated militia is more effective than an armed mob – and in most militias you bring your own gun to the battle (this did happen often during the revolution).

    The only issue I would take w/ this piece is that, both before and after the Bill of Rights was adopted, private weapon systems (the kind that take more than one man to move and operate) were often part of a militia – the most common example being cannons.

      • We can seize such, if need be….

        It’s easy. If you know the tactics….and get a couple of field manuals on how to use them for your own purposes.

        A goodly supply of ammo would be reasonably close at hand. Just overrun the BSA. It’s easy a pie, as most of those loggie-doggies don’t know diddly about defense.

    • TO: David
      RE: The ‘Mob’ Rule

      “Undisciplined, unorganized armed nobs are ineffective in both military and law-enforcement terms.”

      Hence why the militia clause is in there. A well regulated militia is more effective than an armed mob – and in most militias you bring your own gun to the battle (this did happen often during the revolution). — David

      Sorry to have to inform you—and others—about this….BUT….

      ….in Colorado and New Mexico the government can call college students out to battle wild fires.

      Talk about an ‘undisciplined mob’…..

      Regards,

      Chuck(le)
      P.S. We get any more of these wild fires going in Colorado….they just might do that.

  5. I’ve always figured that since I had to register for Selective Service, I am part of the de facto militia.

    If the government expect me to drop everything and bear arms for my country at their whim, I expect to be able to keep and bear arms for that purpose. And that includes ‘military’ grade weapons.

    It’s why the CMP exists – the army learned really fast the issues with having a civilian that doesn’t know how to handle a military grade firearm.

    • Nope….

      ….just because you registered with the Selective Service…..doesn’t mean squat.

      You’re part of your state militia—if you’re an able-bodied male between the ages of 17-18 and 45, depending on your state, resident—whether you like it or not.

      Check your state constitution for details.

  6. My only real question about the militia clauses is that I keep seeing a cut off date of 45 yo. Does this mean that we older folks can’t be part of the militia and are we covered for owning the weapons of the militia?

    • TO: jwm
      RE: The 45 Year Upper Limit

      I’m sure they’ll accept volunteers after that age. Especially those with certain skills or experience.

      Regards,

      Chuck(le)
      P.S. To get that sort of skill-set and/or experience, I recommend you visit your local Army Recruiter and ask to go Airborne-Ranger…..

      You haven’t lived until you’ve almost died.

    • I agree with Chuck that 46 is the point where one may gracefully “opt out” of service if desired without ridicule.

      • I’m older than that, mayor. With a full hitch prior service in my youth. I don’t delude myself into thinking I’m front line material any longer. But I can still serve. In support is better than sitting at home yelling at the news reports. Count me in.

        • Heck, jwm.

          I’ve spent 60+ years on this ball-o-dirt.

          I may not be able to storm a heavily fortified position with the youngsters, but I sure as hell know more than most others do about logistics. I’m a graduate of the Army’s premier program for logisticians, the Logistics Executive Development Course (LEDC) at Fort Lee.

          Although storming a fortified position would be something I’m quite capable of directing as a company commander, i.e., been there, done that. But the t-shirt has long since gone to rags…..

          Regards,

          Chuck(le)
          [You haven’t lived until you’ve almost died.]

          P.S. Fighting Spirit is probably the most important aspect of being a soldier.

    • 45 years is the oldest that you can be “called up”, not a cut-off. And the part that says “except as provided in section 313 of title 32” states that anyone who was an officer in the Armed Forces may be called up to serve in the militia until they are 64 years old.

      The SCOTUS has specifically ruled, in Heller vs DC, that membership in the militia is NOT a prerequisite to exercising your right to keep and bear arms.

      • The “membership” under the Militia Act is in a “select corps” defined within limits set by Congress– the Militia in the Constitution is the People, from whom Congress has the power to make its selections.

        The distinction is critically important. If the Militia’s existence were dependent on Congress, Congress could refuse to enact a Militia Act at all — infringing the State’s recourse to its only Constitutional armed defense — the Militia, and infringing the power of the people to assemble in lawful collective defense — which is what a militia is. Congress role presupposes a People capable of armed assembly, needing some proper order and regulation on when, how and for what purposes.

    • Former military, and irrespective of sex, are in the unorganized militia up to age 64. See 10 USC 311 (referencing an exception to the 45 year age, citing 32 USC 313).

      But, more broadly, the present Militia Act is a command stating who MUST serve — not a prohibition stating who MAY NOT serve. In other words, it provides an individual legal privilege to someone over 45 who has no military training, or over 64 with military training, to decline the call.

      And the premise is that in establishing the “well-regulated” militia the Constitution requires, Congress is making its preferential selections. It is commanding certain participation among available citizenry, and allowing for nonparticipation by others, in line with Hamilton’s “select corps” approach, which does not affect the character of the remainder of the citizenry as available to serve, if need arose, or if they choose to when called forth.

  7. Try and find the court opinion from the D.C. v. Heller case. It has a great background of the 2A that is really good for fighting the gun grabbers.

  8. The Militia Act of 1972 that states – “…That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack.” http://www.constitution.org/mil/mil_act_1792.htm

    So the question is “If the Militia Act of 1972 was instead 2013, What’s in Your Knapsack?” This one should be a Question of the Day post.

  9. Let’s look at that upper age limit of 45. In the years around 1776 the average age of death was indeed 45 to 50. It occurs to me that an intelligent reading of the clause would also require able bodied men near the age of death now, around 78 to 80, to be part of the militia. Thus it seems that if the various clauses require that the “militia” be armed with current arms, the age of the militia must also be recalculated for the current times. Comments?

    • Important to remember that the age statistic you refer to is life expectancy from age zero (usually referred to simply as “life expectancy”) is just an average of everybody’s lifespan. Since many people of the time died as children and all throughout their lives you can’t use the figure as you are. Many people lived into their 60’s and 70’s. A 45 year old wouldn’t have been at death’s door in most cases.

      • An excellent point. It is true that there were several people who, no doubt, lived to the ripe old age in that era. Current life expectancy for males in the US is now 79, I think, yet my Dad turned 91 last Tuesday (18th) and is hale and hearty for his age. So perhaps my phrase “death’s door” was not appropriate. I stand by my point that the militia can be composed of people over the age of 45. Perhaps I didn’t make that clear. Thanks for your reply.

  10. Minnesota Statutes section 190.06 MILITIA; MEMBERS; EXEMPTIONS.

    Subdivision 1.Composition.

    The militia shall consist of:

    (1) all able-bodied citizens of the state and other able-bodied persons residing in the state who have or shall have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, when so authorized by federal law, who comply with the minimum age requirements for federal regular military service under United States Code, title 10, section 505, and who are not more than 45 years of age; provided, that the governor may, when the governor deems it necessary for the defense of the state, extend the maximum age for militia service to not more than 64 years; and

    (2) persons who enlist in, are commissioned in, or are otherwise appointed to the Minnesota National Guard in accordance with applicable federal law and regulation, including enlisted members, warrant officers, and commissioned officers.

    Subd. 2.Classes.

    The militia shall be divided into two classes, the organized militia and the unorganized militia. The organized militia shall consist of the following:

    (1) the National Guard;

    (2) the State Guard, which shall comprise all organized components of the militia except the National Guard.

    The unorganized militia shall consist of all other members of the militia.

  11. There is a difference between an explanatory clause “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,” and an operative one, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

    • The explanatory clause is “being necessary for the security of a free state” whihc — to get a tad legalisitc and grammarian — modifies ONLY the last preceding clause (the “last antecedent rule,” if you should care to look it up). But this points us to two other parallel significant joint reservations in favor of the people and the States (their chosen instruments) in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. The Militia provision protects the militia instrument (necessary to the security of the State) from being infringed by Congressional power to form the rules for its organization and training in ways that might impair or legally constrain it in such ways as to disestablish it in all practical terms (a fear that Hamilton expressly responds to in Federalist 29). But ONLY the militia is subject to the acknowledgement of Congressional power to “well-regulate” it — however such power must fall short of any infringement of its effectiveness.

      So, reading the Second Amendment without the explanatory clause, we have:
      “A well regulated militia,…, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

      The amendment is thus equally concerned with protecting the States’ need of militia AND the people, from being infringed in their possession of arms, individually AND collectively. This is key because the States are elsewhere forbidden from “keeping troops.” — i.e – an army. The only recourse of the States for armed protection, against internal threats (law breakers, and insurrectionists) and external threats (invasion) is to the People, armed individually and collectively formed into a well-regulated militia. We most commonly we see them in uniform as police and other armed law enforcement officers — Hamilton’s “select corps” of militia. The main problem is that people forget what they really are.

  12. Aren’t there a few too many commas in the quoted version? The one with less commas should further reinforce the right to bear arms is an individual right

    The version ratified by the states and approved by Jefferson was “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.”

    • Do you have a citation for that? The version quoted at constitution.org and at archives.gov is the one with 3 commas.

  13. I don’t think I saw it above. A note worth mention, if not clear, IMHO, you and I average Joe are the militia. This is something the gun grabbers do not acknowledge, nor want to, as it confirms that every citizen is now allowd a bang stick!

  14. The other aspect of the amendment’s words: the phrase ‘a free state’ imho does not refer to any political creation or entity but to the state of being free.

    • Actually, anywhere in the constitution you find ‘State(s)’ (capital S), it is specifically referring to the States.

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