Question of the Day: Do We Need a Militia Today?

courtesy wikipedia.org

By Johannes P.

University of Tennessee College of Law Professor Glenn Reynolds argues in a column in USA Today that militias, as such, no longer exist in the United States, and that the country is worse off for it. Reynolds notes that the Second Amendment’s introductory phrase states that its objective is a “well-regulated militia” which is “necessary to the security a free state”. So, the Professor from the Volunteer State asks: where are the militias nowadays? . . .

“The Militia” definitely isn’t the National Guard. The real militias were quashed by Congress and the Wilson Administration after the latter tried (and failed) to order them to invade Mexico:

In 1912, when the federal government tried to send militia units into Mexico, the militias balked, noting that the Constitution allowed them to be called out only to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, or enforce the law — not to invade other countries. Surprisingly, perhaps, Attorney General George Wickersham agreed, leading to a change in the law that produced the modern-day National Guard, a force that is not so limited. Since then, America has been far more active abroad.

To bolster his case, Professor Reynolds cites Yale Law Professor Akhil Reed Amar, who wrote about the militia in The New Republic (fifteen years ago, that is, when TNR actually was interested in arguing about ideas, before it started doing public relations full-time for the Obama Administration). Amar argued that the Second Amendment does have a collective application – but perhaps not in the way gun-grabbers think:

Like the militia, the jury was a local body countering imperial power — summoned by the government but standing outside it, representing the people, collectively. Like jury service, militia participation was both a right and a duty of qualified voters who were regularly summoned to discharge their public obligations. Like the jury, the militia was composed of amateurs arrayed against, and designed to check, permanent and professional government officials (judges and prosecutors, in the case of the jury; a standing army in the case of the militia). Like the jury, the militia embodied collective political action rather than private pursuits.

Professor Reynolds notes:

But although the militia survives in vestigial form in the statute books, as a functional institution, it no longer exists. For law enforcement, the militia has been replaced by professional police, with SWAT teams, armored vehicles and Nomex coveralls; for military purposes, the militia has been replaced by the National Guard, which despite a thin patina of state control is fundamentally a federal military force.

This makes life easier for the federal government.

Our Founding Fathers apparently thought the militias were a valuable check on government power, and something that should be maintained by the citizens of a healthy Republic. Committing to return to a militia system, however, would be a serious inconvenience for those of us who have chosen to keep and bear arms. It would require us to commit to train regularly and be subject to call-up at critical moments, taking people away from families and well-paying jobs. It’s much easier to hire professionals to do the work for us. Certainly, it’s more convenient for governments, who want military and police to obey lawful orders without question. Perhaps that’s why the pendulum swung away from citizen militias 100 years ago.

Your scribe highly respects what the Founding Fathers did, but the fact that they had an idea does not always make it the correct one today. I like the idea. I’d probably volunteer myself. But I have no illusions that there’d be considerable resistance to the idea — both from the people who oppose the right to keep and bear arms, but also from sheer inertia on the part of the many law-abiding gun owners who simply don’t want to be bothered with giving up their free time.

Would you be willing to give up your time and money to train – and be subject to call-up by municipal or state governments when needed, possibly without pay – to participate in a citizen militia, as discussed by Professors Amar and Reynolds? Or is the militia ideal truly dead in America?

comments

  1. avatar Chris Mallory says:

    Gutting the military and replacing it with a Swiss style militia, forbidden from operating overseas, would be a good start on our return to being a Republic instead of an Empire.

    1. avatar The Best Chris says:

      That’s a really good idea if you don’t think about it.

      1. avatar Rob Aught says:

        In the immortal words of Glenn Reynolds: “Heh. Indeed.”

      2. avatar BLAMMO says:

        Yeah, whether we like it or not, we are a superpower. You take the good with the bad and it’s way more good than bad.

    2. avatar tdiinva says:

      Along with mprementing the Swiss style militia it would be necessary to ban all political and economic intercourse with the rest of the world. We tried the non-involvement part in the early days of the Republic and attempted to do so in 1914-17 wihtout taking the step of creating a hermit republic. The United States has too big of a footpring, apparently even during the Napelonic Wars,to move about in the world and not get involved in foriegn wars. So if you want to be an isolationist be prepared to permantly reduce our standard of living to what we can produce and consume internally.

      Actually it is a waste of money to establish a Swiss style militia seeing that the militia failed to do its mission in every war that we hav eused them. Everybody likes to talk about how effective the Swiss Army is. How would you know since they haven’t fought a war since the Wars of the Reformation. My guess is that if Germany attacked Switzerland in WWII the Swiss Militia would have folded as fast as ours did in the War of 1812.

      Reynolds is wrong. The Milita still exists in the form of the now dormant draft. The draft, as organized in the 20th Century, is adminstered at the state level with the Federal government levying quotas for the call up based on populatiion. This exactly how the militia system worked.

      1. avatar Delmarva Chip says:

        Not wanting to kill lots of people overseas does not make one an isolationist.

        We become MORE isolated from the world when our military bullies other countries around.

        The militia should not be a draft and should not be mandatory. That is a violation of one’s liberty (and possibly life). I would support the concept of a well armed population that is well trained to repel an invasion but not used overseas.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          Yes it does. Your position is the same as that held by the country during the French Revoltionary and Napoleonic Wars. We fought undeclared Naval War with France from 1797-1800 and of course under the slogan of Free Trade and Sailor’s Rights we joined the Napoleonic Wars in 1812.

          Here is a real case of what may happen in the next 10 years. China and Japan go to war. Under President Paul’s vision of peaceful commerce we had good trading relations with both parties. Unfortunately the Japanese Navy is blockading China’s coastline and stopping all trade including American trade from reaching China. How do propose to deal with that? If we went to war would be effectively China’s ally and involved in a foreign war. The only way to preven that from happening is not to trade with either Japan or China.

          In case you think this is nonsense China has recently tried to impose national air soverignty over the Japanese Senkaku Islands.

          Your faux Libertarian idea that Militia Service is a voluntary affair was rejected by the Founding Fathers.

        2. avatar Evan in Dallas says:

          Agreed. And isolationism would entail that the government prevents commerce outside its borders like the Japanese did for many years. As long as the government stays out of the way and individuals have the choice to trade abroad, we are not isolationist. And yes, the draft is equivalent to slavery. It picks up many people who are unfit to fight, and unwilling.

        3. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

          China’s just sabre rattling. They know they’re only a player on the world stage today because of international trade. They aren’t serious about threatening anyone.

          If they were, then they’d be fomenting strife via North Korea, as they did in the 1950’s, and bog us down with additional military commitments.

          If they were, then they’d conquer the multi-nation disputed Spratley Islands, like they did the Paracel Islands in the 1970’s, and exploit the natural resources.

          If they were, then they’d risk being stiffed for about $1.25 trillion, the amount of U.S. government debt China owns as our largest foreign debt holder.

          That’s all on top of the hundreds of billions they’d lose in annual international trade. With a growing population, one with a taste for Western prosperity and a socially volatile population mismatch of males to females ratio, China needs every new job they can create to keep their people busy and uninterested in civil unrest. And their would-be enemies in the war you envision? U.S., Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan? They’re China’s top four trading partners.

          China, like India and Brazil, consider themselves 21st century players. They want respect, not war.

          If they were, then they would have siezed the resource rich

        4. avatar tdiinva says:

          Your display of ignorance of what is going on in the world is appalling. Quite typical of a faux Libertarian. I suggest you be silent until you acquaint yourself with the actual facts. Claiming air soverignty over someone elses territory goes well beyond saber rattling. You sound like hte President for chiding Putin for not living in the 21st Century. Scratch a faux Libertarain you find the inner socialist underneath.

        5. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

          Tdiinva? Tdiinva? Actually, that’s a quite typical example of sabre rattling. When silly governments get into a bind in domestic politics or they want international notice, it’s not unusual at all to lash out in sound and fury, signifying nothing. It’s remarkably convenient and adaptive, a scam for all seasons, one might say, as it works either to draw attention or to distract attention.

          We see Argentina still squawk and sabre rattle about the Falklands from time to time, most recently in 2010-2011. At the same time, we see Turkey sending its navy to sabre rattle a bit regarding Greek Cyprus’ agreement with Israel (and some U.S. companies) to drill for natural gas in Cypriot territorial waters. Do you seriously believe Turkey, a NATO ally, would strike Israel or U.S. interests? Of course not. It’s just……wait for it…….sabre rattling! lol! Hell, as recently as last Autumn, Spain was sabre rattling against the UK over Gibralter, of all places! That rock, which no one had ever really had clear title to, was ceded to the UK by the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. Three centuries later Spain is sabre rattling over it? Wake me up when the Spanish Armada sets sail……

          As for your little rant, seriously? You make a ridiculous argument, which I tore to pieces and backed with relevant historical, political and economic facts and examples, and all you can manage to muster in rebuttal is more of this “faux libertarian” nonsense recylcled from your other fight with someone else? Tdiinva: having run out of ideas, now you’re running out of insults. Good grief.

      2. avatar Ricanmd says:

        So you are saying we would not be able to trade and exchange ideas with the rest of the world without be the policemen for the world? I don’t see Japan, Taiwan, Germany, and China for that matter with 700 military bases in around the world to initiate trade. Maybe we need to make that foot print much smaller and we would have more friends and less enemies around the world.

        Well you would be in disagreement with the German high command, they did not attack Switzerland for that exact reason. Just because your not quick to send boys to die oversees does not mean you are not ready to defend your country. One reason our guys took heavy casualties in WW2 during the invasion of Italy was a small determined groups of Germans soldiers defending mountain passes.

        Maybe we need to bring back the draft. If more people had skin in the game we may not be so quick to go to war everywhere.

        OMG, Save us from the NEOCONS.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          That is not what I am saying, that is what history says, a subject that I suspect you are completely lacking knowledge of.

          The German’s didn’t invade Switzerland because you don’t invade your banker. Nobody knows how effective the Swiss Army would have been since they have had zero combat experiience in about 400 years. All the evidence is that untrained militia, and a couple of weeks a year of training, makes you untrained, Military effective is based on small unit cohesion. It takes many months of training and deployment to build it.

          A sure sign of ignorance is the use of the term NEOCON

        2. avatar Evan in Dallas says:

          Tdiinva is a neocon though. Neocons hate the word because they know it’s true.

        3. avatar tdiinva says:

          Faux Libertarian definition of a NEOCON: Someone who disagrees with Ron Paul and is a Jew.

        4. avatar Kyle says:

          I am a proud neoconservative and fully support an American military presence worldwide to maintain the peace. If you want the world to collapse into chaos, then by all means, pull the military out from everywhere.

        5. avatar Chris Mallory says:

          False NeoCon definition of an Anti Semite-Anyone who disagrees with a NeoCon.

        6. avatar Yellow Devil says:

          I roll my eyes everytime I hear “Neocon”. Not because it is a valid word or actually has a definition, but it is used too often to the point of being effective. Like “Nazi” or “Racism/Racist”.

        7. avatar Redleg says:

          tdiinva said “Military effective[ness] is based on small unit cohesion. It takes many months of training and deployment to build it.”

          First of all your point was correct however your usage of said point was completely wrong. Who do you think has better cohesiveness than a unit like a Swiss militia that has served together for years and even decades, and are all from the same geographic locality (neighbors even)? Absolutely no one. Here are two examples from my military service to illustrate:

          When I first joined the Army in the ’80s I started out for my first 4 years in the National Guard while attending college before going active duty. The cohesion in that unit was far beyond anything I ever experienced in two decades of military service. The Regular Army couldn’t touch the cohesion in that Guard unit save one exception. My life long best friend served in Special Forces with the same guys for almost a decade. They were the only ones I have ever seen to rival the cohesion of that Guard unit I was in that had been together for literally decades. Many of them grew up together in the same neighborhoods, went to school together, and even served in Vietnam together. It was an amazing thing to see and experience. They would never have let each other down. What they lacked in training they more than made up for in unit cohesion…and the on the job training would have come extremely quickly on the battlefield and melded them into a fierce fighting unit.

          Secondly my target acquisitions section was assigned to the Danish Battalion in Bosnia, many of whom were from their “Home Guard” (equivalent to our National Guard) and who had volunteered to serve in Bosnia for the adventure and tax breaks on earnings while over there. Many of them were neighbors and had been friends since childhood. I still correspond with them via Facebook and they are all still very close to this day, and as you can imagine their cohesion was outstanding.

          If you’ve only served in the active duty military you’d most likely think that their unit cohesion, developed over many field problems and deployments was pretty good, however having BTDT, I can tell you that with its high unit manning turn-over rates, it pales in comparison to that of a long serving militia like the Swiss, Danes, or the older manifestation of our National Guard, which is based on guys from the same town and even the same neighborhoods serving together. They know if they fail they are letting friends and loved ones down and the thought of word getting out of their failures or cowardice back home is a HUGE motivator and creates cohesive forces like you wouldn’t believe.

      3. avatar Chris Mallory says:

        In the last war where American troops fought to defend American freedoms, their uniforms were gray and they lost.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          There you go with that ahistorical neo-Confederate nonsense. The South quit the union because they didn’t like the outcome of the electiion and they saw that the forces of Demography were going to overwhelm their beloved institution of slavery.

        2. avatar Amagi1776 says:

          Really? The Confederacy? We’re going to have that argument today?

        3. avatar John in Ohio says:

          Sadly, I have to agree with you, Chris Mallory.

        4. avatar Anonymous says:

          Yes! there it is! Someone had to say it. So politically incorrect – but undoubted true. Thanks.

        5. avatar Anonymous says:

          @tdiinva

          There you go with that ahistorical neo-Confederate nonsense. The South quit the union because they didn’t like the outcome of the electiion and they saw that the forces of Demography were going to overwhelm their beloved institution of slavery.

          Uh… no. The south’s entire economics were based on slavery. Slavery is wrong – but making that decision was effectively as simple as asking everyone down south to embrace poverty. The south wasn’t ready for it and they would suffer tremendously. Back then – the “United States” were “united states” and states had a right to secede. But the elected tyrant, liar, and white supremacist (Abe Lincoln) would never go down in history as being the elected president at that time during which the union fell apart… oh no… his pride was much more important than the lives of hundreds of thousands and their freedoms as well.

        6. avatar tdiinva says:

          In other words Anon, the south lost and election and didn’t have the votes in Congress to support its political objectives and therefore having lost by the rules that they signed to uphold they quit. Thank you for clarifying your position.

          I note that the Confederacy did not believe in succession. When the people of Northwest Virginia, present day West Virginia, did not follow their masters in Richmond and stayed loyal to the Union they sent and expedition led by Robert E. Lee to reclaim the runaway counties. They sent him packing just as the Union Army did in 1862 and 1863, No, the South didn’t really believe there was a right of secession, they simply wanted to quit because they would abide by the system set up in the Constitution because they would lose.

        7. avatar Yellow Devil says:

          “Never fight a cause over something as asinine as slavery.” (Or something like that) -House of Cards

        8. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

          Tdiinva? The South had every right to leave the Union voluntarily, just as they had entered the Union voluntarily. As for demography overwhelming slavery, well, wrong again!

          Technology and economics conspired against slavery. More complicated, value-added manufacturing was reaping higher profits in the North throughout the 19th century; attracting investment to the North where the returns were. Even in agriculture itself, inventions were being deployed that were transforming agriculture, for most crops, from a labor intensive to a capital intensive activity. Slavery’s days were numbered, regardless. Factor in the stunning growth in the 19th century of India as a cotton producer, and the South’s slavery days, and cotton days, were fading fast by way of competition.

          Why the South really wanted out wasn’t so much to save slavery, but to escape the stranglehold the North had over setting trade tariffs. Agriculture equipment could be bought more cheaply abroad, but the North imposed such high tariffs that the South was forced to buy from them, or else continue with slavery. Pay exorbitant prices, or continue with slavery, whuch was becoming less and less competitive with each passing year. What choice did the South have been secession? The North could have let them go, you know, and spared us all the war.

          Anyway, that’s enough whooping up on tdiinva for today. Go lick your wounds, pop a cold one, maybe crack a book, ok? Tomorrow’s a new day.

        9. avatar Kyle says:

          “Letting the South go” would have meant breaking the Union, which Lincoln wasn’t prepared to do. Also remember that much of what happened post-Civil War was because of Lincoln’s death and thus he was not able to implement the various post-war plans he had.

        10. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

          Kyle, now that’s an interesting debate, or just a discussion, to have, as I’m really not all that clear on what Lincoln’s post-war plan was. I’m not in a position to assess his likely success, either, of course.

          Preliminarily, I would say that Lincoln was either very lucky or far more wise than I, because I would have let them go. Scanning the American horizon in 1861, I would’ve foreseen Union victory, but never would have expected the (relatively) peaceful reconciliation and reconstruction of the South after the war.

          To me it would have looked liked hundreds of thousands of looming war deaths, followed by thousands dead annually during the next 100 years of openly hostile Union occupation of the South. Letting them go, I would’ve expected no war, but 50+ years of something resembling the Cold War, or N/S Koreas’ bristling border. I would’ve opted for no war and letting them go. The wild card would be the western territories and how to split them. I just don’t know….

      4. avatar Chris Mallory says:

        Ending all political entanglements would be a good thing. No reason at all to end economic relations. That is just more NeoCon scare mongering.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          History says you are wrong. How do you think we got involved in the Napoleonic Wars. Did you think it was just because the British were meanies? Do you think the Germans attacked US vessels trading with the UK and France in WWI just because? Or do you believe, like President Wilson, that Amercans should be able to go anywhere, anytime no matter what and anybody who attacks us for trading with their enemies are just spoiled sports? Your ignorance of history is legion.

          FYI: NEOCONs were as much Irish Catholic as Jewish. Every hear of Jeane Kirkpatrick? Probalby not.

        2. avatar Redleg says:

          tdiivina said “How do you think we got involved in the Napoleonic Wars. Did you think it was just because the British were meanies?”

          No, it was because they were attempting to maintain and expand their empire and their control over economic trade and Napoleon was a threat to their designs. Designs that also affected us on the high seas. Designs which needed to be settled once and for all so that we could finally freely trade with other nations without hindrance from the British Empire.

          The story is always the same. The biggest kid (bully) on the block has a good thing going for himself by shaking down everyone’s lunch money until someone stands up to him. Unfortunately in this case it would have just substituted one bully for another.

          History is full of these stories. Look at the Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, etc. There’s always some nation on earth that wants to conquer and subjugate everyone else in order to extract their wealth, it’s a never ending cycle…that’s how England got involved in the Napoleonic Wars.

      5. avatar Michael B. says:

        “The Milita still exists in the form of the now dormant draft.”

        That makes no sense and is contrary to current law.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          Try reading the Title 10 reference below. The unorganized militia has been called up through the draft process since 1917..

      6. avatar Elijah says:

        Hitler wanted to invade Switzerland, but he couldn’t figure out a good way to invade a country in which every man is a soldier armed with modern military weapons. Check out this map to get a clue: http://www.theholocaustexplained.org/ks3/life-in-nazi-occupied-europe/jews-in-occupied-countries/which-countries-did-the-nazi-occupy/
        Switzerland is this tiny hole in the middle of Europe that Hitler didn’t even invade. He occupied all the rest of his border countries. He occupied all the countries that bordered Switzerland. It’s not like Switzerland was some insignificant place without any gold or anything.

        You just can’t effectively invade and occupy a country that has a well-developed Militia system.

        1. avatar Paul G. says:

          The mountains on 3 sides help too.

    3. avatar Daniel S. says:

      You shouldn’t “gut” the military, but it should be smaller mostly in the foreign aspect. Citizen Militias are a good idea. They should be free of government control and influence. The only time the government should be able to call on a milita is in the defense of FOREIGN enemies on US soil. Otherwise it would be pointless. It sucks, but militias should not recieve government funding of any kind due to conflict of interest and the principle of non-profit. Tax exempt status, not being subject to NFA, “constitutional carry”, and a percent based tax credit(with a cap) on items purchased by individuals related to the militia(guns, ammo, gear, cost of sites used for training, vehicles, and food/water stores). Being part of a militia should not be profitable, but costs should be minimal. If you want a true militia of dedicated, trained members the first step is to take away the profit being a reason to join.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        The Constitution places the militias under the authority of State and Federal officials. As I said before if faux Libertarians would actually read the Constitution they would reject the document.

        1. avatar Excedrine says:

          You might want to read the Dick Act of 1902, which does in fact place citizen militias beyond federal control (just like the Constitution does anyway) before throwing the word “faux” around as if you even knew what it meant.

        2. avatar Daniel S. says:

          I said “should be” not “is”. It seems you are somewhat well versed in history, but you’re failing to see most people on this page are not saying “this is what the constitution says” but “this is my opinion”. Militias cannot be used the same as they once were. I’ve read the Constitution, Articles of Confederation, and the Declaration of Independence several times so don’t be pompous. I do agree partially with your Constitution comment. Not the “faux Libertarians” part, and I don’t think they would all reject it, but they would be surprised. There are things I don’t agree with but it will always be this way. It cannot be made to please everyone. I personally commit to no “ism” so I don’t understand how calling all these people “faux Libertarians” is right of you when they haven’t made that claim. Personally, it just seems as though your trying to insult people with some form of elitism.

        3. avatar Irish says:

          Wow. You are the most ridiculously repugnant loudmouthed, know-it-all windbag I have seen on here to date. You just have all of the answers don’t you. After every other comment, there you are barging in, promoting your opinions as facts. Say Faux Libertarian again, go for it. After the first time it makes you sound like a total ass-hat.

    4. avatar 4kilo says:

      If we are an empire we are the worst one in history.

  2. avatar Gordon Wagner says:

    >Would you be willing to give up your time and money to train?

    Yes.

    1. avatar Steve in MD says:

      Wait a second… do we have to pay for it?

      1. avatar David PA/NJ says:

        Reduce the budget of DHS to pay for training. Afterall the militia is the true legitimate homeland security

      2. avatar PeterK says:

        I believe in the traditional militia you bought and maintained your equipment, but the training was provided for you.

        1. avatar Steve in MD says:

          How about a tax credit for ammunition though?

        2. avatar Anon in CT says:

          How about you’re allowed to buy all your militia-related equipment sales tax free, and then deduct the purchase price from your income taxes? Plus of course the NFA would not apply to anyone serving in the militia . . .

      3. avatar JTwig says:

        From my (limited) reading of the Revolutionary War most militia were independently financed, usually through a rich commanding officer or other sponsor. Before then the British would call-up the militia whenever they wanted, and they were sometimes compensated but not always. Since most people in the colonies at the time were farmers of some sort this compensation would not (usually) be enough to make up for lost time.

      1. avatar Paul G. says:

        If I could offset my taxes with ammo purchases……oooooooohhhhhhhhhh!!!!

  3. avatar Glenn says:

    “Is the militia ideal truly dead?” Not sure I care, because “the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” ‘Nuff said.

    1. avatar Mark says:

      Exactly. Call it whatever you want but the Second Amendment is still here!

  4. avatar Randy Drescher says:

    We need a militia that is not subject to the government. & we might have the start of one in CT. Otherwise, another lettered goverment agency to suppress citizens is(how can I put this)….silly.

    1. avatar Steve D. says:

      We all know how non-government sanctioned militias are treated … Ruby Ridge.

      1. avatar Randy Drescher says:

        The problem with a government santioned one is that your enemies are real close. Its kind of a wash Steve.

        1. avatar Paul G. says:

          That was the point being made by mention of the militia in the 2A. The gov backed militia is a threat to the people, one we have every right to keep in check.

  5. avatar PeterC says:

    I would be delighted to serve in a militia, just as I was eager to enlist in the Army shortly after my graduation from college. My grandparents were immigrants from Russia, and they insisted that all their male descendants should serve, for at least one enlistment, in the military. This was in gratitude for all the freedom and opportunity that this country had given them.

  6. avatar peirsonb says:

    Would you be willing to give up your time and money to train – and be subject to call-up by municipal or state governments when needed, possibly without pay – to participate in a citizen militia, as discussed by Professors Amar and Reynolds?

    Damn straight.

  7. avatar Rob Aught says:

    Certainly reforming the militias would be an inconvenience but the law could be rewritten in such a way that not everyone has to be a member.

    I’m all for this because there are people who are simply uncomfortable around guns and I don’t want to compel them into using them. Frankly, someone who is afraid of firearms handling firearms scares me.

    That said, rights are not absent responsibility. As a gun owner I am responsible for safe and secure use. Please don’t say “Is gun. Is not safe.” While that makes me chuckle, I disagree. Guns are ridiculously safe today. They don’t magically “go off” despite what the media may say and even when handled negligently it is the rare occurrence that someone is hurt and even less so killed. The most likely outcome is some minor property damage. I digress.

    My point is, if we want to maintain the right to own a firearm then there should be some willingness to take further responsibility to keep them. While I am not for all people being forced into service in a militia, it should be an option for those that want to do more for their communities. Unfortunately, the media portrays the limited militias out there like a bunch of kooks. I’m sure some are, but I’m also sure some are quite harmless in their intent.

    1. avatar Ardent says:

      For the record:

      It’s not a ‘militia’ its a ‘gun club’.

      This is not a ‘compound’ its a ‘range’.

      We’re not ‘training’ we’re engaged in ‘competition’.

      These aren’t ‘arms’ they’re ‘sporting equipment’.

      The militia is alive and well, we just don’t call it that anymore.

      1. avatar Robert Cohn says:

        This is a very accurate statement. One point though, the “gun club model” checks only the illegitimate use of formal forces against the populace while traditional militia would have an established procedure to be called into action in the highly unlikely event of foreign action. The “gun club model” also lacks a coherent method of command and control and as such would struggle to respond effectively.

  8. avatar Kaliope says:

    I would, in a heartbeat.

    Being in the auto industry, I have a guaranteed 2 weeks off each year for longer/more intensive training, and I have most weekends off.

  9. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    Maybe we have to refocus this concept on what a militia may be utilized for. I agree that they should only be used for threats to our freedom. That said, what about mobilizing them against street gangs or mobsters?

  10. avatar Fedlaw says:

    Would you be willing to give up your time and money to train – and be subject to call-up by municipal or state governments when needed, possibly without pay – to participate in a citizen militia, as discussed by Professors Amar and Reynolds?

    Yes. I already do.

  11. avatar Doug says:

    a fast lunchtime comment…
    Whether you think you still have a militia or not, or whether it is currently “well-regulated” or not, while you have some respectable element of the citizenry who would turn out in a truly dire public emergency to protect their neighborhoods if all else failed, and I guess I don’t really even know what that emergency might be, and Heaven keep such a thing from happening, then you still have at least a theoretical militia.

    I think it would be recognizable as such by the Founding Fathers.

    Unless the population is disarmed.

    1. avatar peirsonb says:

      Therein lies the rub.

      The government cannot be seen as the great benevolent protector if the citizenry is allowed to protect itself.

    2. avatar bontai Joe says:

      I saw groups of armed neighborhood citizens band together after hurricane Sandy in NJ to maintain security and order and prevent looting in their neighborhoods. Also to a lesser extant in NY. The proffessor describes “amateur” citizens coming to the defence of their own. Sounds a bit like the head LEO of Detroit asking citizens of his fair city to arm themselves to protect their neighborhoods. Same in Milwaukee. Years ago during the Rodney King riots (God rest his soul) in LA, when the police hid in their locked down precinct buildings, the local business owners united and armed themselves to defend against looters and vandals. Isn’t that a type of militia? Folks did this in Louisianna after Katrina, until the gubment decided that they didn’t like it. These may not be well organized, nor well “regulated” but I think that when armed citizens ban together to defend themselves against “bad guys”, they are as close to being a militia as I have seen.

      1. avatar Amagi1776 says:

        Where was this in New Jersey? And why/how did the local police tolerate this?

        Carrying a firearm, even transporting a firearm in New Jersey (because carrying and being in “possession” are not treated differently in the law) is in violation of our very vague laws lands you a draconian felony sentence of 7-10 years.

        I’m curious. I plan on leaving New Jersey sometime in the future, but I’d like to avoid it because it’s my home.

        1. avatar bontai Joe says:

          Sorry for the delay in answering your question. I live in PA but still work in NJ. Immediately after Sandy, there were areas of the Jersey shore that had no electricity, no roads or telephones. In my corner of PA, I still get New York news on TV and I clearly remember seeing shore communities in NJ where the residents banded together to defend their neighborhoods. Why did the police tolerate it? I have no “official” answer for that, but I suppose that local law enforcement had enough on their plate and probably appreciated the help in trying to provide security. Keep in mind that in these neighborhoods, the police were also without power and communications, and in some cases lost their buildings and cars just like the rest of the town. NJ state police were stretched really thin all across the state. My 78 year old mom was stranded in her home for a day before my brother and I could get past the road blocks and downed trees to evacuate her, and she lived 50 miles west of the shore in the northeast corner of NJ. I remember seeing a fella on the news sitting on a lawn chair with a lever action rifle at the only open road to his community in NY. When asked by a reporter why he was there, he replied that he was on the look out for looters and other members of the neighborhood were also guarding the area, and that no one had seen any police in several days, so it fell on them to protect themselves. Maybe NBC TV news in NY has some of these stories archived.

      2. avatar Steve D. says:

        +1
        Good reply and well thought out.

  12. avatar Daniel says:

    With respect to the 2nd Amendment, the whjole militia debate is moot as a result of Heller. As far as being a balance against governmental power, it is definitely still necessary.This guy still doesn’t understand that a militia is made up of the people and run by the people. the National Guard and SWAT and other law enforcement organizations are made up of the people and run by the government.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      Actually if you bothered to read Article I section 8 and the Militia Act of 1792 you will see that the Militia is made up by the people and controled by the State and Federal Governments but don’t let the actual Constitution get in the way of your opinion.

    2. avatar Rob Aught says:

      I’m betting Glenn Reynolds knows a lot more about the law than you do.

      He’s not arguing against the individual right or saying that there needs to be a limit. He is saying that the militia as intended no longer exists, and that’s true.

      As others have pointed out, historically militias have not worked out all that well. However, that doesn’t mean they will never work out well and there is always the chance that they may be needed again. At it’s heart, the 2nd Amendment is about preventing the rise of another tyrannical government. The Founding Fathers saw this in the form of a local militia who had access to their own weapons.

      That is the key to the 2nd Amendment though, without access to our own weaponry the entire concept of a militia is moot. If we are reliant on the government for arms (As the National Guard or Reserves are) then we are effectively disarmed for all intents and purposes when it really matters.

      1. avatar Michael B. says:

        State Defense Forces are what’s left of the historical organized militia. Most are in an anemic state at the moment because the National Guard has largely taken over their duties.

        The problem is the National Guard can be federalized (absorbed into the US Army) and sent to fight overseas.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          So can the traditional State militias. Here is the Constitutional language:

          Article 1 Section 8 paragraph 15: “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

          Article 1 Section 8 paragraph 16: 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;

          Seems to me that the Constitutional language is explicit that the Militia is under the control of the Federal and State governments. There are no private militias authorized by the the Constitutions. During the 18th and 19th Centuries the Militia was “the whole body of the people.” There were no private militias under this defintion.

        2. avatar Michael B. says:

          So can the traditional State militias. Here is the Constitutional language:

          Article 1 Section 8 paragraph 15: “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

          Article 1 Section 8 paragraph 16: 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;,

          Seems to me that the Constitutional language is explicit that the Militia is under the control of the Federal and State governments. There are no private militias authorized by the the Constitutions. During the 18th and 19th Centuries the Militia was “the whole body of the people.” There were no private militias under this defintion.

          1. I see nothing in the quoted language that authorizes the deployment of state militia overseas. Executing the laws, suppressing insurrection, and repelling invasions? Yes. Invading a country? No.

          2. I never said private militias were legitimate. They are not. We are in agreement on this so there is no need for you to attack a strawman.

    3. avatar Thomas says:

      Yep. The militias primary purpose should be as a check against unrestrained government power. It should not report or respond to any government (federal or state).

      1. avatar Steve D. says:

        Bingo.

        Except the government deems such groups as a threat to their “authoriton”. They publicly assemble a massive assault and squash them like a bug, no matter if there are children present – ie: Ruby Ridge.

  13. avatar fiun dagner says:

    the battle of athens provees that there is still a need for citizen militias. that said, i can already see thhat if they were reformed the antis would start call for the disarmament of anyone not active in them, and would hamstring those that are involved in such a way as to effectively disarm them

    1. avatar Mack Bolan says:

      Great Reference. Those GI’s didn’t take no shit.

      For those not familiar with the battle of Athens (or google) here is a the link.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Athens_(1946)

      1. avatar B says:

        I am a better person now having read that, thank you. It gives me some hope that a people enslaved by crooked cops and politicians can do something about it.

    2. avatar John in Ohio says:

      The Battle of Athens: Restoring the Rule of Law

      http://youtu.be/U5ut6yPrObw

  14. avatar DJ says:

    Unfortunately, I think the “militia” most of us are familiar with is the kind we see with a booth at the local gun show (preppers with white supremacist leanings playing paintball in the woods). While those folks are certainly free to associate, I have no desire to associate with them.

    I’ve been in the Army and the National Guard, and I think a case could be made for reorganizing the National Guard into a real state militia. The article seems to imply there would be some type of mandatory obligation (similar to jury duty). That becomes problematic for the same reasons any compulsory service is problematic and potentially transfers substantial training and equipment costs from the federal government to the state.

    I wouldn’t be unwilling to serve in a state militia (obviously, if I was in the Guard) provided it were effectively organized, trained and equipped. But I really don’t know what the impetus would be to reorganize the National Guard system back into a militia system.

    1. avatar peirsonb says:

      what the impetus would be to reorganize the National Guard system back into a militia system.

      Hell freezing over.

    2. avatar Doug says:

      Sadly, true. In my comment above, I was careful to use the word “respectable” as a descriptor re militia. Regular guys. Nobody out to disenfranchise people.

    3. avatar Anon in CT says:

      Most (all?) states could not afford to maintain and fuel the National Guards’ equipment.

      That said, at least some states have a “State Guard” that is separate from the NG, and answers only to the State.

      “The New York Guard is a state volunteer force which augments and supports the New York National Guard as required with manpower and skills.

      New York Guard members serve in an unpaid status unless they are placed on State Active Duty by the governor and they cannot be mobilized for federal duty. They assist the National Guard in planning, training for and executing state emergency support and disaster missions”

      http://dmna.ny.gov/nyg/

      1. avatar DJ says:

        Interesting, I was unaware that there was such a thing. Thanks for the link.

        Re: equipment cost – I’m pretty sure the largest armored formation in the US inventory is a Texas ARNG unit. The KSARNG unit I was in was MLRS. Some of these formations have significant training and maintenance costs associated with them. States might be able to afford it, but it would leave a mark.

        1. avatar Whatever says:

          I believe that Texas and California also have similar organizations. Might be a nice place for a free citizen to spend some time, maybe bolster the ranks with the more libertarian minded, if you know what I mean.

    4. avatar Steve D. says:

      If the purpose of the militia is to protect the state from the government, then at such a time you would not care if they had pro-white or pro-black leanings.. only that they had your back in a time of need.

      1. avatar Whatever says:

        I would much rather have one with pro citizen leanings than one chasing an ethnic agenda. The later groups have a habit of going full fascist during times of civil strife.

  15. avatar Doc Diver says:

    I think the word “militia” carries a negative image in our country today. Most people here the word militia and immediately think about a group of people living in a compound who don’t want any form of government and wear camoflouge and claim to be better trained than the military and other armed professionals.
    At the same time it would behoove us as a country to reinstate a militia to be used in a purely defensive role. There would have to be requirments similar to enlisting in the military, and they could have a training schedule similar to the Reserve or Nat’l Guard.
    In all reality we have a “militia” with the growing number of PMCs in America.

    1. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

      Bingo. How can I know if I’m joining a militia or a group of radicals planning on overthrowing the government? It’s one thing to defend against tyranny, it’s another thing altogether to plan to attack government installations. I’ll bet a lot of mayors thought that joining a group dedicated to reducing the illegal use of guns was a good idea until they realized that’s not what MAIG were all about.

      1. avatar peirsonb says:

        That’s how they got me to sign up for the ACLU just out of high school. Civil liberties = good. ACLU not so much.

        1. avatar Whatever says:

          I like the right to say what and shoot what I want without government permission. That is why I support both the NRA and the ACLU.

      2. avatar DJ says:

        It seems to be implied in the article that it would be a militia system in lieu of the National Guard – so the militia would be sponsored and recognized by the state government, not those sketchy dudes from the gun show.

      3. avatar Timbo says:

        you sound like a guest on “Piers Morgan Live” You may remember, we are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. Unless we commit a crime, we are law abiding. Grow a pair. Join a group. If they start talking about overthrowing the Government and blowing up buildings in the first meeting, leave and report them to the appropriate authorities. Otherwise they just might be patriotic Americans. Imagine that.

        1. avatar Steve D. says:

          Bingo.

  16. avatar Jim R says:

    The militia still exists. It’s all around you. Everyone in this country who owns a firearm, whether they realize it or not, is part of the militia.

  17. avatar DownrangeFuture says:

    Will I join a militia if it were formed today?

    Where do I sign?

    Since I learned what the militia was supposed to be I wanted the return of militias. I’m not opposed to fewer professional lawmen and more community involvement. How about only having paid sheriffs who are elected, and making his deputies all volunteers from the militia?

    But I think everyone should have to serve in the militia for a short time at least. Say one year, right out of high school plus training (or right after whenever you drop out). That way we can teach people armed and unarmed self-defense, teach them some things about the law, and change this culture of “me, mine, and right now” to “us, our community, and some patience”.

  18. avatar Nathan.B says:

    What I haven’t seen any of the other posters mention is MANY states have militias. Virginia has a militia, Ohio has a militia. Just look online and you’ll see that most states have some form of militia, though it’s usually completely de-militarized in nature.

    1. avatar ErrantVenture11 says:

      You beat me to it by 4 minutes. See my post below, 23 states have such forces, and most of them are “armed,” at least on paper.

    2. avatar B says:

      Texas has a sort of state national guard. I don’t know much about it though. I’m more the be friendly to your neighbors type so they are willing to work together and don’t shoot you during a Katrina.

  19. avatar Chas says:

    “This makes life easier for the federal government.”

    Am I supposed to care?

    1. avatar Rob Aught says:

      The implication is that easier for the Federal Government also means more power for the Federal Government. You should care if you think the Fed has too much power.

      Convenience for the powers that be usually comes at a cost to the common citizen.

  20. avatar Defens says:

    Back when the militia’s were in vogue, the whole notion of government itself was somewhat different. Politicians were also expected to be “citizen statesmen” who would serve for a term or two, then go back to their jobs. I doubt it was envisioned that there would develop an aristocracy like the Kennedy’s – or other political dynasties that are far removed from the populace. Or perhaps it was – hence the militias…..

  21. avatar ErrantVenture11 says:

    If you used your google-fu properly, you would know that 23 states still have active State Defense Forces, which is probably the closest thing to the organized militias that we still have. My own State of Michigan still has such a force.

    I don’t think (m)any of them really have a tangible focus on defense or arms training anymore, but technically they all still have such a commitment in their charters. Their activities tend to focus on disaster preparedness. I’ve considered joining mine, but I don’t have the time to commit. Maybe when the kids are older. But I’ve made a personal commitment that if we are ever involved in a declared war, the kind where our national sovereignty and survival is actually at stake, I will make sure my daily work supports the war effort. So if my services as a mechanical engineer can’t be steered in that direction, I’d be first in line to pick up a rifle. Or rather, a life preserver and a goofy hat, because I’m a Navy fanboy.

  22. avatar Mack Bolan says:

    Would you be willing to give up your time and money to train – and be subject to call-up by municipal or state governments when needed, possibly without pay – to participate in a citizen militia, as discussed by Professors Amar and Reynolds?

    As opposed to surrendering my freedom incrementally over time as is the current case? Absofuckingloutly!

    God forbid your kids soccer game, fishing trip, Golden Girl’s re-runs, or what ever else your “free time” entails, be sacrificed for liberty, freedom and civic duty.

  23. avatar Jon in NC says:

    Would I give up my Job, time from my family and my money….HELL NO!!

  24. avatar Gregolas says:

    I would. And I’m proud of Mr. Reynolds that Dept. where I majored in History 40 years ago.

  25. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    Am I asking too much for a law “professor” to look up the damn law?? 10 usc 311.

    Who is the militia? For the Feds: EVERYONE MALE AND UNDER 45 AND NOT IN THE GUARD
    For the States: (usually) EVERYONE UNDER 65 AND NOT IN THE GUARD

    10 U.S.C.
    United States Code, 2011 Edition
    Title 10 – ARMED FORCES
    Subtitle A – General Military Law
    PART I – ORGANIZATION AND GENERAL MILITARY POWERS
    CHAPTER 13 – THE MILITIA
    Sec. 311 – Militia: composition and classes
    From the U.S. Government Printing Office, http://www.gpo.gov

    §311. Militia: composition and classes
    (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.

    (Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 14; Pub. L. 85–861, §1(7), Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1439; Pub. L. 103–160, div. A, title V, §524(a), Nov. 30, 1993, 107 Stat. 1656.)

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2011-title10/html/USCODE-2011-title10-subtitleA-partI-chap13-sec311.htm

    WHAT PART OF THIS AM I MISSING???

    1. Exactly!

      Also various states have organized State Defense Forces, which are generally unpaid volunteers that train together on a regular basis, similar to the National Guard, but are exempt from federalization.

    2. avatar Rob Aught says:

      Legally that is correct. In practical terms though, the militia is no longer recognized as legitimate by the US Government.

      While there may be militias still organized by common citizens, you can damn well be sure that if a disaster were to hit or the need for an armed force of locals was needed, no government entity will look to a local militia.

      The very idea goes against our current government that so desperately wants the population to believe that they must rely on uniformed personnel for their safety.

      When was the last time the Fed asked a local militia for help?

      1. avatar Steve D. says:

        An easier question to answer would be – when did the Fed last attack a law-abiding militia group on trumped-up charges.

        The Feds know that the Founding Father’s purpose of the militia was to defend the state from a tyrannical government (amongst other things). This is why they view them with such contempt and will never legally recognize them.

  26. avatar PeterK says:

    Would I be willing? Yes. Does it matter? Not supposed to. It’s a compulsory thing you’ll remember. 🙂

  27. avatar CoolBreeze72 says:

    Yes, we do. But are we prepared?

  28. avatar Rokurota says:

    The Professor didn’t mention one other civic concept that kept police action to a minimum: posse comitatus, which in many ways is an outgrowth of the citizen militia concept.

    Would you be willing to give up your time and money to train and participate in a citizen militia? Yes, absolutely. In fact, I also support universal militia training. Train every able person in the defense of the realm.

  29. avatar Ralph says:

    Since the militia would have one and only one valid purpose — to resist government oppression and overreach — the G will never allow any militia to get off the ground.

    The G’s propaganda machine has already convinced most low-IQ Americans that militias are nothing but a bunch of backwoods gangsters that must be crushed and destroyed right down to the last teenage boy, mother, infant and Golden Retriever.

    So the idea of having a useful militia is a fantasy. If such a thing existed, the G would terminate it on sight with extreme prejudice.

    1. avatar Michael B. says:

      You’re absolutely right. The government does not want more armed and trained people civically engaged.

    2. avatar jdb says:

      Militias are not just “runaway government traps”. They also have a national defense aspect to them. Most of “militias are useless militarily” comments are from people who can only picture them being used as regulars. That’s akin to saying A-10s are useless – they can’t do a B52s job AT ALL.
      They are different forces and deserve different doctrine, training, equipment, etc. And I would argue they can have value in national defense applications.

    3. avatar Steve D. says:

      Exactly.

      …And that is why they want to repeal our Second Amendment rights – because when the people have arms, then the only thing required to form a significant militia is purpose of mind. Essentially we are already a de-facto militia, should we be threatened by a tyrannical government we have the power to rise up.

      It is also the reason why the NSA have built a vast tree of how everyone interconnects… In an emergency it will be friends and friends-of-friends that form into emergency militia groups. By already knowing those social clusters they know who to raid first.

  30. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    I already give up my time and money to train.

    I don’t know about the being called up part, I didn’t do so hot in the military with following orders, I doubt much has changed.

  31. avatar CoolBreeze72 says:

    By Ohio law, males in this state have no choice. By law, you ARE in the militia. Subject to age limits of course. I for one, would not respond to a government (state, fed) call to arms. I WILL stand with my fellow citizens’ call to fight for our freedoms.

  32. avatar 0351 says:

    Of course. If it where done similarly to the existing reserve units in terms of time. A weekend a month to meet up with other conscientious citizens, make business connections, and be available for emergency situations. Add a law that forbids companies from penalizing time off for duties. Make it a bit more mainstream, and not the looney bin that a number of current “militas” are… No offense to those who engage in such activity and aren’t loonies.

  33. avatar Ted says:

    We already have a militia:

    Title 10 › Subtitle A › Part I › Chapter 13 › § 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.

    So according to our current US code, all able-bodied males 17-45 are part of the “unorganized militia”.

    Show this to the next gun-grabber that says we don’t have a militia.

    EDIT: Apologies to Dirk for repeating what he said in an earlier post – I missed that.

  34. avatar GeeSmith2 says:

    I would certainly volunteer.

  35. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    no apology needed. I used this already on an unabshed liberal feminist at work when she brought up the militia. I showed her this federal statute and the state statute and told her she was part of the militia and had been hoodwinked by the liberal establishment. Well, to her credit, she did some research (she is also an attorney) and suddenly, she asked me to recommend a gun for her to purchase . . . . yeah, logic can work.

    I would like for someone to ask Shannon Watts if she has renounced her membership in the State of Indiana’s militia yet.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      She’s too old for the militia. Perhaps she can join the auxiliary and serve tea and cookies to the militia.

      1. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

        Shannon is only 43. She is not too old, and under the state militia, it should be age 65 unless an exemption is granted.

  36. avatar O-Hebi says:

    Would you be willing to give up your time and money to train – and be subject to call-up by municipal or state governments when needed, possibly without pay – to participate in a citizen militia, as discussed by Professors Amar and Reynolds?

    Yes indeedy!

  37. avatar JPD says:

    I am good to go. Where do I sign up?

  38. avatar Dave357 says:

    Our military is still pretty strong these days, but crime is out of control in some cities. It would seem that citizenry could have the most immediate impact by patrolling neighborhoods that really need it.

    Except, even if you were to find enough volunteers to do that, citizen patrols would quickly get sued out of existence. A politically incorrect stop or two and accusations would start flying. And if a shot is ever fired, by the patrol or at the patrol, forget about it.

    And one can wonder how many times George Zimmerman would get mentioned in any discussion about forming such citizen patrols.

  39. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    Sure, I would. I don’t see what’s so far fetched about it. As mentioned, we have volunteer trial juries (nominal $6/day pay notwithstanding), but we also have volunteer grand juries, too, on both the state and federal levels.

    Numerous communities and even entire cities are protected by volunteer fire departments. I’m not just talking about remote, isolated little bucket brigades in the middle of nowhere, either. I’m talking about major population centers.

    Houston suburb Pasadena,TX has the nation’s largest volunteer fire department. Ok, Pasadena has a resident population of but approx. 150,000, but the city has a daytime population that swells to more than a million. It’s also home to many major petroleum refineries. Many large, upscale residential communities outside of the Houston, or any city’s, limits are served by volunteer fire departments, too, and their home insurance providers are entirely comfortable with it. Mine own included.

    Beyond that, there are even elected offices that are entirely volunteer. In Texas, school board members are unpaid. Imagine that: all the hassle, struggle, stress and expense of a political campaign and office, but without any of the pay or perqs. Yet, some competent citizens, often with full time careers and families, take on that challenge every day because they believe in their local comunity and want to help shape and secure its future.

    Even in law enforcement, we have volunteers. In Harris County (Houston), our Sheriff’s Department and others field reserve officers. These are regular men and women, with regular day jobs, who are licenced as peace officers, i.e., real cops. They volunteer their time on fixed monthly schedules, in addition to during emergencies. With the exception of their cruiser, they pay for all of their own gear.

    I’d expect many people would join state militias. If they didn’t, it would only be because they’re too busy serving their community in some other capacity already.

    1. avatar jdb says:

      You, sir, win the internet for the day. Best post I’ve seen in a while on the subject.
      I’m up here in the volunteer state, and we do lots of stuff on a volunteer basis. We even still have Constable – elected peace officers – who are a lot like reserve deputies but more independent.

  40. avatar Michael B. says:

    Would you be willing to give up your time and money to train – and be subject to call-up by municipal or state governments when needed, possibly without pay – to participate in a citizen militia, as discussed by Professors Amar and Reynolds?

    I’m already part of the unorganized militia. If my state were to ever organize us and wanted me to show up, I would.

    Rights come with responsibilities, gents. It’s like jury duty.

  41. avatar izoser says:

    We already have jury duty. It would not be any different. Besides, an armed society is a polite society. I would definitely volunteer, am 55 year old gulf war I vet…oh and did I mention a woman?

    1. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

      thank you for your service.

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      It’s hard to believe that it’s been 23 years since the first gulf war. People who served in that war are not just retired from the military but collecting SSI

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        I hadn’t realized that it was that long ago. Wow! O_o

  42. avatar Dave78 says:

    I dunno.. Sign me up.. Having a civi drill sergeant run me through laps, make me shoot, and keep my skills up to par seems kinda nice.. Especially if the state sponsors my ammo usage. I’d save money on ammo and a gym membership. Call up should be voluntary, but I’d certainly want to help if there was a problem locally.

  43. avatar Braenen says:

    The state of Georgia maintains an actual militia: https://www.gamilitia.com/

    Do others?

    1. avatar Mercutio says:

      do they eat goober peas like the song says?

  44. avatar SC Jeff says:

    We need a militia now more than ever. We don’t need to invade Mexico like they wanted us to in 1912. We need to stop the invasion from Mexico that is happening to us right now.

  45. avatar JoshuaS says:

    Several states have what are called State Defense Forces.

    Heck, we have a Military Department in California. It has 5 parts. The Adjutant General, the National Guard, the State Military Reserve, the Naval Militia, and the California Cadet Corps.

    Under CA law the National Guard, Military Reserve and Naval Militia are considered active and organized militia. There is no dual enlistment requirement, so one can join the CSMR without being in the national guard. The Cadets are a HS program, where they train and drill. Yes, in California, we have a branch of the militia that is in high schools training kids with rifles. You won’t see it in urban areas though. The LASD forbade it from the campuses, and have lost funding from the state every year since that because of that.

    All males 18-45who are not members of the California Military Department are considered part of the unorganized militia and may be called upon by the governor to active status.

    BTW, the Naval Department lost all its ships when the Wilson administration seized them. Now it is just lawyers I think…

  46. avatar eugene says:

    Soldiers in more than 130 countries, more than 270 military bases around the world, hundreds of millions spent on boats, guns, tanks and planes. We have garrisoned the planet and make no mistake about it when politicians say we must do this to protect our interests they are talking about the interests of the rich and powerful and the corporations. In spite of all of the above on 911 a small group of crazies armed with box cutters, a tool I can buy for about four bucks at the local hardware store, hijacked airliners and killed thousands of our citizens. Seems to me that one incident might give a thinking person pause and to reconsider what we are doing in the world militarily.

  47. avatar John in Ohio says:

    As is typical of government quagmires, the militia has slowly been deprived of equipment and freedom to assemble that it desperately needs to be well regulated. Government creates a problem and then points to that problem as pretext to solve more of the “problem”.

    sic semper tyrannis

  48. avatar jwm says:

    The whole concept of a citizen militia was valid in colonial and frontier days. But if we’re all members of the militia can you imagine the clusterphuck if the state or feds were to call up the militia because of some emergency?

    It would take 6 months to a year, minimum, to make them ready for anything other than cannon fodder and mine field clearers. And I’m probably being overly kind in that time frame.

    I went looking for a militia to join when Bill Clinton was elected. Without exception all the militias I found were white power oriented bible thumpers who were not interested in constitutional rights for anybody but themselves.

    If we are to have a citizen militia it would have to be organised now and train regularly and be under the states or feds control or it’s just a gang waiting to abuse those weaker than it.

    1. avatar Michael B. says:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_defense_force

      These are what’s left of the organized militia.

      The groups you described are anti-government separatists.

      1. avatar William Burke says:

        I’m the militia. Too bad for you that you aren’t. But patriotism is never supposed to be the province of the weak at heart.

        Have a nice life.

        1. avatar Paul G. says:

          But are you the militia that is specified in the constitution? Most definitely not.

    2. avatar Anon says:

      Sadly I have found the generalization about militias being thinly veiled gangs to be somewhat true in my own search. And being in the armed forces, if I were to join the III%ers, Oathkeepers, or any other 2A organization besides the NRA, I would probably have my security clearance revoked faster than you can say Edward Snowden.

      If you need any further proof of the deep penetration of government indoctrination, go to your local grocery store and look at the labels on the food you buy. Nothing in this country is considered legit in the general public’s eyes unless it is labeled, registered and regulated, and unfortunately militias are no different, as of now anyway.

      1. avatar William Burke says:

        Nobody ever said there wouldn’t be cowards among us. May your chains rest lightly upon you.

        1. avatar Anon says:

          Sorry it took me so long to respond, I had to go get a band-aid for my feelings. The thing I like most about this blog is that the commenters bring as much to the table as the article authors themselves. I appreciate that the vast majority of the folks that comment are able to speak intelligently and thoughtfully on relevant issues, unlike the majority of anti-gunners out there.

          I have taken the Oath of Office three times now, at my commissioning and at each of my promotions, and those words are not any less true now than they were a few years ago when I spoke them. Like many CT policeman currently being put to the test, I hope my choice best honors the courage and sacrifice of those that have gone before me to defend the Constitution and our great country. But that being said, I am very careful of which organizations I attach my name to. Anyone in uniform can tell you that you represent more than yourself in everything you do. As gun owner, serviceman, militiaman, or what have you, you can guarantee that if you do anything newsworthy, that affiliation will be in the headline.

          But in my quest to be open minded and consider all facts before making a decision, perhaps you can enlighten me. Maybe I didn’t make my point clear, but I actually would like to be in an organized lawful militia, since the one I am in now is a one-man wolfpack. If you can recommend one that is not committed to the violent overthrow of the US government and can vouch for its legitimacy, I would be more than happy to look into it. Seriously.

  49. avatar old&scarred says:

    yes.

  50. avatar John in Ohio says:

    To legitimately disband the militia would require a constitutional amendment or somehow finding a way to revoke all citizenship. I did time serving in traditional militia units. I’m beyond the classical age for ‘active’ service but wouldn’t hesitate to fulfill any duty should the call arise. Many of us geezers still maintain the ‘minimum’ equipment, at the ready, should the need arise. The traditional militia is far from dead and gone.

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      Shoulder-to-shoulder, as you said. It’s not a thing for the tremulous, as history has demonstrated. If you don’t support the militia, go hide somewhere until it’s done.

  51. avatar Cornholio says:

    I’m a militia of one.

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      We are one, Great Cornholio!

  52. avatar former water walker says:

    +1 Dave357…we’d all be “George Zimmerman”. Especially us evil old white men. Theoretical discussion is great but that’s the sad reality.

  53. avatar Anonymous says:

    I think Farago should start a militia. I’d join.

  54. avatar William Burke says:

    He’s wrong. I’m the militia; you’re the militia. All you need do is declare yourself to be militia. Some of you don’t want to be seen as militia. But that’s your problem, not mine.

  55. avatar GS650G says:

    If joining a militia means making a move on the really messed up urban jungles where criminals run free and the cops are not getting it done, then maybe we need to join one. But that isn’t going to happen since the democrat base sits in these areas and too many obstacles exist to taking the bull by the horns.
    Any militia would instead be either used to police foreign lands or used by the State to go after the citizenry.

  56. avatar DanH says:

    Just to add a different perspective, I’m also a HAM radio operator. The HAM community regularly volunteers it’s time for disaster relief, storm spotting, etc. We “train” regularly on our own dime and our equipment is purchased on our own dime. The idea of “mustering” the HAM operators is ultimately voluntary in response to a disaster, although some are signed up as designated responders with the red cross or other organization. When needed, anyone able to respond does so. In the case of a militia, it would be useful to define the events that could lead to a call up. It’s also likely that most need would be in the first 12-48 hours after whatever that event was. So the most volunteers are only needed for a short period of time, while the hardcore can stay on to coordinate any other response needed.

  57. avatar Richard says:

    1.A militia needs to be universal — for example, all citizens between ages of 18 and 45. If it is not universal it is not a militia.
    2.In order to be universal the majority of state citizens would have to support it and vote for it.
    3.The attraction of a militia appears to be to safeguard the ability of people to own guns and resist governmental attempts to infringe liberties such as gun ownership.
    4.Why would the majority of citizens in a State such as Connecticut vote to make themselves serve in a militia to safeguard the rights of the gun owners they have already voted to screw?
    5.This idea is a dead end. A better idea is universal service of young people in the armed forces or alternative service such as Israel. This idea has some support from liberals as well as conservatives. However, the military opposes it because it would divert too much resources to personnel and away from weapons procurement.

    1. avatar Steve D. says:

      Richard wrote:
      “1.A militia needs to be universal — for example, all citizens between ages of 18 and 45. If it is not universal it is not a militia.”
      “2.In order to be universal the majority of state citizens would have to support it and vote for it.”

      1. Done.
      2. Done!

      No need to vote, because it’s already law! I guess you didn’t read any of the previous posts that quoted this fact that we are already all militia members….

      Title 10 › Subtitle A › Part I › Chapter 13 › § 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.

  58. avatar brenton adams says:

    Bring it, I’ll join. Although anyone that peaceably owns and operates commonly owned firearms is part of the well regulated militia in my mind.

  59. avatar Brian S. says:

    Some form of militia certainly exist beyond the national guard. Any armed citizen of the US can step forward and serve as a part of an unregulated militia. These irregulars have a part to play in the defense of a small community during a time of invasion. Irregular and asymetric warfare has been very sucessful in the past and I believe that those of us who have a strong sense of citzenship and duty to our communities would fight to defend our proximate homeland. I don’t think this irregular militia would need much training or organization to have an effect. I’ll throw a spear if I have to. The arguments provided above assume a more centralized and controlled militia. Citizens are militia regardless of the consent of a higher authority.

  60. avatar Jack Ahearn says:

    2nd Amendment as the founding fathers would word it today.

    http://www.constitution.org/2ll/schol/2amd_grammar.htm

  61. avatar JT says:

    “Perhaps that’s why the pendulum swung away from citizen militias 100 years ago.”

    The pendulum started swinging away longer than 100 years ago. The federal government has been weary of them since the civil war.

  62. avatar BR549 says:

    Reynolds was correct, and thank you Dan Zimmerman for such a spot on article on the issue.

    In addressing some commenters acquiescence to rationalize our current level of global hegemony, I’d say that stepping out to address the Barbary Pirates was one thing, and the Monroe Doctrine might have also had the potential to give the South and Central American countries some breathing space if it wasn’t so typical of what would become to be known as US expansionism, but when Teddy Roosevelt started to get illusions of grandeur (through his “Roosevelt Corollary”) that Japan and Korea should now be considered within our sphere of influence, …… and then the Dick Act of 1903 mysteriously and ever so conveniently pops up to provide these overzealous politicians the warm bodies they so desperately needed, one would have to be an idiot to think that the average US citizen hasn’t been used as a sacrificial pawn.

    With a militia service requirement, one that focused on defending the homeland, there would be no need for a draft.

  63. avatar ZM 1306 says:

    I was thinking about how to build a militia here in MI.

    The state would be able to communicate with all county militias, send out information, as well as calls to action. The state will need to have a supply system if and when there is a need to use the militia.

    Each county would be responsible to have a training ground and a trainer (preferably ex-military?). People of the county can attend the training grounds for rage time or during operating hrs. for training.

    That is about as far as I got it so far.

  64. avatar TheYetti says:

    I think mandatory militia duty would do this country a lot of good.

  65. avatar Tom Bradford says:

    This the problem I see. The government does not want militia for they call that a Terriost cell group and your names will be logged on the red list. The first ones they are coming after in the event of martial law is any kind of militia group. They will arrest you under the pretense you are a danger to civil unrest and they will throw some trumped up charge on you. I really believe we need a militia and I would like to join one, but knowing what I know and what clearly can be seen it will not work in todays politics the government will shut it down. By joining these you are only putting your name on list and you will be the first to be rounded up and Deactivited from being able to respond. We have lost our freedom we can now only wait to see what happens next. It wont be long until another false flag attack will happen. For the dollar is Collasping they must do something within the next few months to give them more time. Be careful my fellow countrymen for we have been literally screwed over this time.

  66. avatar Tom Bradford says:

    What amazes me the conversation is on militia we have guys talking about a 100 years ago. Di u really believe we are in the same political Sitution we was 100 years ago. We are not in the same position politically we was 20 years ago on 9-11-2001 u lost your freedom dont anyone understand that. The government does not play fair. U Dont have a choice. It not a republican, democratic, Liberterian, or whatever you want call yourself. This is about the dollar nothing more. You screw with the FED the petro dollar there will be war. That is what this whole deal is about. Do you believe we will just seat idel and let a company try to take the reserve currency status. Just open your eyes look around. Its all decepition they have us chasing r own tails. Wake up

  67. avatar Nicholas says:

    I’m looking to find out as much about the online surfing community as I can. Can anyone recommend their favorite blogs, twitter handles, or sites that you find most comprehensive? Which ones are most popular? Thanks!.

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