The Second Amendment and The Militia Act of 1792 | What The Founders Meant by “Well Regulated Militia”

larry pratt and piers morgan debate gun violence statistics

The Origin of the Second Amendment and The Militia Act of 1792 | Addressing the question of why any citizen would need a military style assault rifle.

We often hear from gun control advocates that the second amendment has lost relevance and that it was to guarantee the right to own a gun to use for hunting at a time when all firearms used ball and powder. “Why would any citizen need a ‘military style’ semi-automatic ‘assault’ rifle?” comes the refrain from those who fear guns or are simply unfamiliar with their use in modern society. It is easy to overlook the fact that legislation in the past has not only allowed “the right to keep and bear arms” but required it.

The National Militia Act of 1792 Required Citizens To Own Military Rifles

Seldom mentioned is the fact that the federal government had a law in place at one time requiring all men to own a military rifle. According to Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun owners of America: “Individuals were to own their own military rifles so that if they were called to duty they would have that to bring with them. That was the Militia Act of 1792, which required all able-bodied men to own a military rifle so that they would have it at the ready if they were called up.”

Forward to 1:10 to see the discussion about the Militia Act of 1792 (although he misquotes it as the”Militia Act of 1796″) and what the Second Amendment means when it says “a well regulated militia”:

So as you can see, after the adoption of the Second Amendment into the U.S. Constitution in 1791, the federal government decided to go one step further and create a law requiring that all men own and have ready a military gun in case they were called to service to defend their country. Every farmer, blacksmith, preacher and furniture maker was required to keep their weapon at the ready. This gave the populace power to defend American people and property against foreign invaders, but, by default, also allowed people to protect themselves, their family, their property or their community from any threat. This was a right and responsibility that the government of the United States of American felt secure in entrusting to its citizens.

Careful Attention To Wording of The Second Amendment

When the idea of a second amendment was first approached, there was considerable concern over the precise language used. It went through several iterations before it was adopted into the Constitution as the official “Second Amendment”. This, however, has not decreased the arguing about and misinterpretation of the second amendment in modern American government and society. According to The Freeman, the opposing interpretation of the Second Amendment is:

Before proceeding, let’s understand the competing interpretation. As the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California put it, “The original intent of the Second Amendment was to protect the right of states to maintain militias.” Dennis Henigan of Handgun Control, Inc., says the amendment is “about the distribution of military power in a society between the federal government and the states. That’s all they [the Framers] were talking about.” As he put it elsewhere, “The Second Amendment guaranteed the right of the people to be armed as part of a ‘well regulated’ militia, ensuring that the arming of the state militia not depend on the whim of the central government” [emphasis added].

This interpretation is diametrically opposed to the view that says the amendment affirms the right of private individuals to have firearms. The ACLU, HCI, and others reject this, arguing that the amendment only affirms the right of the states to maintain militias or, today, the National Guard. These competing interpretations can’t both be right.

This interpretation has been preferred in legal battles about the meaning of the Second Amendment in recent history, but, increasingly, the courts are agreeing with the interpretation that says that the right of individual citizens to bear arms shall not be infringed. If the founders would have intended to say that the government has the right to organize a militia and have them bear arms, then they probably would have worded it differently, especially after carefully wording and rewording it so many times.

The Freedom of Future Generations Hinges On The Interpretation of The Second Amendment

larry pratt and piers morgan debate gun violence statistics In this era of unconstitutional government and legislating from the bench, each concerned citizen needs to be well informed of their rights and do their part to protect them for future generations. It certainly will be a controversial topic with parties entrenched in their own beliefs on either side. It is important for each American to consider the context and the wording used in the Constitution and Bill of Rights and draw their own understanding of what was intended originally by the framers of the constitution as well as what makes sense today. Were the framers of the constitution correct in thinking that limiting the governments power (as the Second Amendment limited the governments power to restrict people from owning firearms) was the only way to keep the citizens free? Or is the possibility of attack and the need to protect people and property from invasion merely a thing of the past and completely irrelevant today?

Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.” -Noah Webster

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined or determined to commit crimes. Such laws only make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assassins; they serve to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” (1764 Letter and speech from Thomas Jefferson quoting with approval an essay by Cesare Beccari)

The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” – John Adams (Convention of the Commonwealth of Mass., 86-87, date still being sought)

What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.” – Thomas Jefferson to James Madison

“A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”- George Washington

Follow this link to find out What Threats To Freedom Might The American People Need to Defend Ourselves Against Today?





6 Responses to The Second Amendment and The Militia Act of 1792 | What The Founders Meant by “Well Regulated Militia”

  1. GS test says:

    The Second Amendment and The Militia Act of 1792 | What The Founders Meant by “Well Regulated Militia” | The Daily Unconstitutional

  2. clear says:

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