- Posted July 24, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun ownership in America
2nd Amendment misunderstood
- stein0726, CNN iReport producer
A lot of people talk about how the Second Amendment is there for self defense and sporting uses. While those are lawful exercises of Second Amendment rights, what people seem to not pay attention to is the prologue of the amendment, which gives the underlying purpose of the right to bear arms... i.e. the well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state. But the purpose isn't nearly what liberals OR conservatives think.
The Second Amendment was passed as a check on the power of the federal government by the states. If, for example, a U.S. President decided to suspend elections and declared martial law, the several states will respond with force of arms, and the participation of the population as a whole in that resistance will be under the command of the various state governors. The Militia Act of 1792, passed into law less than a year after the Bill of Rights, and by the same congress, mandated that every able bodied male ages 17-45 capable of bearing arms for the common defense and not morally opposed to armed conflict report for local militia duty to his county sheriff, police chief, or governor. He was to bring with him a weapon from home that was part of ordinary military equipment.
In 1903, the Militia Act was amended to establish two separate, yet equally important state Militias. These were the Organized Militia (The National Guard, capable of being federalized into National Service), and the Unorganized (i.e. civilian) Militia, which was the militia prescribed for by the 1792 acts. To this very day, every able-bodied 17-45 year old man who is not a conscientious objector is legally a member of the Unorganized Militia, even if they don't know it. While the National Guard can be federalized under Executive Order of the President, the Unorganized Militia is purely and exclusively under the command of the governor of their state. In modern times, assuming that a state national guard was federalized and deployed overseas, the Unorganized Militia would be called up and tasked with providing for the common defense in statewide or national emergency crisis’. They would not be deployable overseas, nor would they be deployable beyond their state’s borders, except under orders from their state’s governor.
The problem is, most state governors (with the exception of Alaska and select units in other states, such as Texas) haven't called up the Unorganized Militia for combat training to make them "well-regulated" in 109 years. So what you have is a nation full of untrained militiamen, most of whom don't even know that they're legally in the militia, who are going out and buying battlefield weapons. The reason that the liberal, anti-gun progressive movement tends to trust sworn, certified law enforcement officers with weapons more than they trust your average citizen is because of the screening and TRAINING that they receive in the safe handling and use of such weapons. This obviously needs to be fixed in order for the civilian militia to still have any practical relevance, respect, support, and legitimacy, regardless of it's technically legal status.
Here's what I propose, after nearly 2 decades of research. The Militia Act of 2012. This act abolishes all federal gun control laws, and mandates that every state hold at least semi-annual Militia screening and training of all citizens that voluntarily show up for service with their state defense forces. This screening will include physical and mental health exams, as well as criminal background checks. After you've been screened, you go through various levels of combat training that is age and physical disability appropriate for each volunteer. A large part of all Militiaman certification should be focused heavily on intensive training for concealed carry, shooting speed and accuracy, and target discrimination. Militia training and membership will be open to both men and women, and the cutoff age (previously 45 years old) for membership will be removed. Minimum age will remain at 17, just as members of our armed forces can, and do, enlist and fight at 17 years old.
Once you graduate from this training provided for by the state, you are issued a State Militia ID card, much like the Military ID card in my wallet right now. After the passage of this act, the point-of-purchase requirement, rather than a background check, and regardless of the location of the transaction (i.e. gun store, gun show, Wal Mart, or Uncle Ned's kitchen table) will be the presentation of a valid Militia ID, Military ID or law enforcement credentials from the firearms purchaser. (Many states already do this with their carry permits.) In other words, using either a Military ID of any kind (including Active, Reserve, National Guard, and Retired), a State Militia ID card, or a police badge, you can purchase AND CARRY any weapon you desire, so long as it is a protected arm under the second amendment (as defined by the U.S. vs. Miller and DC vs. Heller decisions.) This means that the weapon must be part of ordinary military equipment (i.e. machine guns and handheld explosive ordinance), in common use (i.e. assault rifles, pistols, hunting rifles, and shotguns), and capable of providing for the common defense (all of the above categories.) Thus, all currently legal, battlefield-appropriate weapons will remain legal for Militiamen to purchase, and those that have been restricted or banned will have their restrictions lifted for militiamen.
Other weapons such as switch blades, non-lethal chemical agents, and martial arts weapons would also be legal for militiamen and women to purchase, as they fit the Robert's Supreme Court definition of "Something that can be carried by someone on their person, that can be used in case of a confrontation with another person." As stated above, once you have qualified as a State Militiaman, you can carry your weapon(s) of choice EVERYWHERE in the country, much as Law Enforcement can and Military members on official duty can as well, as long as you comply with state/local laws with regards to whether they mandate open and/or concealed carry. Militiamen must also be exempt from all sanitary or “gun free zones,” in recognition of the fact that criminals DON’T obey such laws, and paid law enforcement can’t always be there to prevent crime. (Every police officer that has attended a police academy knows that Law Enforcement intervenes in just 1% of crimes-in-progress nationwide, and only 4% with active community partership/aid.)
Requalification as a state militiaman should take place at least twice a year, along with the mental health and criminal records screenings. If someone chooses not to volunteer for State Militia service, then they have no need for a battlefield weapon, and are restricted to purchasing basic hunting long arms, pistols for self defense, and only low capacity magazines for all still-available weaponry (as well as bladed weapons, etc.) and must have a state-issued permit to carry such weapons, if their state chooses to license the right to carry in public. Four states (Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, and Wyoming) currently do not license this right whatsoever (coincidentally all states with a crime rate FAR below the national average.) Part of the Militia Act of 2012 will be that the federal government will withhold all homeland security funding from every state that doesn't abolish their gun control laws and implement this militia program at the state level.
Funding for the Unorganized militia will be accomplished through local taxes imposed in the same manner as a school tax. Many people say everyone should pay for the education of our nation’s children. The same should also be true of the training needed to defend them, their families, and their communities. Thus, just as school taxes are locally financed, so too should be the Unorganized Militia.
Also, possession and carrying of battlefield/rare/exotic weapons by a non military, law enforcement, and/or state militia members should result in SEVERE, FEDERAL criminal penalties, without ANY possibilty of plea bargaining or parole. You want to dissuade someone from trying to get their hands on something you don’t want them to have? Tell them you’re going to take away their freedom for 25 to life, with no flexibility or leniency in sentencing and administration of corrections. The same punishment will be applied to anyone who KNOWINGLY sells, gives, transfers, or otherwise supplies a battlefield weapon to an unqualified individual.
For gun control advocates, this ensures that every person who is able to legally purchase, possess, and carry a modern battlefield weapon has been psychologically cleared by their state government, along with having passed a criminal record check, and has been thoroughly disciplined and trained in the safety and usage of such weapons. It also ensures that this screening and training is up-to-date. This, by the way, would be more frequent screening and weapons qualifying than most of the police officers that walk armed amongst you every day have to go through. It also dramatically increases the training received by those with concealed carry permits, where in most states that actually have a training requirement, one must merely sit through a four hour class, and then shoot 12 rounds at a paper target from 10 yards away, never having to qualify again for life. Shooting, by the way, is a VERY perishable skill.
Furthermore, it limits the insane and violence-prone to the most basic, ineffectively slow, and ammunition-limited weaponry, whereas right now, any nut can walk into a gun show and walk out with a semi-automatic, battlefield-designed rifle with all the tactical bells and whistles and a 100 round drum magazine, as demonstrated in Aurora, CO. And let's face it... Progressives aren’t going to get the gun control they want through Congress any time soon. This is, by far, the most likely proposal to pass that you are going to get.
For advocates of the Second Amendment, this act allows nationwide public carriage of ALL battlefield-appropriate arms (machine guns, etc.) for militiamen with NO gun free zones, as well as allows the easy, inexpensive, and hassle-free purchase of such weapons, with no point-of-purchase background checks required nationwide. Fathers can continue to give their sons their heirloom weapons without having the inconvenience and expense of going through a federally licensed dealer. The only restriction on what you can carry depends on state and local ordinances regarding open vs. concealed carry. For example, if you live in Wyoming, and they allow open carry, then you can walk around with an AK-47 strapped to your chest. If, however, you live or visit New York City, most likely they'll mandate concealed carry, so you'll need to have a well-hidden machine pistol or Personal Defense Weapon in order to go with the full-auto option.
Another positive that this Act gives the pro-gun crowd is taxpayer-funded combat training, as well as enhanced credibility with law enforcement and the general public. Furthermore, it saturates the public square with well-armed, well-trained, certified good guys, and dramatically lowers the readily available firepower of the scumbags. And let’s face it… The supporters of the Second Amendment aren't getting a filibuster-proof senate any time soon, and getting our rights restored through the courts takes years and doesn't guarantee us satisfactory results.
Most important of all, however, in my humble opinion, is that this Militia Act would pretty much be the embodiment of what the founders envisioned when they drafted the Second Amendment, as well as do wonders to curb violent crime. It can, and will, pass both political fires and constitutional muster.
"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."