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As the 2nd Amendment reads...the right of the people to keep and bear arms without infringement appears to be predicated upon the idea that those people are members of "a well-regulated militia".

Does that imply that all citizens of a state are members of said militia? Or perhaps the only people with the right to keep and bear arms are the ones that ARE in the militia.

Then again, there is the question of who gets to regulate the militia and how?

I am 1000% in favor of Joe/Jane America keeping and bearing without infringement! However I think its important that we have some answer tothese questions because our opponents will press the point that the Amendment may appear to refer to armed citizens only in the context of an organized, state-regulated, military organization (i.e. National Guard?).

Any Constitutional Lawyers out there?

I have always been curious about this aspect of the law and welcome any comments.
 

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The phrase "well regulated" as found in the second amendment means well trained.

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"Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress shall have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American ... The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the People."
— Tench Coxe, 1788.
"Regulated" is often construed as meaning well-equipped and disciplined.
 

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I'm browsing on my phone so it's kinda hard to look up right now, but IIRC the Militia Act basically says just about every adult man (and woman on a volunteer basis) is in "the militia".
 

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I believe Ohio defines the Militia as all persons between sixteen and sixty who can bear arms in defense of the State.
My understanding of "well regulated" is such persons are proficient in the use of said items.
I could be wrong, you understand. I am just a poor dumb hillbilly, after all ...
 
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In the 1700's 'well regulated' meant 'accurate' ... as in the 'Regulator' clock.
I'd bet a donut it meant that the group of voluntary citizens (the militia) had trained well and could shoot accurately.
 

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OP - Get a copy of the book "The Second Amendment Primer." All the history you need to know is there.

"Well regulated" means "trained" or "skilled." "Militia" and "the people" are essentially one and the same.
 

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As the 2nd Amendment reads...the right of the people to keep and bear arms without infringement appears to be predicated upon the idea that those people are members of "a well-regulated militia".

Does that imply that all citizens of a state are members of said militia? Or perhaps the only people with the right to keep and bear arms are the ones that ARE in the militia.

I have read a fair number of books and documents on the subject of the Second Amendment, including the following:



A basic description of the terms "militia" and "well regulated milita" that seems to best summarize the meaning at the time of the founding of the United States also happens to be one of the most succinct (given the variations in militia laws that existed at the time). It comes from the Young work, The Founders' View of the Right to Bear Arms: A Definitive History of the Second Amendment, Golden Oaks Books, 2007, pp 25-26:

The Colonial American Understanding of Militia

Taking an overview of the Colonial Period prior to the American Revolution, the common understanding in the British Colonies of North America was that the militia consisted of all the able-bodied free men.

Colonial militia laws generally required all able-bodied men, designated by age range from 18 to 50 or 16 to 60, to possess their own arms. The men would be able to not only defend themselves and their own family but also to assist in organized defense of the larger community. Colonial militia laws provided for organization, officers, and training of the men for emergency defense in the locality where they lived and worked. The phrase "well regulated militia" was applied to militia who were able to effectively engage in the organized defense of themselves, their families, and their community.

The militia should never be confused with paid soldiers and troops that were hired by the colonists when necessary. Troops were under military law and were engaged for service for the period of time they had specifically agreed to enlist for. The militia concept was in contrast to troops. All of the free men were required to have their own arms so they would be able to defend themselves and could be relied upon to assist in defense of their community. Defense of the community was in the hands of the able-bodied inhabitants of the community.

The purpose of the militia was relatively localized, organized defense of communities in sudden emergencies. Military campaigns were generally not the purpose of the militia.


Of course, today, we (the militia, the able-bodied citizenry capable of bearing arms) are largely left to our own devices, in terms of both arming ourselves, as well as training and coordinating ourselves sufficiently to be a capable and effective fighting force.

But it's still us, the citizenry who is able-bodied and capable of bearing arms in our own defense and defense of our communities. As distinctly separate from the paid military and publicly-funded (government) forces for common defense and war.
 

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I read something or somewhere that the nat guard is organized while we are unorganized
 

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Sept. 28 1776 original Pennsylvania Constitution also helps to reenforce it. They both share some of the same signers.

XIII. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
 

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As the 2nd Amendment reads...the right of the people to keep and bear arms without infringement appears to be predicated upon the idea that those people are members of "a well-regulated militia".

Does that imply that all citizens of a state are members of said militia? Or perhaps the only people with the right to keep and bear arms are the ones that ARE in the militia.

Then again, there is the question of who gets to regulate the militia and how?

I am 1000% in favor of Joe/Jane America keeping and bearing without infringement! However I think its important that we have some answer tothese questions because our opponents will press the point that the Amendment may appear to refer to armed citizens only in the context of an organized, state-regulated, military organization (i.e. National Guard?).

Any Constitutional Lawyers out there?

I have always been curious about this aspect of the law and welcome any comments.
No lawyer but the supreme court has previously ruled that the peoples right to bear arms is intrinsic, it has nothing to do with the first part of that sentence, they are two separate statements.

The Supreme Court held:[43]
(1) The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53.
(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.
(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved. Pp. 22–28.
(c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment. Pp. 28–30.
(d) The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms. Pp. 30–32.
(e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.
(f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542 , nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252 , refutes the individual-rights interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174 , does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes. Pp. 47–54.
 

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"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves...and include all men capable of bearing arms."
- Richard Henry Lee ~ Additional Letters from the Federal Farmer (1788) at 169

"No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
- Thomas Jefferson ~ Proposal Virginia Constitution, 1 T. Jefferson Papers, 334,[C.J.Boyd, Ed., 1950]

"That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms..."
- Samuel Adams ~ Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 86-87 (Peirce & Hale, eds., Boston, 1850. 2, col. 2.

"Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."

- James Madison, The Federalist Papers #46 at 243-244

"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for few public officials."
- George Mason ~ 3 Elliot, Debates at 425-426
 

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I've got another question. Why does everyone assume the word "State" is referring to places versus a "state of being" such as "Being armed is necessary to secure my state of freedom". Who knows, but that certainly would give it a more personal connotation as to an individual right to protect your freedom.

As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State:
"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."
 

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I've got another question. Why does everyone assume the word "State" is referring to places versus a "state of being" such as "Being armed is necessary to secure my state of freedom".
My understanding of the term "state" was simply the collection of the individuals in that colony (larger community, aka "state") ... the collection of individuals, not the publicly-hired people tasked with helping administer for those individuals (aka, the "government", who BTW is controlled by, reports to, and is subordinate to, the civilian power, the People).
 

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As I understand the concept as it was explained to me the Militia is every man from 17 to 60 in a community anywhere. Militia supply their own MBR w/ or w/o sidearm and 60 rounds powder and ball. A sharped up tomahawk and knife. Three days rations and ready to march on short notice. Roger's Rangers circa 1770s
 

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The phrase "well regulated" as found in the second amendment means well trained.

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Well trained and well stocked or equipped.

Interesting how the meaning of words has changed over the years, and in some cases with uninteded consequences.
 
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