Est. May 2008

15 March, 2013

Mark Levin, The Second Amendment, And The Militia

Last night I was listening to Mark Levin school Charles Krauthammer, and a couple of things he said triggered a couple of thoughts.

At about 4:40 in the lower video, Mr. Levin says:
‘They insisted on free speech and freedom of the press among other things; what did they mean by free speech?  What were they concerned about that they insisted that this be in the constitution…

‘The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to protect the individual from the federal government; it’s to protect the states from the federal government.’
And at about 6:00 he said:
‘If people read the Heller decision Scalia among others made it very clear from an originalist point of view what were the framers talking about … what were the states talking about?  They wanted to make sure that individuals could arm themselves to protect themselves and -  I know this is bad but I’m gonna say it anyway – and, if necessary, to defend themselves against the federal government.

‘And the states…and the states…wanted to keep their militia and their cannons, if you will, and, as Scalia pointed out in Heller, what we’re talking about here are weapons or firearms that your … that you… that the citizenry has - a matter of tradition and so forth - has owned in the context of you know the musket the pistol that sort of thing.  Not cannons not bombs not F-16’s.’
It was actually a twofold thought that this triggered.  Thought one: gun-control activists say that the Second Amendment (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.) is limited to the ‘militia’, and that only the ‘militia’ is legally and constitutionally allowed to keep and bear arms.  Thought two: that gun-control advocates more often than not throw out the idea that when the Framers wrote the Second Amendment they were talking about flintlock muskets and single-shot flintlock pistols; thus, they didn’t anticipate semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and pistols.

On thought one: here’s the definition of ‘militia’:


An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers.

A military force that is not part of a regular army and is subject to call for service in an emergency.

The whole body of physically fit civilians eligible by law for military service.
That would be, give or take, every person in the United States. Therefore, if the ‘militia’ is the only non-professional-military group allowed to keep and bear arms, that means…all of us can keep and bear arms.

On thought two: were the Framers thinking only single-shot, flintlock muskets and pistols, or were they thinking of a balance of personal firepower?  Both the colonials and the Redcoats had substantially the same kinds of firepower – the military, of course, had more cannon available than John Q. Public.  If, as Mr. Levin points out, the Bill of Rights is there in order to protect the individual and the state from the federal government, ought that not mean that the individual (who is, according to definition, a member of the ‘militia’) be allowed the right to bear the same kind of personal arms that the government’s military bear? 

After all, both the ‘militia’ and the Redcoats were carrying muskets and single-shot pistols.

1 comment:

Dean Dretske said...

Indeed, I read recently that the colonials actually had BETTER weapons than the redcoats - the 'long rifle' was much more prevalent with the colonials than the brits.