by Randolph T. Holhut
Chief of AR Correspondents
January 17, 2013
THE DEBT CEILING TWO-STEP: WANNA DANCE?
MONROE, N.Y., Jan. 13, 2013 -- Two things can be said of most gun-bearing Americans: first, they are patriotic, in that they revere at least part of the U.S. Constitution; second, that they tend to be independent-minded, a quality that itself is profoundly infused with the shape of the American Dream. Thus, they are not America's enemies, even if they are often her critics.
Then, of course, there are the hundreds of thousands who are criminals, gang members, killers, rapists, robbers and degenerates for whom guns are tools of a trade that is frowned upon and strictly forbidden in every venue but the imagination.
So, we have millions of peacedul, law-abiding gun owners, and perhaps a million or so who are not. Of the latter, only a handful can be considered psychopaths like the mass murderers who have forced this issue to the forefront of our national concerns.
Because of them, the White House, Congress and thousands of activists, groups and individuals are seeking a solution that will no longer permit psychopaths to have weapons - and fortunately, one is at hand. There is no reason to wring our hands and suffer draconian nightmares of gun confiscation, Second Amendment repeal or civil war.
Simply read all of the law: 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.
It was in some ways poorly written, as it juxtaposes a militia with the right to keep and bear arms. What it really says is that there should be a well-regulated militia, and that it should further be the basis for keeping and bearing arms. The Founders did not contemplate what was then the complete necessity of our keeping weapons to defend ourselves against marauding Indians, for instance, or to kill food for a family's table. Those were, indeed, sacrosanct.
As we no longer should fear marauders of any kind, nor frequently use weapons to kill our supper, the personal ownership of guns can only be justified by three things: one's membership in a militia, the nature of crime in America and the pleasure of hunting.
There is no reason to panic about your closet full of automatic rifles and pistols, grenade launchers and flamethrowers, nor your crates and crates of tank-killing ammunition. No reason, that is, unless you are not a member of a "well-regulated militia."
Americans have seen militias grow out of control and become anti-governmental, destabilizing forces in many nations and on most continents; the easiest to think about are the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Irish Republican Army of Northern Ireland, which are on the verge of going after one another's throats again after 300 years of fighting. What Northern Ireland, and Britain, needs is a well-regulated militia; ones that have no ideiological ends. Militias that kill their fellow citizens for ideological, economic or religious reasons are obviously not well-regulated, and they are inimical of a free state.
What would a well-regulated militia look like in America?
Moreover, under this plan, ownership of military-style assault weapons could not occur except within the context of a national militia. A person would have the right to keep and bear arms because he or she is a member of a militia, or a hunter, or one who needs self-defense, and he or she would have to abide by the established military's rules and regulations concerning arms.
The clear intent of the Second Amendment is undermined by its grammatical architecture. The requirement that one be a member of a militia to keep and bear arms is implied but not stated, nor is any mechanism for the creation of a national militia spelled out. That is true of all the Bill of Rights Amemdments and we revere them just the same.
How will this impact gun owners now? First, all current gun buyers woud have to declare their enforceable intention to either join a militia, or be limited to the purchase of single-shot rifles and pistols, appropriate amounts of ammunition and other weapons suitable for hunting and self-defense.
Over time, those already possessing substantial arsenals unsuitable for those pursuits but useful for warfare would be encouraged to keep their weapons if they will play a significant role in the militia. Finally, those without weapons and in need of them for self-defense would be well-armed and well-trained.
Under this proposal, it would certainly be foolhardy for a government to become so tyrannical that it risked the wrath of a militia made up of ordinary men and women, and invasion of the United States by foreign armies would become both unswise and implausible.
The issue that comes to mind in this context is the recent health care debate that has angered and inspired so many Americans. If Congress had passed the Affordable Health Care Act, and found that the militia steadfastly opposed it, would the conflict spill out into bloodshed in the steets?
Not if those who formed the militia have created a "well-regulated" one. The militia is not there to vote on the wisdom of Congress or the laws passed in the normal conduct of its business, but to preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States against enemies domestic and foreign; i.e., not against individuals or ideas that become the hated targets of talk radio.
Much as the US Army provides for insubordination among the enlisted corps, the militia would have a code of internal conduct that prohibits participation in armed resistance to the laws and acts of Congress. Of course, that might be tested, for instance, by a law that again makes some men and women slaves and some free. By common agreement, such a law ought to be resisted by the militia.
We need not contemplate the seizure or limitation of weapons while the potential for a well-regulated militia exists, as it certainly does now. Instead, we ought to begin now to form one, with the full cooperation of the government, and to elect or install its leaders and adopt its codes. Then let the militia sort out the psychopaths and would-be mass murderers of this world.
Joe Shea is based in Bradenton, Fla., where he edits The American Reporter. He is not a gun owner, but was a BB-gun hunter as as a child on his family's farm.