The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

My own position again. If you have been getting sick of my earlier efforts, don't bother with this one. No new ground.

The Congress shall have Power…

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8.

There are many web pages stating opinions on the Right to Bear Arms. Most open up with the full wording of the Second Amendment leading the page. I thought I'd be a bit different. The Right must be kept in perspective. One should also be aware of the Powers.

The founding fathers wished as much as possible to deal with crime, with insurrection, even with invasion, with an armed populace. The Militia was considered a defense of freedom. A standing army was considered a threat. There were no professional police forces. States were forbidden to raise troops without permission of Congress. If the Congress failed to affirm budget the army at least once every two years, the army would cease to exist.

Congress and the States had the Power to call upon the Militia - the able bodied adult males - to respond to danger. Congress had the Power to specify how the Militia is to be trained. Common Doctrine and Tactics were defined so units from different States could Cooperate. The States had the Power to appoint officers, and to implement the training of the Militia.

The People had a Right to keep and bear Arms. Should crime, insurrection or invasion occur, if the Congress or the States ever invoked their Powers, the People would have the tools at hand to deal with the threat.

The Constitution has not been changed. These Powers and the Right remain.

There is one very basic element that has been forgotten. It is abstract. It is antiquated. It is unwritten. It sounds, perhaps, silly. With Powers, with Rights, come Duties.

Congress has the Duty to specify how the Militia is to be trained. The States have a Duty to appoint Officers, and to implement the training of the Militia. The Militia has a Duty to be prepared, within context of the times, to enforce the Laws, to suppress Insurrection, and to repel Invasion.

The government has not been fulfilling its Duties. As a result, the Militia is no longer a useful tool, an effective element for defending society. However, because the government has not done its Duty, this does not imply the people loose their Rights. This is not the nature of the Social Contract.

Changing the Contract requires approval of the States. This will ultimately depend on the consent of the People.

Meanwhile, those who wish to exercise the Right to keep and bear Arms might consider the costs. The Militia died of parades. Once a year the Militias would muster, march behind a band, and perhaps have a picnic. This was the extent of their Service. Their Obligations were thus considered fulfilled. Professional standing police forces and armies resulted.

Firearms are not Toys. The Right to keep and bear Arms came within a larger context. If the Militia is not prepared to Defend Society, if its members are not ready to spend the time to become effective Keepers of the Peace, the Contract has been voided upon the other side.

Should those who wish to exercise their Right to keep and bear Arms be unwilling to spend the time and effort necessary to fulfill the associated Duties, the Toys, in time, shall be Lost.