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George Rebane: The many ways to regulate militias

George Rebane | Other Voices

In his June 10 Other Voices column, “Read it yourself – ‘A well-regulated militia,’’’ Taylor Carey seems focused only on the interpretation of the nation’s left wing anti-gunners. The left has always held that the founders’ intention for the Second Amendment was that members of the local militias were to be unarmed until their government decided to assemble them and issue guns from the local armory. That was and is the only mode of regulation that makes sense to the big government, command/control progressive.

For the left, private possession and ownership of guns is not necessary in a well-regulated and organized collective because the government will fulfill all functions of internal security and external defense, arming trained citizens to augment the standing law enforcement and military only if and when the leadership determines that the need arises.

Being at the mercy of armed criminals or the insane until or if law enforcement arrives is just the price people must pay to live in a civilized society. Your personal safety is the responsibility of the collective, and your home is definitely not your castle.

And perish the thought that either the state or its law enforcement cadres go rogue. In the socialist ideology there is no provision for such an eventuality, no matter the abundant historical evidence to the contrary.

A centralized state under the leadership and administration of educated elites dedicated to the proposition of their interpretation of common good that benefits everyone equitably has no provision for such roguish contingencies. By definition, the state is always fair and just, and as such brooks no challenge to its power to organize and administer society.

Revolt and revolution by an armed populace in the embrace of a “rabidly corrosive cult of individuality” is “inimical” to such governments that deliver and sustain “ordered liberty,” according to Mr. Carey.

However, based on their education and experience, our founders had a markedly different concept of a well-regulated militia. Their concept of a militia was based on the notion of a rapid response force of armed citizens that would serve a spectrum of functions from defending the hearth through opposing a rogue government to repelling invasion by a foreign enemy.

All households with willing and able-bodied men and women would possess firearms that equaled or exceeded the capability of the then-standing military. Our colonists also owned the more deadly rifled long guns decades before they became standard military issue.

With their personal weapons, the citizens would regularly assemble into appropriate tactical units to train. For those not owning a gun, the local government would maintain an armory. And these structured local units would also be organized into higher echelon units when the need arose to field a more substantial force. That is the well-regulated militia provided for by our Constitution.

Today’s National Guard units are “state-based military forces that become part of the reserve components of the U.S. Army and Air Force when activated for federal missions.” They do not replace the citizen-based militias of the Constitution since they make no provision for not infringing on “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

During the Revolutionary War and our western movement, such well-regulated militias served the nation and its far-flung communities countless times.

Foreign nations have never given second thought to invading the United States, for they know that America can instantly field well-armed armies of literally millions of citizen soldiers to counter any force a would-be foreign enemy could marshal. And within our borders, our elected governments have always considered their well-armed constituents when making public policies that border on the rapacious and draconian.

Today we are ideologically polarized with half promoting, half opposing the ongoing fundamental transformation of our nation into a socialist state.

The Second Amendment’s gun rights issues have exposed the two sides and their widely disparate objectives for the future of America.

I hold my lance with the founders who bequeathed us a Constitution that constrains government and allows us citizens the means of violent redress, if necessary, to preserve that legacy.

Those who stand with Mr. Carey have forsaken that legacy and put their faith in the tender mercies dispensed by the all-encompassing state.

George Rebane lives in Nevada City.



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