Two hundred and twenty-seven years ago this month, the U.S. Congress passed the Militia Acts of 1792. This pair of bills authorized the president to lead the state militias in war and to conscript all able-bodied free men to fight with self-provided arms and munitions.
To a modern American living in the midst of an empire with a permanent military presence both here and abroad, there might be little reason to acknowledge this anniversary. However, it offers an example of how the founders believed military defense and war should be handled, and why so many modern arguments against civilian gun ownership don’t match the history.
The first Militia Act was passed on May 2, followed shortly thereafter by the second Act on May 8. The first act gave the president the power to call up the militia “whenever the United States shall be invaded, or be in imminent danger of invasion from any foreign nation or Indian tribe.” The second Act called on every “free able-bodied white male citizen” between the ages of 18-45 to join a militia.
Why are these laws relevant today?
We live in a time when Americans are told by self-appointed “wise overlords” that the founders never intended for private citizens to have military weapons. Incidentally, they never cite anyplace that the founders made this assertion, nor where they declared their love for intervening in other countries’ domestic affairs, endless unconstitutional wars, and a permanent military with bases in foreign nations for that matter. This argument is used to justify gun control policies that restrict our right to keep and bear arms as described in the Second Amendment.
The reality is that many in the founding generation were terrified of a permanent, standing army that could crush liberties at home. This fear was a major theme during the Virginia Ratifying Convention in 1788. In fact, the convention’s proposed Second Amendment text makes it clear why it was so important that the proposed central government had no say in the possession of firearms by Americans (bold emphasis added):
That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
The convention’s “Second Amendment” draft also provides another glimpse into their worldview. The country’s defense was to come from the people, not an army held to a different legal standard. There was no separation between soldier and civilian. At the convention, George Mason referred to the militia as “the whole of the people.” In every colony besides Pennsylvania, able-bodied men not only had to join a militia and show up to musters, but they had to furnish their own functioning arms.
The Militia Acts show that this tradition carried on through Colonial America into its history as an independent country apart from Great Britain and under the newly-approved U.S. Constitution.
Under the Militia Acts, the militia members had to bring the following:
A good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear so armed, accoutered and provided.
The militiamen were to be armed with their own weapons, not ones provided and owned by the federal government.
Now some might argue the U.S. government lacked the financial resources it does today, but that’s why it’s important to look at the broader context of the law. The founders did not want a standing army, and there were no calls for these men to surrender their personal firearms once a military crisis had been addressed.
Ultimately, free men must be the ones responsible for defending their liberties and their country if that freedom is to last. The founders believed that, and it’s why they favored a militia-style military composed self-equipped men, which would reduce the risk of a standing army that would take that responsibility away. If free men are not responsible, then they are not really in charge – and thus they are not truly free.
A constitutionalist or someone sympathetic to anti-federalist concerns might take issue with the law and how it was used to call up the militia during the Whiskey Rebellion. However, the Militia Acts offer reveal the blueprint for how the founders believed wars should be fought, and why they made it clear the central government should have no right to infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms.
On this date in 1945.
Today, April 19 1775, 244 years ago, the Battles of Lexington and Concord (The Shot Heard ‘Round The World) kicked off the American Revolutionary War (1775-83). Tensions had been building for many years between residents of the 13 American colonies and the British authorities, particularly in Massachusetts. Troops of the British Army began a mission to confiscate arms and powder from units of the Massachusetts Militia, ran into a hornet’s nest and finally set off a powderkeg .
At dawn on April 19, some 700 British troops arrived in Lexington and came upon 77 militiamen gathered on the town green. A British major yelled, “Throw down your arms! Ye villains, ye rebels.” The heavily outnumbered militiamen had just been ordered by their commander to disperse when a shot rang out. To this day, no one knows which side fired first. Several British volleys were subsequently unleashed before order could be restored. When the smoke cleared, eight militiamen lay dead and nine were wounded, while only one Redcoat was injured.
The British then continued into Concord to search for arms, not realizing that the vast majority had already been relocated. They decided to burn what little they found, and the fire got slightly out of control. Hundreds of militiamen occupying the high ground outside of Concord incorrectly thought the whole town would be torched. The militiamen hustled to Concord’s North Bridge, which was being defended by a contingent of British soldiers. The British fired first but fell back when the colonists returned the volley. This was the “shot heard ‘round the world” later immortalized by poet Ralph Waldo Emerson
An acquaintance had a thought in passing;
“One can make the argument that the American Revolution did not start at Lexington and Concord. It began at a place called Meriam’s Corner where the British troops had to make a turn on their retreat to Boston. That is where the local militias of all the surrounding villages, which had not been attacked, arrived to help their neighbors who had been attacked and fought the Brits all the way back to Boston and there besieged them.”
Quickly before the midnight hour bell tolls.
April 18, 1919: 100 years ago today, Fentress Co. native and WWI Hero, Sergeant Alvin C. York, received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Army’s 82nd Division. York destroyed German machine gun nests and captured 4 German officers and 128 soldiers occupying France.
Also Two lanterns were shown in the bell tower of Old North Church in Boston MA.
‘One of by land. Two if by sea’
And off the newly emerging nation went with “The Ride of Paul Revere” as he and others called out the local ‘Minuteman’ militia to confront the British Army on their mission to confiscate militia arms and gun powder. Government “gun control” at its most blatant
Today April 12 in 1861 forces of the Confederate States of America fired on the Federal installation at Charleston South Carolina; Fort Sumter
The bloodiest four years in American history begin when Confederate shore batteries under General P.G.T. Beauregard open fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay. During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.”
And away we went to the war between the states, often called the war of Northern Aggression, or the first U.S. Civil War.
No matter the viewpoint, the aftereffects of that war still influence politics to this day.
While his candidacy is something to keep and eye on, if he’s the nominee, I think the ’20 election will be something pretty close to the ’72 election.
Another Democratic Party leader has hopped on the anti-gun hysteria after the Christchurch Mosque massacres. This time, it’s Bernie Sanders who joined the calls for more gun control.
On March 21, 2019, Sanders celebrated New Zealand’s leaders decision to ban “military-style” rifles and semi-automatic guns in the wake of the massacre that claimed the lives of 50 people.
Sanders tweeted, “This is what real action to stop gun violence looks like.”
The Vermont senator believes America should follow in New Zealand’s footsteps: “We must follow New Zealand’s lead, take on the NRA and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons in the United States.”…….
Bernie Sanders may not be a tyrant in the making, but successive leaders could easily advantage of the gun control apparatus to their favor. History has shown this to be the case in several instances. Weimar Germany was one of the most notable examples when the Weimar Republic passed gun registration under the justification that it would quell violence between Nazis and Communists on the streets.
Little did the politicians in charge of the Weimar Republic know that their gun control schemes would later be used by the succeeding government to strip Jews of their firearms and subject them to one of the largest genocides in human history.
Even present-day Venezuela, one of the most visceral failures of socialism in recent memory, fell victim to a similar dynamic.
Previous social-democratic governments had implemented strict gun control, which Hugo Chavez not only took advantage of once he got into power, but expanded upon to disarm and subjugate the Venezuelan population. When the wrong political players are in power, today’s “common-sense” gun control legislation could be tomorrow’s stepping stone for gun confiscation.
Modern-day politics doesn’t care for unintended consequences nor long-term policy implications of regulations. For that reason, elected officials like Bernie Sanders have such strong followings.
As socialism becomes popular, other facets of human activity such as self-defense and privacy will be under the chopping block. Socialism does not operate under a vacuum and is indeed an all-inclusive package of human control.
As the great economist Ludwig von Mises said best, “Great conflicts of ideas must be solved by straight and frank methods; they cannot be solved by artifices and makeshifts.”
In this case, the forces of liberty cannot afford to back down.
The world’s first democracy was ancient Athens, which allowed around 30,000 free adult male citizens to choose their leaders. They made up less than 15 percent of the population, but it was the most egalitarian political innovation to date.
It didn’t take long for the system to implode amid rampant corruption, an economic downturn, immigration headaches and unpopular foreign wars. (Sound familiar?) The plan of “one man, one vote” devolved into a kind of mob rule, the populace veering with wild swings of opinion. Voters overthrew leaders, exiled the unpopular, and executed generals and politicians – even Socrates himself.
As the saying goes, democracy is four wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. The Founders looked to Athens less as a political model than an object lesson in what not to do.
James Madison said that democracies are “incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
Therefore, America was set up as a republic, filled with countless checks and balances to avoid one group gaining power and using it to punish or exclude everyone they didn’t like.
On this day, 50 years ago in 1969, General Of the Army and former President Dwight Eisenhower died at Walter Reed Army Hospital.
Little known fact is that as the appointment to 5 star, General of the Army rank is a permanent active duty position, and legally a person on active duty is barred from participating in “partisan political activity” by regulation, Eisenhower resigned his commission before entering office. Upon completion of his Presidential term, his commission was reactivated by Congress and Eisenhower again was commissioned a 5 star general in the United States Army.
Today, 16 years ago, U.S. forces invaded Iraq. President Saddam Hussein having rejected letting nuclear inspection teams reenter the country and refusing president Bush’s ultimatum to resign and leave Iraq.
And away we went.
On this day in 44 BC, members of the Senate of Rome decided that they had had enough of Julius Caesar’s power grab. His being declared ‘Dictator For Life’ – basically the first Roman Emperor – and his packing the Senate with his cronies among other things.
So, they decided to take matters into their own hands and kill him.
Personally. The hard way.
We in the West are still dealing with the aftermath of that event which precipitated exactly opposite of what the assassins wanted – to restore the Republic – and began a series of civil wars that ended up with a real Roman empire.
Oh and NotoriousRBG (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) is 86.
And to end today:
On this day on 1876 Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the first discernible speech over a wire system, speaking to his assistant, Thomas Watson.
Bell remembered the words as: “Mr. Watson, come here – I want to see you.”
Watson as: “Mr. Watson come here, I want you.”
No matter the difference, away the horse charged out of the barn and now many have the descendants of wire communication – cell phones – stuck in their pockets.
I wonder what Alex would have thought if he were able to look into the future and see what he was loosing upon the world.
In any case, his invention and the technology it inspired, provided me a living keeping it working and thus provided me the wherewithal to indulge my real interest; guns.
We all remember 9/11/01. Let’s not forget that the terrorists first tried it 26 years ago today when they drove a Ryder van full of explosives into a basement garage and left after lighting the fuzes (the cowards).
That failure prompted Osama Bin Laden to begin a well thought out plan, actually using the talents of a building engineer, to figure out just exactly what it would require to take down the WTC towers.
On this day in 1945, a detail of U.S. Marines of 3rd Platoon, E (Easy) Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division, fighting on Iwo Jima raised a larger replacement flag on the summit of Mt. Suribachi providing Joe Rosenthal an opportunity to photograph an image that became an icon of American military prowess in World War 2.
On this day in 1962, the U.S. finally got off the dime and placed a man in orbit around Earth for the first time. LTC John Glenn USMC – later a no friend of gun owners politician – made the flight into the history books.
One last thing to remember, on this day in 1945, around 30,000 U.S. Marines and Naval and Coast Guard forces invaded the island of Iwo Jima.
Within days that number exceeded 60,000 engaged in combat on that little scrap of rock.
The Japanese had an estimated 21,000-24,000 troops there.
The battle officially ended 6 weeks later.
An interesting note, is that the the Imperial Japanese Army troops actually inflicted a greater number of total casualties on us than we did on them.
Today is the 3rd Monday in February, oftimes called “Presidents Day” but which is the Federal holiday officially called Washington’s Birthday .
GW was actually born on the 22nd, but Uncle’s civilian worker bees and the military like to have nice neat 3 day holiday weekends that can easily be turned into 4 day weekends and Congress changed things in 1968 to accomplish that.
A year ago today a man who should’ve been locked up long before, decided to shoot up his school. Yes, the shooting at Parkland High was today, if you haven’t already turned on the TV or read your morning newspaper and seen it plastered all over.
Just remember, none of what happened there was your fault.
Nikolas Cruz pulled the trigger.
Teacher after teacher failed to call a code red and lock down their room after seeing Cruz with a rifle even before he fired a single shot.
The CowardCop Scot Peterson hid behind a tree.
The CowardCaptain Captain Jan Jordan failed to take control of the scene and blamed the department’s radio system for it.
The other responding CowardCops took the “may attempt to respond” part of the department’s active shooter policy seriously and decided to park 1,000 feet from the school and wait until the danger had passed.
The deputy watching the school surveillance video knew it was on a time delay but didn’t bother to tell anybody that information.
The CowardsOfBroward Sheriff Department prevented other trained first responders from entering the scene or airlifting the critically wounded because they had no idea where Nikolas Cruz was, after their snails pace response allowed Cruz to get away and go for a Coke.
The idiot Sheriff Scott Israel said that he had “amazing leadership” and took no responsibility for this law enforcement debacle, despite it being the second one of its kind on his watch ( the shooting at the Ft Lauderdale Airport)
And still, the media is going to try and blame you for 17 kids that were killed a year ago today.
Your support or membership in the NRA didn’t kill 17 kids.
Your AR-15 didn’t kill 17 kids.
Your belief in the gun rights of law abiding citizens didn’t kill 17 kids.
A -well known to School and Law Enforcement authorities- disturbed, young man with a recorded history of violent behavior killed those 17 kids; aided and abetted by the incompetence of the CowardsOfBroward County Sheriff’s Department and the self-serving, bureaucratic Broward County School Board.
You did nothing wrong.
Today, February 10, the Iranian regime officially celebrates the 40th anniversary of the day it seized power. The fundamentalist and Islamist party of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini surprised the international community and the Iranian people when in 1979, it hijacked a revolution. The successful power-grab sentwaves through global politics.
Although some people were aware of the intentions of the Islamist party, many underestimated the extent of its organizational skills and power. To harness both the trust and the loyalty of the people, Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers initially portrayed themselves as spiritual people who had no desire to rule the country. Many, including several political parties, also believed that, during a transitional period, the ruling mullahs would relinquish any power gained.
On this day in 1943, the last remaining holdouts of the German army fighting in an around Stalingrad since late August 1942, surrendered to the soviets.
Casualties were heavy on both sides; 600,000 Germans & their allies; over 1,100,000 Soviets.
On this day, 2003, The Space Shuttle Columbia was lost as it returned from a two-week mission, STS-107. Damage to the shuttle’s thermal protection system (TPS) led to structural failure of the shuttle’s left wing and the spacecraft ultimately broke apart during reentry at an altitude of under 65 km.
Investigation revealed damage to the reinforced carbon-carbon leading edge wing panel resulted from the impact of a piece of foam insulation that broke away from the external tank during the launch.
The vehicle broke up over the southwestern United States and fell in fragments over eastern Texas and central Louisiana.
Lest we forget the astronauts who lost their lives:
Colonel Rick D. Husband, USAF
Captain David M. Brown, USN
Captain Laurel B. Clark, USN
Commander William C. McCool, USN
Lt Colonel Michael P. Anderson, USAF
Dr. Kalpana Chawla
Colonel Ilan Ramon, IAF
The raid by soldiers of the 6th Ranger Battalion and Alamo Scouts along with over 200 Filipino guerrillas, conducted a surprise attack on the Cabanatuan prison camp.
500 Allied prisoners, many of them survivors of the Bataan Death March were rescued from almost certain murder by their Japanese guards as the invasion of the island of Luzon progressed since October of the previous year.
Couldn’t have said it better.
In most of the world, “Never Forget” was a nice but meaningless thing to say, along the lines of, “Genocide is bad, mmkay?” To the Israeli Defense Force, it means,
“You’ve got to come through us” and they take it with deadly seriousness.
Today in 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger, blew up during launch.
Let us not forget these astronauts who lost their lives:
Francis R. “Dick” Scobee
Michael J. Smith
Judith A. Resnik
Ellison S. Onizuka
Ronald E. McNair
Gregory B. Jarvis
Sharon Christa McAuliffe