Militias and the Second Amendment

This is factually incorrect. The National Guard is the organized militia of all 50 states and the unorganized militia is made up of able-bodied males within an age range that I don’t remember offhand.

Additionally, the Second Amendment does not restrict the right to keep and bear arms to militia service. The independent clause of the sentence restricts the federal government’s ability to infringe on the right to keep and bear arms.

The reason why the Second Amendment has been reduced in scope is because the Supreme Court refused to deal with it for the 20th Century, which tradition it has recently resumed.



To be clear, I’m not making the argument that the 2nd amendment only applies to militias. I’d love to see individuals able to purchase Abram tanks and the 1930s limitations on fully auto rifles repealed. My point is that we don’t have a current functional militia because there’s no local organization of them. What if your county had its own militia and when you were in high school you spent 1 weekend a month training firearm, mortar, or other skills with them for 2 years? There would also be some ability to call gather the militia in some manner for some task. The national guard is voluntary and at a higher level. I’m thinking of mandatory service like Israel or Korea, but at a local level. In Switzerland, you perform your mandatory service and then take your battle rifle home, having been well trained.

It used to be that fathers trained their kids in the use of rifles and the town would keep the cannons. Same thing could apply today, the county keeps the tanks.

This is all under the rubric of “a well armed populace is a good thing”, just like in general it is good for a man to have a job, in general it is good for a populace to be armed.


For reference here’s an interesting article from Wikipedia about the National Guard Bureau. The nationalization of the state militias began in 1903, according to the article.

In general, I agree with you that the way English-speaking countries have let their tradition of citizen-soldiering die on the vine is a terrible thing. There’s no reason that the vast majority of high school graduates couldn’t have the basic knowledge acquired in Basic Training by the time they graduate from high school, if with somewhat less discipline and rigor along the way. There is an army of retired/mustered out NCOs who could lead such things part-time, much in the way thing like sports coaching are done.

IMHO, this would be a far better use of our Defense budget than shoveling it to the Beltway Bandits on ephemeral shiny toys.

There are many latent structures in our laws that could provide for this, it just remains for some men to take advantage of them. My own state approved an increase in the upper age limit of the unorganized militia a few years back. The practical implications of this are nil at the moment, but like I said, the laws are still there.

There was a movement building in Virginia to start forming militias under the authority of county sheriffs. This was in the wake of the big gun control push there. I suspect that it may have gotten lost in the Covid shuffle, but it doesn’t appear that the Virginia Democrats’ appetite for gun control has been blunted any, so that movement may resume momentum at some point.


I believe this is the federal code you were thinking of.


The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b)The classes of the militia are—


the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and


the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.


This one is also very interesting and related, notice no mention of hunting rifles…

The President may detail officers and noncommissioned officers of the Army National Guard to duty as instructors at rifle ranges for the training of civilians in the use of military arms.