Exactly what does it mean for a militia to be "well regulated"?

Pedro de San Patricio

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I've been trying to figure this out for months now. Does the "well regulated" specification refer to having military supplies, an organized chain of command with government control, or something else? Does the militia just refer to the old colonial militia system, their state defense force successors, all of the inactive components of the armed forces together, the unorganized militia the Selective Service draws from, or another group or combination of groups?
 

RetiredGySgt

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Well regulated means different things at different times. It is unimportant to the 2nd Amendment as we have an organized federal militia ( the National Guard) and an unorganized militia ( all males age 17 to 46). And this has been true since at least the early 1900's.

Further the bit about the militia was not a ruling statement on the 2nd it simply provide one reason for its exsistance.
 

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I've been trying to figure this out for months now. Does the "well regulated" specification refer to having military supplies, an organized chain of command with government control, or something else? Does the militia just refer to the old colonial militia system, their state defense force successors, all of the inactive components of the armed forces together, the unorganized militia the Selective Service draws from, or another group or combination of groups?

Good choice of topic, and well written. Bravo.
 

Statistikhengst

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Well regulated means different things at different times. It is unimportant to the 2nd Amendment as we have an organized federal militia ( the National Guard) and an unorganized militia ( all males age 17 to 46). And this has been true since at least the early 1900's.

Further the bit about the militia was not a ruling statement on the 2nd it simply provide one reason for its exsistance.

Let's look at the exact text as was ratified by the states at that time:

"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."

Now, whether "militia" is a ruling statement or not is probably a matter of interpretation.

And "well regulated" also is open to interpretation, because nothing in history happens in a vaccuum, meaning, the needs of the day were to be able to assemble an army as quickly as possible were the Brits maybe to return, and return they did, in 1812. So, although we can stretch the 2nd to simply mean private gun use, it seems pretty apparent to me that the original intention was to allow citizens at that time access to a flintlock just in case the fledgling homeland would have to be protected.
 

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It was designed to ensure the Citizenry had access to and possession of MILITARY firearms.
 

Delta4Embassy

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I've been trying to figure this out for months now. Does the "well regulated" specification refer to having military supplies, an organized chain of command with government control, or something else? Does the militia just refer to the old colonial militia system, their state defense force successors, all of the inactive components of the armed forces together, the unorganized militia the Selective Service draws from, or another group or combination of groups?
Always assumed as in official with full force of law. Not as formal though as National Guards or military reserves. More like a hunting license which stipulates "if the shit hits the fan, you swear to show up to where ever with your weapon."
 

Dante

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Further the bit about the militia was not a ruling statement on the 2nd it simply provide one reason for its exsistance.
not true. It is in the sentence that is the amendment: "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." -- a complex sentence

You have taken opinion, an ideological argument as a factual truth: John Roberts on Gun Control

You totally ignore:
The Stevens dissent rests on four main points of disagreement:
  1. that the Founders would have made the individual right aspect of the Second Amendment express if that was what was intended
  2. that the "militia" preamble demands the conclusion that the Second Amendment touches on state militia service only
 

Dante

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Well regulated means different things at different times. It is unimportant to the 2nd Amendment as we have an organized federal militia ( the National Guard) and an unorganized militia ( all males age 17 to 46). And this has been true since at least the early 1900's.

Further the bit about the militia was not a ruling statement on the 2nd it simply provide one reason for its exsistance.

Let's look at the exact text as was ratified by the states at that time:

"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."

Now, whether "militia" is a ruling statement or not is probably a matter of interpretation.

And "well regulated" also is open to interpretation, because nothing in history happens in a vaccuum, meaning, the needs of the day were to be able to assemble an army as quickly as possible were the Brits maybe to return, and return they did, in 1812. So, although we can stretch the 2nd to simply mean private gun use, it seems pretty apparent to me that the original intention was to allow citizens at that time access to a flintlock just in case the fledgling homeland would have to be protected.
you too ignore:
Stevens dissent rests on four main points of disagreement:
  1. that the Founders would have made the individual right aspect of the Second Amendment express if that was what was intended
  2. that the "militia" preamble demands the conclusion that the Second Amendment touches on state militia service only
you take opinion as factual truth: John Roberts on Gun Control
 

Dante

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but "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" is a powerful statement in a time when citizens did not rely and depend on the types of law enforcement we have in modern societies. You may even call the old view antiquated.

If the right was to protect oneself because of how society functioned back ages ago -- and the well regulated militia is now taken to mean different things as the retired sgt says, we should be able to say there is no need of this right anymore. as a society we should be able to change the US Constitution :

Stevens: "His solution is to amend the text of the Second Amendment so that it reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms when serving in the militia shall not be infringed.”" -- Former Justice Stevens Change 2nd Amendment to Improve Constitution - Breitbart
 

Abatis

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Does the "well regulated" specification refer to having military supplies, an organized chain of command with government control, or something else?
The term "well regulated" as used to describe militia or regular armed forces is a description of their character as a fighting force and is a recognition of a high standard of readiness and excellence in the military arts. It should be used synonymously with, "properly functioning and in operational order and condition".

The term is an accolade, an honor awarded to a corps deemed to have acquired "the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia" (see Federalist 29).

The use of "well regulated" in the 2nd Amendment has NOTHING to do with "regulations" being written and imposed upon the militia. Congress has the power to write regulations for the organized by Art I, §8, cl. 16 militia and the entire authority for Congressional power to write law pertaining to the militia is defined there. The 2nd Amendment has never been examined or held to inform upon any aspect of militia organization or control.

Regulations instituting the organizational and command structure, training regimen and rules of deployment create the framework of operation of the militia but they can not be said to make the militia "well regulated". As another way of looking at it, Congress could write a thousand reams of regulations for the militia and it would not make the militia actually be "well regulated"; only their performance in the military arts and their readiness for battle can allow them to be deemed, "well regulated".

Interestingly, in describing the condition of troops / militia, "well regulated" has an antonym that has been used for centuries and has not undergone the leftist / collectivist redefining of the last 70 or so years . . .

That antonym means -- in substandard order and condition / unfit for battle . . .

That term is, "ill regulated".

I think that makes perfect sense.
 

Abatis

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Let's look at the exact text as was ratified by the states at that time:

"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."

Now, whether "militia" is a ruling statement or not is probably a matter of interpretation.

And "well regulated" also is open to interpretation, because nothing in history happens in a vaccuum, meaning, the needs of the day were to be able to assemble an army as quickly as possible were the Brits maybe to return, and return they did, in 1812. So, although we can stretch the 2nd to simply mean private gun use, it seems pretty apparent to me that the original intention was to allow citizens at that time access to a flintlock just in case the fledgling homeland would have to be protected.
The terms used in the 2nd Amendment including the use of the term "well regulated" has no impact on the right being secured by the 2nd Amendment.

The right to arms is a pre-existing right and is not being created, granted, given or otherwise established by the 2nd Amendmnt.

That constitutional truth means that the right to arms is not in any manner dependent upon the Constitution for its existence nor is its exercise or protection dependent upon, conditioned or qualified by something created by the Constitution . . . Specifically for this example, the organized by Art I, §8 militia.
 

Abatis

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The Stevens dissent rests on four main points of disagreement:
  1. that the Founders would have made the individual right aspect of the Second Amendment express if that was what was intended
  2. that the "militia" preamble demands the conclusion that the Second Amendment touches on state militia service only
Stevens forced himself to dismiss / ignore SCOTUS precedent to arrive at his "conditioned individual right" theory.

SCOTUS has been boringly consistent holding that the right to arms is not granted by the 2nd Amendment thus it is not in any manner dependent upon the Constitution for its existence.

Stevens states in the opening of his dissent:


"The question presented by this case is not whether the Second Amendment protects a “collective right” or an “individual right.” Surely it protects a right that can be enforced by individuals. But a conclusion that the Second Amendment protects an individual right does not tell us anything about the scope of that right."​

The equivocation in Stevens statement is despicable and unworthy of a Supreme Court Justice. He stipulates that the right protected by the 2nd Amendment is an individual right but then he immediately dismisses the fundamental concept of conferred, limited powers and pre-existing, retained rights, "a conclusion that the Second Amendment protects an individual right does not tell us anything about the scope of that right."

He then begins to examine "[t]he text of the Amendment" to discover the "scope" of the right - in direct opposition to the Court's holding in Presser that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms 'is not a right granted by the constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence."

So, by the 2nd paragraph we can just dismiss Justice Stevens' dissent as a pathetic misconstruction at odds with the fundamental principles of this nation and Supreme Court precedent.
 

Abatis

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Stevens: "His solution is to amend the text of the Second Amendment so that it reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms when serving in the militia shall not be infringed.”" -- Former Justice Stevens Change 2nd Amendment to Improve Constitution - Breitbart
Further proof that Stevens' opinion is completely divorced from foundational constitutional principles.

The right to arms is not created, granted, given or established by the 2nd Amendment. Editing out the --offensive to him-- words would not impact the right to arms anymore than editing Newton's Law would modify gravity.
 

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"the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed"

End of discussion
 

Delta4Embassy

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"As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, then-Secretary of State:[30]

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."

My plain-text reading of this is the amendment's intent was to ensure states could resist a tyrannical federal government.

Since all laws or constitutional rights giving the people a right to keep and bear arms is so that the government can't arrest them for doing so (criminals will do whatever they want regardless of laws so it's not for them,) giving your citizens the right to own weapons had to have been about ensuring they and their states remain free for any unjust government that came to be. Of course, back when it was written (1791) everyone's armaments were pretty much equal. Now of course the government has technology and weapons civilians do not making the citizens being armed or not moot. So the original intent has gone the way of the dodo.

A "well-regulated militia" would have been a state's national guard like entity, not a federal government's regular military. And presumedly in the worst case scenario, this state military would be going up against the federal military if a tyrannical government came to be.

Unfortunately, now the state government is indistinguishable from the federal government insofar as there being any appreciable difference between them becomming tyrannical.
 

RetiredGySgt

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but "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" is a powerful statement in a time when citizens did not rely and depend on the types of law enforcement we have in modern societies. You may even call the old view antiquated.

If the right was to protect oneself because of how society functioned back ages ago -- and the well regulated militia is now taken to mean different things as the retired sgt says, we should be able to say there is no need of this right anymore. as a society we should be able to change the US Constitution :

Stevens: "His solution is to amend the text of the Second Amendment so that it reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms when serving in the militia shall not be infringed.”" -- Former Justice Stevens Change 2nd Amendment to Improve Constitution - Breitbart
You CAN change the Constitution. That is what the Amendment process is for. If you believe the 2nd is no longer a good amendment then create a new amendment get it through Congress and then get 37 States to agree. We keep telling you to do tha, you keep making shit up about how you wish it would change.
 

jon_berzerk

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I've been trying to figure this out for months now. Does the "well regulated" specification refer to having military supplies, an organized chain of command with government control, or something else? Does the militia just refer to the old colonial militia system, their state defense force successors, all of the inactive components of the armed forces together, the unorganized militia the Selective Service draws from, or another group or combination of groups?

well regulated means fine working order

aim small miss small
 

Abatis

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"the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed"

End of discussion
If you depend upon those words (or any words) to secure your rights you have already surrendered them.

Words can be twisted and invented against and misconstructed to invent powers where none were conferred. The present debate over "well regulated" is a perfect example.

Rights do not exist because of what the Constitution says, recognizing them and supposedly promising to protect them . . . Rights exist because of what the body of the Constitution doesn't say; they exist because of the silence of the Constitution granting government a power over that interest.

The right to arms exists and government can not infringe upon it because no power was ever granted to the federal government to allow it to have any opinion over the personal arms of the private citizen.
 

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