Letter to Editor: A well-regulated militia

John Hanson was a Grundy County lawyer who argued with me over the boundaries and intent of the Second Amendment. John was a strict constitutionalist when it suited him… but cherry-picked his points and often ignored history in making his point.

My argument was the words in the second 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.” At the time, many political people were under the illusion the militias had won the Revolution, not the Continental Army. Many didn’t want an army controlled by someone who could become a king, so they thought if each state had a militia, then the army would not be a threat. (The melting of the militia before the Capitol in the War of 1812 changed that perception.)

Back then, each state could call on men who had trained to march, shoot, stand in line in front of an enemy, and follow orders from their officers. That was what well-regulated means. Today, we call that group of men the National Guard. In Israel, the guard is supposed to take their equipment home and go directly to their muster areas with everything they need to fight. Our guardsmen leave their weapons at the armories.

John’s side won in the Supreme Court on a 5-4 decision based on a letter written by minor character in the Constitutional committee. The letter suggested something different than the precise words written. The government’s attorney did a poor job of defending the Constitution, allowing the mess we are in. What is a limit on arms? Is it a flintlock or a machine gun or a RPG? Can Congress limit the pieces bought over the internet making a semi-automatic an automatic or limit magazine capacity?

Remember the words well-regulated and militia! 

Chuck Johnson

Morris