Aaron Nichols: The 2nd Amendment and the Necessity of a Militia

As a member of the citizen’s militia, I have conducted years of extensive research on the true intent of the Second Amendment.  Let’s take a look some of the hard evidence that our Constitution protects a natural God-given right to bear arms.  We will also examine what some of the Founders said about the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.

United States Code, Title 10, Section 311 defines the militia as “all able bodied males/females between the ages of 17 and 45.”  There are two classes defined in this section: The organized militia and the unorganized militia.

Tench Coxe said “Who are the militia?  Are they not ourselves?  Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom?  Congress shall have no power to disarm the militia.  Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American… the unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the People.”

Thomas Jefferson said “And what country can preserve its liberties.  If its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?  Let them take arms…the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

John F. Kennedy said “Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom.’


“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.” – Amendment II, U.S. Constitution

The Framers of our Constitution relied on the militia, the armed populace, for both national defense and restraint against government usurpation of power.  The greatest fear that many Americans had during the Founding era was that a standing army would enable the federal government to establish and enforce tyranny over the American people.  Thomas Jefferson noted in 1803 that “none but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army.  To keep ours armed and disciplined, is therefore at all times important.”  It was understood that standing armies were dangerous to liberty, and that it is necessary to find an alternative to them.  Jefferson also said “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.  The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 28 “When a government betrays the people by amassing too much power and becoming tyrannical, the people have no choice but to exercise their original right of self-defense to fight the government.”  James Madison, the Father of the Bill of Rights, wrote in Federalist No. 16 “The ultimate authority resides in the people, and that if the federal government got too powerful and overstepped its authority, then the people could develop plans of resistance and resort to arms.”

Although the Constitution does give Congress the power to raise and support a temporary army, the Framers feared a standing army after the Revolutionary War.  The overriding purpose of the Second Amendment guaranteeing the right of the People to keep and bear arms is not for hunting, it is to maintain a check on the standing army.  There is a reason the Framer’s added a limit for military appropriations to two years. Though Congress appropriates funding for the military annually, it is a preventive measure to stop funding should a tyrannical government use the standing army to abuse the people.

A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a Free State meant ultimate power must be in the hands of the people.  The Second Amendment is very specific about this, it is the right of the people, not the states to keep and bear arms.  See Heller v. U.S. (2008.)  Forty-four state constitutions are identically or similarly worded to the federal Constitution’s protection of the right to bear arms, and the majority mention the dangers of standing armies.

The fact is law-abiding, armed citizens pose no threat to other law-abiding citizens. The writings of the Founders show they also believed this. As we have seen, the Framers understood that “well regulated” militias, that is, armed citizens, ready to form militias that would be well trained, self-regulated and disciplined, would pose no threat to their fellow citizens, but would, indeed, help to “ensure domestic Tranquility” and “provide for the common defense.”



Aaron can be reached for further comments via FB Aaron Nichols


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