2nd Amendment Q & A
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.
- Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Click on the questions of interest below to jump to the answers.
Q: Isn't the militia the National Guard?
A: No, according to U.S. Law and the Supreme Court.
- At the beginning of this century, the militia was defined according
to 10 USC Sec. 311 as:
- "(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied
males at least 17 year of age and, except as provided in section 313
of title 32 [32 USC sec. 313], 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
commissioned officers of the National Guard."
- More recently, the Supreme Court ruled on the matter, which of course
takes precedence, in US vs. Miller(1939):
- "The signification attributed to the term Militia appear from the
debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies
and States, and the writings of approved commentators [Justice Story's
commentary is cited later]. These show plainly enough that the Militia
comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the
Q: Isn't the right to keep and bear arms a
collective/state's right, not an individual one?
A: No, it has the same status as the rights guaranteed by the
See US vs. Verdugo-Urquidez (supreme Court), 110 S.Ct.
1056, 1061 (1990):
"[T]he 'people' protected by the Fourth
Amendment, and by the First and
Second Amendments, and to whom
rights and powers are reserved in the
Ninth and Tenth Amendments,
refers to a class of persons who are part of the national community
or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this
country to be considered part of that community."
Q: Does the Second
Amendment give me the right to own a nuclear bomb?
A: No, that's a strawman argument. US vs. Miller (supreme Court) (1939)
tells us what arms are meant in the
"These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically
capable of acting in concert for the common defense...
And further, that ordinarily when called for service these men were
expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of a kind
in common use at the time."
(Note: emphasis is mine)