Why is the militia clause there at all?

Eugene Volokh continues the legal obfuscation for gun rights.

The question that I've never found an answer to:

If the Second Amendment's right to bear arms has nothing to do with a well-regulated militia, why is the militia clause there at all?

They could have simply written, "The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

Like they did in…hmmm…is there any example we can think of? Oh, yeah, like in the First Amendment.

They didn't.






3 responses to “Why is the militia clause there at all?”

  1. Steve Avatar

    In 1787, when the constitution was written, the militia were made up of the people, who were called to duty when necessary, just like our current national guard. But in those days, the individuals owned the weapons, not the government. Small point, but you have to take that into consideration.
    It’s important to put things in historical context.

  2. R.E. Finch Avatar

    From my understanding of it, and what has always satisfied me on the matter of the militia clause, is that the definition of “militia” at the time encompassed all able bodied men capable of being called to the defense of or disaster assistance for a settlement, township or city. If we use that definition of it, and not the wacko lunatic fringe version, it remains a conservatively prudent practice for people to have firearms for self defense in the event of an attack or in the period after a disaster such as a hurricane or tornado. That a citizenry with a lot of guns does provide some hedge against tyranny is just an added happy benefit of fighting to keep the Amendment.

  3. Steve Roth Avatar

    All points well-taken. But my key point re an individual right to bear arms: if that’s what they intended, the framers could have simply said, “The right to bear arms shall not be infringed.”
    Re: tyranny. Light arms wouldn’t mean much if the US military was being used to impose same.
    And only a truly lunatic fringe would argue for the individual right to bear RPGs and mortars.