June 3, 2009 in Letters

Framers meant everyone

The Spokesman-Review

In response to “At ease, militia members” (Letters, May 29), read the original writings of the signers of the Constitution and framers of the Second Amendment. The “militia” in the Second Amendment was understood to be every citizen rather than the “official military.”

As explained by Samuel Adams: The militia is composed of free citizens.

George Mason: Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people.

Richard Henry Lee: The militia shall always … include, according to the past and general usage of the states, all men capable of bearing arms. Militias … are in fact the people themselves and are for the most part employed at home in their private concerns. To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.

The Militia Act of 1792 defined “militia of the United States” not as the Continental Army or any other organized military body, but rather as including almost every adult male in the United States. Current law still states, “The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 and under 45 years of age.”

Also, read your state constitution!

Danielle Weik and John Weik


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