Lately, we’ve heard members of congress, some in the media, and left wing bloggers telling us that the ‘militia’ mentioned in the Second Amendment meant everything from the military, the national guard, or a state organized militia, and not individual citizens. If we go to those that were involved in forming the Constitution, what do they say the militia is?
"I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." George Mason, Co-author of the Second Amendment during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …" Richard Henry Lee, writing in Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic, Letter XVIII, May, 1788.
"A Well Regulated militia, composed of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country." (1st Annals of Congress, at 434, June 8th 1789. James Madison.
And how did they approach private ownership of personal weapons?
"… the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms" Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789, Pg. 2, Col. 2, Article on the Bill of Rights
Patrick Henry: "The people have a right to keep and bear arms." (Elliott, Debates at 185)
And what about the question about whether or not the Second Commandment applies to the states:
"And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the Press, or the rights of Conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; …" Samuel Adams, quoted in the Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, August 20, 1789, "Propositions submitted to the Convention of this State"
And what about those who claim the Second Amendment applies only to hunting, which is so ludicrous, it needs not to be discussed. However, let us humor them. What did Thomas Paine think:
"The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside … Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them."
"The great object is that every man be armed." and "Everyone who is able may have a gun." Patrick Henry, American Patriot
A lot more quotes are available for those who want to research more. But, this should give us an idea on what our forefathers determined in the meaning of the Second Amendment. It is clear that citizens make up the militia; that private ownership was intended; and that it was not for hunting only. We need to remain vigilant to make sure we do not give up the rights preserved to us under the Second Amendment.