Birth of a militia: The colonial connection to gun rights

Birth of a militia: The colonial connection to gun rights

The second of a five-part series explores the 18th century roots of American militias and why their history is intertwined with gun rights. DUNCANSVILLE, Pa. — Both gun rights and militia groups hinge on the Constitution’s Second Amendment: “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.” It’s not surprising, then, that militia groups tie their existence to that sentence. Many focus on the term “militia” that is used in lieu of “army.” “It doesn’t say a well-regulated army,” said Donald Red “Pops” Hustler, Jr., member of the Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia. “Militia are those private citizens who at any given moment, leave their occupations, leave their families, leave the comforts of their home to protect those that they love. That reading depends on a specific definition of “militia,” however. The original meaning of the term is not the same as today’s, constitutional scholars said. “The idea of a well-regulated militia means a well-trained militia. It’s not the same thing as saying that we can impose regulations on the militia, but it does indicate that people just owning weapons and operating vigilante-style is not within the intent of the Second Amendment,” said Michael Dimino, professor of law at Widener Commonwealth Law School in Harrisburg. The Second Amendment was written in 1787, in the wake of the American Revolution. Prior to that, many Americans considered British troops to be an occupying army. Colonial […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.