Second Amendment referred to militia

In order to understand the Second Amendment one must have an understanding of how it evolved from the Articles of Confederation and the goal of having a small government without a federal military Articles of Confederation in Article 6 Reads:“Every state shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores … a proper quantity of arms, ammunition, and camp equipage.”

There was opposition by many of having to store their weapons for use in the militia in a public store instead at their homes. This is the primary reason to “keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” was added in Amendment 2. But they also kept a “well regulated militia” after removing “well disciplined.”

The first draft on June 8, 1789 by James Madison read, “The right of people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.”

It begs the question why would it be there, if the amendment applied to nonmilitia individuals?

The first change to James Madison’s first draft was to change free “country” to free “State.” Because the South feared it would not apply to slave patrols, which were the militia that controlled the slaves. The Slave patrols existed as a militia from 1703 to 1865.

A proposal to insert the words “for the common defense” after the words “bear arms” was defeated. It was defeated by southern senators because it could be interpreted that “for the common defense” would not apply to the slave patrols.

The conscientious objector clause was removed because it was believed too many would use to avoid bearing arms in the well regulated militia, especially for the slave patrols.

The National Defense Act makes it very clear the Second Amendment was created for the well regulated militia: “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of fortyfive years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia, by the Captain or Commanding Officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside.

“That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of power and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powerhorn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a power of power; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack. That the commissioned Officers shall severally be armed with a sword or hanger, and espontoon; and that from and after five years from the passing of this Act, all muskets from arming the militia as is herein required, shall be of bores sufficient for balls of the eighteenth part of a pound; and every citizen so enrolled, and providing himself with the arms, ammunition and accoutrements, required as aforesaid, shall hold the same exempted from all suits, distresses, executions or sales, for debt or for the payment of taxes.”

The act remained on the books until 1903, when the Dick Act replaced it.




Support the Lake County Democratic Party and local candidates. Your support is vital and will help us Get Out The Vote, support volunteer efforts, and help support Democratic candidates across our county.


Help make a difference! Volunteers are the life blood of the Lake Democrats. We have many volunteer opportunities that can fit your schedual and skill set.

Sign Up For Events

Use Mobilize America to sign up for local events and volunteer opportunities. Join us in making a difference today!