J. Neil Schulman’s Stopping Power — Reserve Militia Training and Regulation Act: a Proposal
Stopping Power — Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Reserve Militia Training and Regulation Act: a Proposal
Constitution of the United States of America
Article I, Sect. 8:
The Congress shall have Power
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
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.
The purpose of this proposal is to draft “The Reserve Militia Training and Regulation Act,” and get it enough support from both reasonable gun-control advocates and gun-rights advocates to get it in front of Congress.
This is not a discussion of the National Guard. At this point, the National Guard serves a defined function as a military organization that can be called out by the individual states in event of statewide emergency, and as a reserve military force which the president can call up, even for fighting overseas. Whatever the merits of this treatment of the National Guard, it is not militia as the term was originally conceived by the authors of the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment regards the militia as the people themselves, able-bodied and armed for defense against dangers to the civic safety and liberty from enemies both foreign and domestic. The original constitution, before amendment, has a militia clause which grants Congress the power “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States, respectively, the appointment of the Officers, and the authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.” The Constitution also provides that, “The President shall be Commander in Chief of … the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States … ”
A bill for training and regulation of the militia is, therefore, not only constitutional, but constitutionally mandated.
The “militia” as defined by U.S. Code is every able bodied male between 17 and 45 who is a citizen of the United States or has declared an intention to become one, as well as female members of the National Guard and former members of the regular armed forces under age 64. U.S. Code further goes on to divide the militia into two classes – the organized militia which consists of the National Guard and Naval Militia, and the reserve or unorganized militia which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia (10 USC, 311 b).
In Presser v. Illinois (1886), the Supreme Court stated “It is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States as well as of the States, and, in view of this prerogative of the general government, as well as of its general powers, the states cannot, even laying the Constitutional provision in question out of view, prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms … ”
U.S. v Miller (1939) recognized that the “militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense” and that when called to service these men are expected to appear “bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.”
In the last month, as I write this, we have seen on television news reports of massacres of innocent people by deranged, armed individuals. George Hennard, in Killeen, Texas, killed 23 and wounded 19 on October 16th, in a lunchtime cafeteria, using a couple of 9 millimeter semi-auto pistols. Dr. Gang Lu, a Chinese post-graduate student at the University of Iowa’s physics department, killed five and wounded one with a .38 revolver, on November 1st. Thomas McIlvane, a fired postal worker, killed four and wounded eight others with a sawed-off .22 rifle, on November 14th, in Royal Oak, Michigan.
All three gunmen made themselves their final victims, shooting themselves, fatally, as their last act. Retributive justice can have no deterrence on individuals who intend to kill themselves after committing murder. And police, even with excellent response times, can’t be everywhere at once.
According to the FBI, the United States is experiencing three such massacres – defined as one gunman and four or more fatalities – every month.
Combine this with the rates for street crime – drive-by shootings, gang-related shootings, muggings, “wildings,” rapes, purse-snatchings, etc. – and we have a society where the streets are a literal war-zone.
Advocates of gun-control believe crime can be stemmed by the passage and enforcement of laws restricting ownership, possession, and carrying firearms. Their thesis looks attractive in the abstract; but when you consider the over 200 million firearms that already exist in this country, no one can make a reasonable case that gun-restriction affects other than the extremely law-abiding – the least likely class to pose a threat to public safety.
However, the media is almost universally in favor of gun control, regardless of its practicality. It is obvious that any political change in this situation in the direction of increasing the ability of the public to defend itself, must come under the heading of “regulation.”
Which is precisely what the militia is supposed to be: well-regulated. Armed, trained, and ready at all times to defend the country from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
If three massacres a month isn’t a reason enough to make better use of the militia, then what is?
The purpose of “The Reserve Militia Training and Regulation Act” is to provide training on demand for any sane, adult, able-bodied American who is not a criminal, in the use of firearms, with the mandate that once trained, such people can be expected to maintain weapons at home, keep themselves able to use them safely and effectively, and be expected to carry arms, for the defense not only of themselves, but in defense of their loved ones, neighbors, and co-workers.
The reserve militia is not to be maintained as a standing army or “select” militia; it is not to be called up, as the National Guard is, for service, military or otherwise.
The militia must be civilian, not military or paramilitary, and its methods and functioning should be as narrowly focused to the purposes of individual defense as humanly possible.
The militia should be governed by civilian laws, rather than the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
No uniforms, no dress or hair codes. No militaristic trappings, such as saluting, marching, dress parades, etc.
No discrimination, whether based on gender, sexual preference, age (beyond excluding juveniles), and the usual race, creed, religion, national origin, color, etc.
“Able-bodied” should be defined as broadly as possible. If a paraplegic wishes to participate, and is capable of wielding an effective weapon, it should be permitted. Likewise, obesity shouldn’t be a factor, so long as it doesn’t interfere with the ability to utilize weapons properly. Likewise, if you’re 75 and still have good eyes and a steady hand.
Militia training should be designed to be as unobtrusive to civilian life as possible. No “boot camps.” No rigorous physical training. No requirements to leave home for training; training schedules should be evenings and weekends, and allow for flexible schedules as much as possible.
No use of militia for propaganda, even in the “best” of causes. No pamphleteering, picketing, or marching while armed. No organization of private or political paramilitary units by militia. No vigilantism.
Everything above is designed to distinguish the militia from military and police organizations, which presumably can continue functioning as usual.
Here is a preliminary overview of what the Reserve Militia Training and Regulation Act might accomplish:
1) United States Code Title 10 Section 311 would be amended to redefine militia from its current definition to that of any able-bodied person 17 or older, not a convicted felon (unless pardoned) or a person who has been found not guilty of a felony by reason of insanity (unless legally declared restored to sanity), who is a citizen of the United States, or has declared intent to become a citizen of the United States. Able-bodied would be defined so as not to exclude paraplegics capable of using weapons, or those who are otherwise physically imperfect, so long as the imperfections do not make it impossible to train in or use weapons.
2) A provision would be inserted forbidding involuntary call-ups of reserve militia for military service.
3)a) United States Code Title 32 Section 109 would require every State to provide training and qualification in firearms to any member of the reserve militia upon request. Standards of qualification would be comparable to that of NRA qualification, and training programs would continue to be under the jurisdiction of the Director of Civilian Marksmanship.
b) Once qualified with a weapon, a member of the reserve militia would be immune from all local, state, and federal laws which restrict or delay purchase of that weapon, purchase of ammunition for that weapon, and ownership of that weapon and, except for fully automatic weapons, bearing of that weapon in a condition loaded and ready for use, in all places, public and private, except that courts and legislative bodies may set restrictions for trials and legislative sessions. Militia members who have qualified with fully-automatic weapons would in addition be immune from laws against transporting them, unloaded, for purposes of training, practice, repair, display, or during purchase or sale.
4) Provision would be made for making available weapons and ammunition, and providing places for regular marksmanship practice, to militia members who could not otherwise afford to do so. Provision would also be made for the storing of ammunition, reserved specifically for the defense of the United States, in private homes.
5) This legislation would in no way act as a restriction upon the keeping and bearing of arms by those who do not participate in militia training. It would merely have the affirmative effect of enabling the keeping and bearing of arms to those who are currently restricted from doing so by local, state, and federal legislation.
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