Click Here First to Listen to Brent Allan Winter's Lecture
on the Miltia. Past, Present, and Future.
The militia arose from the posse comitatus and when properly formed is in fact the people themselves and includes all men capable of bearing arms. The posse comitatus was generally understood to constitute the law enforcement of the "County." When order was threatened, the “sheriff,” would raise the "hue and cry," and all citizens who heard it were bound to render assistance in apprehending a criminal or maintaining law and order. As per 10 U.S. Code §246, the Militia’s composition and classes consist of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States constitute the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.
We are educating Americans on lawfully and peacefully organizing militias in all 3,133 U.S. Counties as per 10 United States Code §246 under the auspices of the Sheriff. Every able-bodied person should join. Each County militia will organize under uniform established rules, regulations, and resolutions. Each County Militia will be free and independent under the County Sheriff. We will have regular national meetings to assist the members of every county to organize, educate and properly form lawfully. All militia members are encouraged to enroll in our (1) “Government by Consent Course.”(2) FREE "Militia of the Several States Course" and (3) "Civics Course." You can enroll in these courses under the "Courses Tab."
Existing militias are encouraged to join and assist in this national effort.
CONTACT National Militia Cordinator: Chuck@NationalMilitiaAlliance.org
- National Meetings schedule
- Uniform Rules, Regulations and Resolutions
NECESSARY TO THE SECURITY OF A FREE STATE
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. - Amendment II
The Founding generation mistrusted standing armies. Many Americans believed, on the basis of English history and their colonial experience, that central governments are prone to use armies to oppress the people. One way to reduce that danger would be to permit the government to raise armies (consisting of full-time paid troops) only when needed to fight foreign adversaries. For other purposes, such as responding to sudden invasions or similar emergencies, the government might be restricted to using a militia, consisting of ordinary civilians who supply their own weapons and receive a bit of part-time, unpaid military training.
Thus, the choice was between a variety of militias controlled by the individual states, which would likely be too weak and divided to protect the nation, and a unified militia under federal control, which almost by definition could not be expected to prevent federal tyranny. This conundrum could not be solved, and the Convention did not purport to solve it. Instead, the Convention presumed that a militia would exist, but it gave Congress almost unfettered authority to regulate that militia, just as it gave the new federal government almost unfettered authority over the army and navy.
This massive shift of power from the states to the federal government generated one of the chief objections to the proposed Constitution. Anti-Federalists argued that federal control over the militia would take away from the states their principal means of defense against federal oppression and usurpation, and that European history demonstrated how serious the danger was. James Madison, for one, responded that such fears of federal oppression were overblown, in part because the new federal government was structured differently from European governments. But he also pointed out a decisive difference between America and Europe: the American people were armed and would therefore be almost impossible to subdue through military force, even if one assumed that the federal government would try to use an army to do so. In The Federalist No. 46, he wrote:
“Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes.”
Implicit in the debate between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists were two shared assumptions: first, that the proposed new constitution gave the federal government almost total legal authority over the army and the militia; and second, that the federal government should not have any authority at all to disarm the People. The disagreement between Federalists and Anti-Federalists was only over the narrower question of how effective an armed population could be in protecting liberty.
The Second Amendment left that disagreement unresolved, and it therefore did not satisfy the Anti-Federalist desire to preserve the military superiority of the states over the federal government. But that inadequacy also prevented the Second Amendment from generating any opposition. Attempting to satisfy the Anti-Federalists' desire would have been hugely controversial, and it would have entailed amending the original Constitution. Nobody suggested that the Second Amendment could have any such effect, but neither did anyone suggest that the federal government needed or rightfully possessed the power to disarm American citizens.
As a political gesture to the Anti-Federalists, a gesture highlighted by the Second Amendment's prefatory reference to the value of a well-regulated militia, express recognition of the right to arms was something of a concession. But the provision was easily accepted because everyone agreed that the federal government should not have the power to infringe the right of the people to keep and bear arms, any more than it should have the power to abridge the freedom of speech or prohibit the free exercise of religion.
A great deal has changed since the Second Amendment was adopted. The traditional militia fairly quickly fell into desuetude, and the state-based militia organizations were eventually incorporated into the federal military structure. For its part, the federal military establishment has become enormously powerful in comparison with eighteenth-century armies, and Americans have largely lost their fear that the federal government will use its power to oppress them politically. And whereas eighteenth-century people routinely kept at home the very same weapons that they would need if called to war, and so today the militia needs to be equipped with weapons equal to today’s modern soldiers.
WE CAN HAVE NO SECURITY WITHOUT THE 2ND AMENDMENT
The Congress shall have Power 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.... - Article I Section 8 Clause 16
The militia, long a staple of republican thought, loomed large in the deliberations of the Framers, many of whom were troubled by the prospect of a standing army in times of peace. For the Founders, a militia, composed of a "people numerous and armed," was the ultimate guardian of liberty. It was a means to enable People not only to protect themselves against their fellows but also, particularly for the Anti-Federalists, to protect themselves from an oppressive government. "The militia is our ultimate safety," said Patrick Henry during the Virginia ratifying convention. "We can have no security without it. The great object is that every man be armed.... Everyone who is able may have a gun." Both the Pennsylvania and Vermont constitutions asserted that "the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the state...."
The Anti-Federalists feared that Congress would permit the militia to atrophy, leaving the states defenseless against the central government. In the Virginia ratifying convention, George Mason, while advocating a stronger central control over the militia, nevertheless argued that there was a danger that Congress could render the militia useless "by disarming them. Under various pretenses, Congress may neglect to provide for arming and disciplining the militia; and the state governments cannot do it, for Congress has an exclusive right to arm them." The desire to prevent enfeebling state militias, which provided a check to a standing army, prompted the ratifying conventions to call for an amendment guaranteeing the right of citizens to bear arms. The First Congress responded, but the Second Amendment did not remove national control over armed forces or the state militias.
Federalists recognized that without a militia, there would be no United States military establishment. They believed, however, that they could minimize the weaknesses of the militia by creating a select militia corps in each state and establishing federal control over officership and training. The ultimate Federalist goal was to turn the militia into a national reserve of uniform, interchangeable units. In 1792, Congress passed the Uniform Militia Act, which remained the basic militia law of the United States until the twentieth century. This act established an "obligated" militia, based on universal military service. All able-bodied men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five were required to enroll. But the act fell far short of Federalist goals. It did not create select state corps and, most importantly, did not impose penalties on the states or individuals for noncompliance. For the most part, the states ignored the provisions of the act. The abysmal performance of the militia during the War of 1812 ensured the demise of the obligated reserve as established by the Founding generation.
The Congress shall have Power To ...provide for calling forth the Militia
to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.... - Article I, Section 8, Clause 15
For the Founders, the militia arose from the posse comitatus, constituting the people as a whole and embodying the Anglo-American idea that the People are the best enforcer of the law. "A militia when properly formed," wrote Richard Henry Lee in his letters from the Federal Farmer, "are in fact the people themselves...and include all men capable of bearing arms." From its origins in Britain, the posse comitatus (meaning to be able to be an attendant) was generally understood to constitute the constabulary of the "shire." When order was threatened, the "shire-reeve," or sheriff, would raise the "hue and cry," and all citizens who heard it were bound to render assistance in apprehending a criminal or maintaining order. The Framers transferred the power of calling out the militia from local authorities to the Congress.
The Anti-Federalists were not pleased. They wanted the militia to remain under state control as a check on the national government. Many feared that an institution intended for local defense could be dispatched far from home.
In the "Calling Forth Act of 1792,” Congress exercised its powers under the Militia Clause and delegated to the President the authority to call out the militia and issue it orders when invasion appeared imminent or to suppress insurrections. While the act gave the President a relatively free hand in case of invasion, it constrained his authority in the case of insurrections by requiring that a federal judge certify that the civil authority and the posse comitatus were powerless to meet the emergency. The President had also to order the insurgents to disband before he could mobilize the militia. This was the procedure that President George Washington followed during the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794.
In 1795, Congress refined the language authorizing the President to federalize the militia:
[W]henever the United States shall be invaded, or be in imminent danger of invasion from any foreign nation or Indian tribe, it shall be lawful for the president to call forth such number of the militia of the state, or states most convenient to the place of danger, or scene of action, as he may judge necessary to repel such invasion, and to issue his orders for that purpose to such officer or officers of the militia, as he shall think proper.
But even such clear language was insufficient to prevent a challenge to presidential authority during the War of 1812. At the outset of the conflict, President James Madison ordered the governors of Connecticut and Massachusetts to provide militia detachments for the defense of the maritime frontiers of the United States. These governors, however, were Federalists who opposed the war. They claimed that they, not the President, had the authority to determine whether an emergency existed. Governor Caleb Strong of Massachusetts requested an opinion of his state's Supreme Judicial Court, which concluded that this right was "vested in the commanders-in-chief of the militia of the several states." Op. of Justices 8 Mass. 548 (1812)
The issue was finally resolved by the Supreme Court in 1827 in Martin v. Mott. Although the case explicitly concerned the validity of a court-martial of a militiaman, the decision rendered by Justice Joseph Story validated the claim that the President had the exclusive right to judge whether there was an emergency sufficient for calling forth the militia. State governors, however, retain concurrent authority to call out their respective militias to handle civil and military emergencies. - Houston v. Moore (1820).
ORGANIZED AND UNORGANIZED MILITIA
10 U.S. Code § 246: Militia: composition and classes: (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard. (b) The classes of the militia are— (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.
The obligated militia was succeeded by the "uniformed" militia, local volunteer units generally equipped and supported by their own members. In addition, the states continued to provide volunteer citizen-soldiers when the regular U.S. Army had to be expanded, as was the case during the Mexican War and the Civil War. After the Civil War, the uniformed militia reemerged as the National Guard, but, unhappy with their largely domestic constabulary role, guardsmen lobbied for the mission of a national reserve. In the Militia Act of 1903 (the Dick Act), amended and expanded in 1908, Congress divided the eligible male population into an "organized militia" (the National Guard of the several states) and a "reserve," or "unorganized," militia.
In response to an opinion by the Attorney General that the Militia Clause and the Dick Act prohibited the employment of guardsmen outside of United States borders, Congress included in the National Security Act of 1916 (amended in 1920 and 1933) provisions that explicitly "federalized" the National Guard. This act, as amended, has continued to govern federal-state military relations. By giving the United States Army extensive control of National Guard officers and units, and by making state forces available for duty overseas, the National Security Act of 1916 essentially stripped the states of all of their militia powers. It effectively repealed the power of the states to appoint officers by limiting such appointments to those who "shall have successfully passed such tests as to...physical, moral and professional fitness as the President shall prescribe." The law stated that the army of the United States now included both the regular army and "the National Guard while in the service of the United States." In Cox v. Wood (1918), the Supreme Court validated the action of Congress, holding that the plenary power to raise armies was "not qualified or restricted by the provisions of the Militia Clause."
The World War I draft completely preempted state sovereignty regarding the militia by drafting individual guardsmen directly into the United States Army. In The Selective Draft Law Cases (1918), the Court held that the states held sway over the militia only "to the extent that such actual control was not taken away by the exercise by Congress of its power to raise armies."
The transition of the National Guard into a national reserve reached its completion during the Cold War. Despite the existence of a large regular army, Guard units were included in most war plans. But with federal funding, which covered about ninety-five percent of the costs, came federal control. While governors continued to call up the Guard to quell domestic disturbances and to aid in disaster relief, they discovered that their control was trumped by federal demands. For instance, in protest against United States actions in Central America during the 1980s, several governors attempted to prevent units from their states from deploying to Honduras and El Salvador for training. In response, Congress passed a law "prohibiting a governor from withholding consent to a unit of the National Guard's being ordered to active duty outside the United States on the ground that the governor objects to the location, purpose, type, or schedule of that duty." In such cases as Perpich v. Department of Defense (1990), the Court supported Congress's position.
With the end of the Cold War, the National Guard's role as a national reserve was called into question. As a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, some observers believed that the Guard could return to a domestic constabulary role. On the other hand, extensive military commitments abroad have required the Guard to remain an active element in the United States armed forces.
The President shall be Commander in Chief...of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.... Article II, Section 2, Clause 1
The Framers of the Constitution crafted a complex network of provisions dealing with the militia. They believed that there should be a national army, but that resources and politics dictated that the militia would provide the bulk of the forces needed to defend the country. Although they were sensitive to the fear of a standing army and the political concerns of the states, there was one principle on which they agreed: when the states' militias were needed to defend the country, the President, and not the governors, would be in charge. The phrasing of the President's power changed over the months in Philadelphia, but the exclusivity of the President's power was never questioned. The most significant change came from Roger Sherman, who moved the addition "and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the US." This assured that the President could not take the militia away from the states except when properly called forth by Congress under Article I Section 8 Clause 15.
In 1792, Congress passed the Uniform Militia Act, also known as the "calling forth" act, permitting the President to call out the militia to put down insurrections or rebellions. This power was initially limited to those events that could not be handled by judicial proceedings or by marshals in the exercise of their duties. The act also required a district judge to certify that circumstances were beyond the control of lawful authority and required the President to alert the insurrectionists to end their activities before the militia could be called out. In the meantime, the government launched three major campaigns against the Indians in the Ohio Territory in 1790, 1791, and 1794. In each case, federal forces were supplemented by large numbers of militia volunteers. But it was the Whiskey Rebellion in the summer of 1794 that impelled George Washington to issue the first formal call for the militia to put down the threatened insurrection. Washington took personal command of the force of 12,950 militiamen from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland. No President since Washington has taken personal control of the militia when called into the active service of the federal government.
In 1795, Congress passed another militia act, aimed at giving the President the power to call out the state forces in the event of insurrection. This law did away with the certification requirements (but retained the requirement of alerting the insurrectionists to disperse) of the 1792 law and granted the President the authority to call forth the militia when the nation was invaded, in imminent danger of invasion, or when faced with "combinations" against the nation. The key provision of that law was "That whenever it may be necessary, in the judgment of the President, to use the military force hereby directed to be called forth...."
During the War of 1812, when President James Madison called up the militias, the New England states, opposed to the war and threatening secession, objected to the President's powers. In response to a request by the governor of Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts issued an advisory opinion declaring that the governors or commanders in chief of the several states had the exclusive right to determine whether exigent circumstances existed for the militia to be called out. This decision effectively recognized a veto power of the governor over the use of their respective states' militias. It also stood the Constitution's enumerated powers on its head. Article I, Section 8, Clause 15, and Article II, Section 2, Clause 1, of the Constitution specifically granted to the Congress and the President, respectively, the power to call out and command the militia when needed in active service to the United States.
In response to the argument for state control of the militia, Secretary of State James Monroe argued that when the militia is called into the actual service of the United States, all state authority over that militia ends. The militia assumes a position within the regular standing army and is paid by the federal government. Its members become, effectively, United States soldiers. They are subject to the same control as regular army personnel, including command by regular army officers.
In 1827 the U.S. Supreme Court supported the Monroe position. In Martin v. Mott, Justice Joseph Story stated, "We are all of opinion, that the authority to decide whether the exigency has arisen, belongs exclusively to the President, and that his decision is conclusive upon all other persons." To cement further the right of the President to determine when to call forth the militia, Justice Roger B. Taney declared in Luther v. Borden (1849) that not only is a decision by a President to call out the militia in response to an exigency not subject to state executive approval, but the decision is not subject to judicial review either.
Gubernatorial resistance to the President's call for the militia reemerged during the Civil War. On April 15, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 militia for three-month terms. The governors of Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, and North Carolina (the last three states eventually seceded) refused, although volunteer units from all those states ultimately fought for the Union. As the war progressed, the bulk of the army came from requisitions from the states and the draft. The militias, relatively small and often not well trained, were marginal.
After the Civil War, the militia fell into desuetude (except for a brief and unsuccessful attempt to constitute a militia, based mostly on the freedmen in the reconstructed South) until it began a slow transition into the National Guard. The National Defense Act of 1916 made the National Guard a component of the regular army. During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson drafted members of the National Guard into the regular army.
In 1957, resisting a federal court order, Governor Orville Faubus ordered portions of the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the entrance of black students into Little Rock High School. In the first use of the Guard to maintain internal order since the Civil War, President Dwight Eisenhower placed the entire Arkansas National Guard under presidential control and ordered the Guard to obey the President and not the governor. The Arkansas National Guard complied.
In the 1980s, governors again resisted a presidential call for the militia (National Guard). Some of them objected to the deployment of their states' National Guard troops to Central America. Led by Minnesota governor Rudy Perpich, these governors withheld their consent to federally ordered National Guard active duty training, as was their prerogative under then current federal law. In response, Congress enacted the Montgomery Amendment, which prohibited governors from withholding consent for National Guard active duty service outside the United States. Perpich filed suit against the Department of Defense, arguing that the Montgomery Amendment was unconstitutional because it infringed on the militia training authority granted to the states under Article I, Section 8, Clause 16. Perpich also sought to enjoin the use of Minnesota National Guard troops in any training outside the United States that did not have the governor's consent. Ultimately, the Supreme Court upheld the supremacy of presidential control over the operations of the militia when called into actual service of the United States. Like James Monroe and Justice Joseph Story, the Court held that a state governor could not veto the use of a state militia when called upon by the nation in accordance with Congress's constitutional power and the President's constitutional authority. Recent Presidents have made more use of the National Guard as a reserve, calling units up for long periods of duty abroad, in actions in the two Gulf Wars, Bosnia, and Afghanistan.
photo from imfdb.org
The first version of the M4 carbine
with a four-position collapsible stock
The M4 is the carbine version of the M16, with a collapsible stock and shorter length (usually a 14-inch barrel), but still chambered for the 5.56.
It's an evolution of the Colt Automatic Rifle-15 Military Weapons System, better known as the CAR-15, which was made by Colt in the late 1960s and early 1970s and was used by some units in Vietnam. Afterward, it was issued as the Colt Commando for applications that required more mobility and compactness, but better range and a harder-hitting round than the pistol-caliber MP5 submachine gun or the aging M3 "Grease Gun".
The M4 carbine was developed from a variety of shortened M16A1-style carbines. The XM4 (Colt Model 727) started its military trials in the mid-1980s with a 14.5-inch barrel. It was officially adopted in 1994 as a replacement for the M3 submachine gun as well as for the Beretta M9 pistol and the M16A2 for some troops.
It has since seen extensive use in the Afghanistan and Iraq theaters, where it's compact size and versatility has proven advantageous in the often confined, building-to-building fighting U.S. troops most often engage in. The smaller M4 is also easier for vehicle-mounted troops to handle.
Currently, the Marine Corps and U.S. Army are both in the process of phasing out the M16 and bringing in the M4 as their standard service weapon.
The M4 has three-round-burst and semi-auto firing modes, while the M4A1 carbine has a fully automatic firing mode instead of the burst. Both have a full Picatinny top rail for mounting optics and accessories.
U.S. soldier with an M4 carbine. photo from imfdb.org