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Old 09-10-2019, 10:12 PM
Abatis is offline
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Upper Bucks County, PA.
Posts: 322
Originally Posted by ralfy View Post
Here's what I gathered about 2A:

It had three goals: to support individual ownership of guns (which is based on the natural right to defend oneself), to allow states to form or maintain their own militias (to be used for many tasks, including policing and slave patrols), to allow the government to use the same militias to supplement the standing army (which several wanted to keep small) against various threats (hence, Art. 1 Sec. 8 and the Militia Acts, with the latter calling for mandatory military service for males). At least that's I remember from what framers were debating on as it was being drafted..
The 2ndA has no militia rights or powers flowing from it. The 2ndA has never been inspected or held to inform on any aspect of militia powers. There is no claimable militia right or power for the people, (see Presser v Illinois*) the states and certainly none for the feds to be found or claimed under the 2ndA. As SCOTUS has a said, the 2ndA has but one action, to restrict the powers of the federal government (US v Cruikshank**).

The only words of the Constitution the Court examines to direct its reasoning and understanding of the organized militia is Art I, 8, cl's 15 & 16 and laws enacted under those clause's authority (e.g., The Militia Act of 1792, and state militia regulations).

In Houston v Moore, the Court states unequivocally:
  • "The laws which I have referred to amount to a full execution of the powers conferred upon Congress by the Constitution. They provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasion. They also 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; leaving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training them according to the discipline prescribed by Congress."

The "full execution" of militia powers is only to be found in the body of the Constitution; the 2nd Amendment has nothing to offer and is ignored. There are no latent, undefined powers to be found in the 2nd Amendment that would allow it to be interpreted to authorize or protect militia activity of any kind by anyone.

Which as you say, leaves #1.

* Presser v Illinois:
"The right voluntarily to associate together as a military company or organization, or to drill or parade with arms, without, and independent of, an act of congress or law of the state authorizing the same, is not an attribute of national citizenship. Military organization and military drill and parade under arms are subjects especially under the control of the government of every country. They cannot be claimed as a right independent of law. Under our political system they are subject to the regulation and control of the state and federal governments, acting in due regard to their respective prerogatives and powers. The constitution and laws of the United States will be searched in vain for any support to the view that these rights are privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States independent of some specific legislation on the subject."

** US v Cruikshank:
"The right there specified is that of 'bearing arms for a lawful purpose.' This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed; but this, as has been seen, means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress. This is one of the amendments that has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government, . . . "