Is a well regulated milita necessary to the security of a free state?

Sort of a tangent to the 2nd amendment debate going on in the pit.

Is everyone in agreement that a well regulated, private militia is still necessary to the security of a free state? Are there any examples of such militias securing a free state since, say, the 18th century? Any examples of secure, free states without private citizen militias? I have held in the past that even if militias ARE necessary, they’ve missed opportunities to demonstrate their worth (Waco, Ruby Ridge). Why did no gun owners organize and come to the Branch Davidians’ rescue? They had plenty of time, plenty of strong opinions, but no one did anything.

And if private militias ARE necessary, do those that feel that the 2nd amendment doesn’t guarantee private gun ownership think we need a constitutional amendment added that DOES?

Interesting how you snuck in the word “private”.

No, a well regulated “private” militia in NOT necessary to the security of a free state.

I see where this thread is going…

A well regulated malita means that there will not be any private malita’s. There is absolutely no reason for private malitas scattered all over the place. Then we would have the war lord B.S. that affects other parts of the world.

I’ve argued extensively in another thread that this “militia” has missed every opportunity in which it should supposedly have acted to preserve a “free-state.” Look at slavery, the Alien and Sedition acts, the Palmer raids, the house of Unamerican activities, etc.

Since it was the State taking action against Randy Weaver and the Branch Davidians, what you’re in reality saying is, “A well ordered private militia is necessary to the success of an armed rebellion”.

In this I concur. However, I don’t WANT an armed rebellion.

“House Committee on Unamerican Activities,” I believe you mean.

I am aware of no modern examples that indicates a “private militia” in any way contributes to the preservation of democracy and basic human rights. If there are any such examples, I would love to hear of them.

One more thing. The most effective “private militia” I know is the Guardian Angels in New York. I suppose they might fit your criteria, and they have (or had at one time at least) the support of the city. By their own policy, they patrol unarmed.

Similarly, Neighborhood Watch programs have proven highly effective in many areas. They call the police, they don’t pull out weapons.

Minty: I’m on your side. Remember, we debated along side in a previous thread about this. My point was that the militia did not do a damn thing in these instances. The point you’re making is exactly what I’m saying, sorry if I was unclear.

Oh sure, one little Pit thread and now everyone’s afraid to disagree with me. :smiley:

FTR, Qwerty, there was no misunderstanding, and I know we’re on the same side. I really am curious whether anybody can provide evidence that a “private militia” (which, in practice, seems to mean essentially unrestricted private gun ownership) has done anything at all to secure a free state in the last century or so.

Well, there were a number of partisan groups in WWII, that were, at the start, village-based, with or without support of local officials. However, they had almost no impact until they became organized under military orders from Allied commands. Notably the French Resistance and both Russian and Yugoslav Partisans.

Hijack/ Anybody know about gun laws in France? Or for that matter, the rest of Western Europe? Was there any push after the war among the citizens to keep their weapons, since their own governments’ militaries had failed them so miserably? I never heard of it if there was, /hijack

The Civil War. While the millitias weren’t all that well trained or successful combat units, especially at the beginning of the war, they did provide a “stop-gap” measure, protecting the capital while the regular army got organized.

The thing is that the countries that allow generous civil rights, such as the right to bear arms, are not the ones that generally have the sort of tyranny that requires a militia, while those that desparately need a militia often have had all basis for a militia destroyed by their autocratic governments.

Of course people aren’t going to go and start a revolution while there are still other options - Zwaldd’s examples of Waco and Ruby Ridge prove the point, as action against the perpetrators of Waco and Ruby Ridge are being taken even as we speak. It’s just that such action is being taken through legal means, using the FOIA, lawsuits, and pressure on officials, and I would note that no similar incidents have happened after those two. And as for the Alien and Sedition acts, can someone tell me what happened when they actually went to court? Seems like the same phenomenon, that people don’t want to risk their lives in a revolt when there are far less risky and far less disruptive methods of resolving a given problem. I’m not really sure what Zwaldd thinks that ‘the worth’ of the militia is supposed to be; I don’t think you’d have much of a ‘free state’ if the response to every problem was to start shooting people.

I’m not quite clear on how one would go about proving that a militia (I’m not going to play the ‘private militias’ game) ‘has secured’ a free state; one of the major benefits of an armed populus is that the government (or any other group) will avoid taking the sort of acts that would result in the people rising against them. Since I (and most other pro-gun and/or gunowner types) would argue that an open revolt is the last resort, that should only be resorted to after other means (especially such easy means as lawsuits, campaigning, and education) have failed, I can’t agree to the implied assumption in your question that no one

It’s pretty clear that a disarmed populus is neccesary to implementing tyranny - is it mere coincidence that one of the first steps any government takes before moving into a police state is to implement firm gun control measures? Aggressors and tyrants always prefer a helpless victim, and take whatever steps they can to insure it. Since it’s quite obvious that disarming the people (or ‘disbanding the militia’ if you want to put it that way) is neccesary before tyranny can really talk hold, I’d say you really need a better reason than ‘well, it might not work against a tyrant’ for gun-control laws.

One need only look to the sorts of people at the head of the gun control movement to see these worrying signs. Commonly, they don’t really believe in ‘no guns for anyone’ but ‘guns for me and not for you’. That, to me, says a lot about their real motivations. The obvious desire to set up a ‘special class’ of citizens for themselves, combined with their general support for more and more laws (not just gun-related) that don’t apply to them are a frightening combination.

Some examples: Koffi Annan (Secretary General of the UN, I probably mispelled his name) retains personal bodyguards armed with submachine guns and recently ran into some trouble since they’re not legal for non-LEO, non-Military people in NYC. One of Ted Kennedy’s bodyguards was caught with an illegal machine gun a few years ago, and Kennedy pulled strings to keep him from getting charged. Now, both of these people have both said and pushed for laws/treaties banning private ownership of guns, especially machine guns, yet Kennedy’s bodyguards are not police or military and Annan’s certainly aren’t as they work for the UN, which isn’t a government. (While HCI did decry Annan for having illegal machine guns, I’d note that they didn’t actually say that his guards shouldn’t have SMGs despite their alleged postion that no one but military and police should have them). Then there are a whole host of US politicians who oppose any kind of shall-issue concealed carry permit for ordinary folks, but have CCPs themselves, as well as celebrities who wax rhapsodic on gun-control but surround themselves with armed bodyguards.

yojimboguy - While the French Resistance did very little until after D-Day, and the Russian Partisans were state supplied for most of the war, I’m not aware that the Yugoslav partisans were ever organized under military orders from anyone else - do you have a cite for that?

In France and other occupied Western European countries, gun registries were quite handy for the Nazis. They provided a convenient, organized list of who had guns and what guns, and allowed the Nazis to quickly start ‘watch lists’ and, of course, to confiscate privately owned weapons under threat of death.

I’m not really informed about gun laws. But roughly :

1)You need a permit to own a firearm (except the .22, I believe). You must apply to the police and provide a legitimate motive (sport, hunt or defence). The police always conduct an enquiry (or at least is supposed to do so) in particular about your criminal record. It’s not much of an issue for sport/hunt weapons, but I really don’t know if these permits are easily issued or not for defence purpose. The permit is valid for 5 years.

2)There’s no “right” to own a firearm. Permits can be withdrawn at any moment. Police isn’t in any way obliged to issue a permit. They can refuse to do so for no reason at all.

3)All weapons must be registered. I don’t know what are the laws concerning buying/selling firearms. It seems to me a gunsmith must be involved in some way even when a private citizen wants to sell a weapon to another private citizen, but I’m not sure.

4)Owning an automatic weapon is forbidden (since I know quite nothing about firearms, perhaps the word “automatic weapon” isn’t accurate…there’s no way you could own an AK47, for instance, except if you’re a collector and the weapon has been “neutralized”).

5)Having a weapon on yourself or in your car outside your home or property is forbidden (except for hunt weapons during hunt season). If you transport a weapon, it must be for a legitimate purpose (you’re going to the shooting-stand, for instance), the weapon must be dismounted and the ammunitions kept apart. The only exceptions are people under a particular danger of being attacked (security in banks, public figures who have been threatened, etc…).

6)There are harsh sentences for buying a firearm without permit, owning an unregistered weapon or carrying a weapon on yourself. Up to a five year jail sentence in the latter case. Even harsher if you commited a crime while carrying a weapon (even if you didn’t actually use it to threaten the victim). It seems to me to be an efficient detterrent since you usually risk much more for having a gun than for actually committing the assault/theft/whatever. It’s not worth it. Actually, I wouldn’t expect a burglar or assaulter to have a firearm. I’ve been once assaulted by a guy who threatened me with a supposed gun which he supposedly had in his pocket. I plainly didn’t believe him. And it wasn’t really a bold reaction. It didn’t seem credible to me. At worst, it was probably one of these “alarm pistol” which fire tear gas or some fake weapon. I’m giving this example to point out that expectations are different when weapons are uncommon.
Though many people certainly kept some weapons after WWII, there has been no large move to resist the surrendering of firearms after 1945 I’m aware of. Anyway, actual war weapons were in the hands of organized resistance groups, who were for a large part enlisted in the army after France’s liberation and until the end of the war. Their leaders weren’t independant from the french authorities. So, the french government just told them “well, now, it’s time to disarm your guys”, and they did. It’s not like everybody had a submachine gun cancealed in his barn. Though my brother once found a WWII weapon cache in a ruined building (and, with his teenager friends, made funny things with them until the police heard hearsays, but that’s another story).
As for the original question, I don’t buy the argument about private ownership of firearms allowing citizens to fight against an oppressive government. First, it seems to me that they would be at least as likely to be used to attempt to overthrow a legitimate governement, during a riot or for some misleaded cause. Also, I believe they would as likely to be used by some kind of “people’s militia” “citizen’s patriotic militia”, and other para-military groups actually supporting the said oppressive governement. There are many instances of such things.

Not to denigrate la Resistance or anything, but I have a number of objections to their use as an example of securing a free state through means of a pribate militia armed via the private ownership of firearms. The first, and most obvious, is that the French Resistance neither prevented the conquest of France nor kciked them out after the invasion was complete. Oh sure, they were somewhere between a petty annoyance and a thorn in the Nazis’ side, especially once it became pretty clear that Germany was going to lose the war anyway. But the most that can be said about them is that they increased the cost of the occupation for the Germans, who merrily went about deporting the French Jews, suspending civil liberties, and generally doing whatever the hell they wanted. Nice job securing that free state, guys.

Second, most of the Resistance’s most valuable contributions to the defeat of Germany had absolutely nothing to do with the use of firearms. I’m thinking primarily in terms of sabotage and intelligence gathering. Shoot, one of the best things they ever did was (if I’m remembering the details correctly) to sabotage the wheels of the trains that were supposed to carry German tanks to Normandy, delaying their arrival by a week or more. My impression is that armed encounters with the Germans were quite rare.

Third, the Resistance armed and supplied to a great degree by the Allies. To that extent, they were acting as an extension of the remaining Allied forces, which stretches the notion of Farmer Jacques with his deer rifle fighting the Nazi hordes past point of credibility.

Finally, I just have to say that I’m not very impressed by the argument that a government will avoid taking the sort of acts that would result in the people rising against them in an armed revolt. It seems to me that strong democratic institutions are far more important to preserving democracy and civil liberties than the “backup plan” of a hundred million armed citizens who are probably more likely to support the bad actors anyway. Does anybody seriously think the U.S. government has ever rejected a policy or program on the ground that people with guns might get pissed and start shooting?

You are assuming that your average gun owner agreed with the Branch Davidians. Owning a gun, and standing up for the right to keep and bear arms, does not automatically turn one into a supporter of militant doomsday cults.

I wasn’t trying to be sneaky. I wanted to make sure people understood that, for the purposes of this thread, the militia in question is made up of private citizens as opposed to a government controlled military organization.

No, I’m saying that, based on a lack of support by our nation’s gun owners in those situations, militias have been ineffective toward the success of armed rebellions. Anyway, wasn’t the ATF and FBI called in against those groups? Those are Federal agencies.

Our government does that all the time. They did it in Waco, they did it in LA (Rodney King), they even did it at Kent State. Our armed populace has never taken up arms to prevent perceived government tyrrany. Qwertyasdfg gave some further examples of militias not rising to their potential, and there are many free countries that don’t have an explicit right to bear arms.

There were more than enough gun owners who felt that the Federal Government had stepped WAY beyond it’s legal rights at Waco that, if a militia was capable of putting down corruption, they could have organized and fought back. Despite our 250 year old right to bear arms to secure freedom, no one (besides the Davidians themselves) bore a single arm. I’m sure plenty of gun owners went hunting and target shooting while the Feds moved in on the compound. So much for effective militias.

No. But things have never gotten that bad. If things changed so that our leaders declared themselves “in power for life” or if a segment of our population were being exterminated by govt. decree, then you might see it happen. It’s just not there yet.

I think the right to bear arms is valuable in a “Warsaw ghetto” sort of situation. That’s REALLY a defense of last resort. Why would you want the oppressed to fight back in a situation like that, even though they have no hope of winning (as would be the case if the U.S. military brought its might to bear against civilians)? Because the people carrying out the atrocities are still human beings, and if you make them pay dearly enough, enough of those individuals might stop and change their minds about the orders they’re following.

I think the problem we’re facing with Amendment no.2 is that we don’t really know what the founding fathers intended. We saw how a well-regulated militia helped the colonies. But that took place in a time when there WAS no standing army (as we have now). You needed individuals to own their own guns, b/c the govt. didn’t have the resources to do so itself. Personally, I think that the FFs would be a little horrified at the sheer size of our standing army, and the threat that it could pose to US citizens in the hands of a despot.

I think we know exactly what the FFs intended. They wanted civilians armed and ready for action to keep their fledgling country from being overrun. What we don’t know is if they ever expected that there’d come a time when a civilian militia was no longer necessary or effective.