Argument: The individual right to form an independent militia has been eliminated in America

Issue Report: Right to bear arms in the US

Supporting quotes

The 1965 decision relative to the definition of militia arises in Maryland v. United States, 381 U.S. 41 (1965). In this case, an airliner collided with a National Guard jet, and a need for a definition of National Guard arose. In this ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court wrote, “The National Guard is the modern Militia reserved to the States by Art. I. 8, cl. 15, 16, of the Constitution.”[1]

On December 3, 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt called for a reform of the militia system, declaring to Congress that, “our militia law is obsolete and worthless. The organization and armament of the National Guard…should be made identical with those provided for the regular forces. The obligations and duties of the Guard in time of war should be carefully defined, and a system established by law under which the method of procedure of raising volunteer forces should be prescribed in advance. It is utterly impossible in the excitement and haste of impending war to do this satisfactorily if the arrangements have not been made long beforehand.” In response, Congress passed the Militia Act of 1903, which, despite its name, essentially did away with the type of militia that had been common at the time of the Revolution. Modern warfare needed trained men with modern weaponry, and the law provided for these in a regular army as well as the National Guard, founded in 1903. Although the Guard is the descendant in many ways of the old unorganized militia, it is a far more disciplined and trained entity, since their program is now held to high standards set by the regular army. The members get their weapons from the national government and do not own them individually. With this definition of a state-run militia in place, it is impossible that citizens would have an individual right to bear arms in order to form an independent militia; no such independent militia is allowable in modern America.