Copyright © 1994 Constitution Society. Permission is granted
to copy with attribution for noncommercial purposes.
Q: What is the Militia?
A: It was best defined by George Mason, one of the Framers of the
U.S. Constitution, who said, "Who are the Militia? They consist now of the
whole people, except for a few public officers."
Q: If they're the whole people, why do we need a special word like "militia"
to refer to them?
A: The Militia is the people in a certain capacity, as defenders of
the community and enforcers of the law. In that capacity, they are expected to
have and use the tools needed to perform that role: personal weapons, and
Q: Isn't that what we have the military and police for?
A: Yes, we do hire some of us to perform these duties on a
full-time, paid basis. But that does not relieve us of the power or the duty to
perform those duties when the situation calls for it.
Q: Power? Don't the military and police have powers ordinary civilians
A: Yes, the police have special powers to enforce certain
regulations, like traffic regulations, that civilians don't have. And the
military can engage in combat operations on foreign soil representing the United
States. But all citizens have general powers to repel invasions, suppress
insurrections, and enforce the laws, the three duties of the Militia, just like
the military and police. They just don't do it on a full-time, paid basis.
Q: Come on. If I tried to go out and enforce some law, wouldn't I be
subject to arrest for something? Like impersonating an officer, or maybe
A: Not if you only tried to enforce the laws that civilians have the
power to enforce, which are laws against felonies and more serious misdemeanors,
and didn't misrepresent yourself as an officer, who outranks
most civilians, and who therefore is authorized to issue orders to civilians in
situations where he is present and is himself acting in accordance with law. As
for obstructing justice, anyone, including a law enforcement officer, can do
that. Everyone involved is expected to cooperate with one another in enforcing
the law and not jeopardize one another's legitimate efforts. That applies to
everybody, officers and civilians alike. When there is disagreement about how
best to do that, the dispute is ordinarily resolved by deferring to the officer
with the highest rank, but he may be out of line. Ultimately, it is up to the
courts to decide who is obstructing whom.
Q: So don't federal law enforcement officials outrank state officials, who
A: No, each can investigate and apprehend under all the same laws,
just as any citizen can.
The problem arises with the attempts by the federal government to extend its
authority to act against "crimes" that it does not have the
constitutional power to prosecute, and to try such cases in federal courts. The
Constitution delegates only very limited criminal prosecution powers to the
federal government for acts committed on State territory: treason,
counterfeiting, and crimes on the high seas and against the laws of nations
(that is, war crimes).
It has broad legislative authority on federal territory, which includes
State land ceded to the federal government by a State Legislature, but there is
very little of that left since Hawaii and Alaska joined the Union. It does not
include land that is merely owned by the federal government, nor does it include
land on which some activity is conducted that is regulated by the federal
government. The federal criminal laws which have been enacted which are not on
the above list are ostensibly based on the constitutional power of the federal
government to "regulate" interstate commerce, but it was never the
intent of the Framers that the power to regulate was the power to prosecute
criminally, nor was "interstate commerce" intended to include
everything that ever crossed a state border, or might cross a state border, or
is done by a party that operates across a state border, or that might "affect"
interstate commerce. This "interpretation" of the interstate commerce
clause is clearly unconstitutional, and amounts to amending the Constitution by
statute instead of by the amendment procedure the Constitution prescribes.
Q: That may be the way things once were, back when this country was
founded and during the frontier era, but does the concept of the Militia have
any relevance for today?
A: As much as it ever did. This country still faces threats from
foreign enemies. Maybe not invasions on the ground from a foreign army, but
terrorists, guerrillas, and criminal gangs, either foreign or domestic, are a
growing threat. Urban riots are always possible, and looters are a potential
threat following natural or manmade disasters. The police can't be everywhere,
and rising crime means that everyone must be prepared to act on his own or in
cooperation with other citizens to enforce the laws until the professionals can
assume control of the situation. Everyone must also be prepared to perform
emergency services until emergency professionals can take over, sometimes under
circumstances in which they must also be prepared to use armed force.
Q: Come on! I'm not trained or equipped to act as a policeman, a fireman,
or a paramedic. How can I be expected to do that?
A: Because you are an American citizen, and it goes with being a
citizen, whether you like it or not. What you need to do is get trained and get
Q: Come on! It takes those guys years to learn those skills. Wouldn't I
just be doing more harm than good if I tried to get involved?
A: No one is expecting you to jump into a raging river to save
someone from drowning if you don't know how to swim, but what you should do is
learn swimming and lifesaving. Likewise, you can learn other skills that may be
needed, and keep some of the tools you might need. For a reasonable investment
of time and money, most citizens can prepare themselves to function effectively
in most such situations, sometimes even better than the professionals. For
example, statistics show that in shootouts against criminals, law enforcement
professionals are five times more likely to hit innocent bystanders than armed
civilians are. Part of this may be due to the civilians being on the scene
first, and therefore knowing who the bad guys are and are not, but it also
indicates that civilians are more careful, and often more skilled. Many
civilians are also skilled in the unarmed martial arts, skills that many law
enforcement departments actually forbid their members from learning and using,
Q: Are you really saying we should all carry guns all the time?
A: Most of the time, yes. It's not that difficult. After a while,
you barely notice it.
Q: Wouldn't there be a lot more deaths and injuries from firearms if
everyone carried them all the time?
A: Well, we don't say everyone should always carry
one. Obviously, some people shouldn't. But they are exceptional. Most people
will carry them safely and responsibly, with a little training. Of course there
will be some additional incidents if most people carry most of the time.
Professional police and military have accidents and incidents, but we don't
disarm them, because on balance we are better off if they carry most of the
time. Same with most other civilians. On balance most of us will be better off
if most people carry most of the time, after receiving training, and with
regular practice. In a large population of people, there will always be a
certain number of injuries resulting from the possession and use of any
common implement. But firearms, with proper use, are remarkably safe. Statistics
show that injuries are more likely to be caused by common appliances like
toasters and vacuum cleaners than by firearms.
Q: You are talking about handguns, but what about military-style
semiautomatic rifles, such as those banned under the recent Crime Act? Are they
really good for anything but killing people?
A: In a sense, all functional firearms are for causing potentially
deadly injury to their targets, but their primary purpose is to provide a
credible deterrent against criminal attack. In a tactical situation in which
both parties are armed with semi-automatic or full-automatic weapons, such
weapons shift the balance in favor of the defender, and partially offset the
advantage of surprise enjoyed by the attacker. It is not practical to carry them
everywhere, but in many situations, like defense of a fixed position, such as
one's home or workplace, they can provide the margin of survival.
It should also be pointed out that military- style rifles, whether semi- or
full-automatic, are the primary weapons for use in performing militia duties,
and therefore bans against such weapons are in violation of the provisions of
the U.S. Constitution, such as Art. I, Section 8, and the Second Amendment,
which provide for the Militia and recognize the right to keep and bear arms.
Q: What does the U.S. Constitution say about Militias?
A: Art. I, Section 8, provides that the U.S. Congress can adopt
regulations for organizing and training of the Militia, but that the organizing
and training of the Militia, and the appointment of its officers, shall be done
by the States. The Second Amendment mentions the Militia as an important reason
why the people have a right to keep and bear arms.
Q: So, what do federal laws say about how the states should organize and
train their Militias?
A: Not much. They define who may be required to respond to a
call-up of the Militia by the President. In 10 USC 311, what we might call the
obligatory militia is defined as "all able- bodied males at least
17 years of age and, except as provided in section 13 of title 32, under 45
years of age who are, or have made a declaration of intention to become,
citizens of the United States." But they don't say anything about how the
States should organize and train their Militias. The States are left to do so on
Q: So, what do State constitutions and laws say about organizing and
training their Militias?
A: Again, not much. They define what most of them call the reserve
militia, usually as "able- bodied males" of age ranges that vary
from one state to the next, typically as 16 through 59. Some of them also
provide for a State Guard, which is a full- or part-time organization which is
what the Framers of the Constitution called a select militia. Not the
Q: What about the National Guard? Aren't they the Militia?
A: A part of it, yes, as we all are. But although they are available
to the State for certain purposes, they are organized and funded under the
constitutional authority to raise armies, not the authority to call up the
Militia. As such, they are part of the national military, not what the Framers
meant by the term Militia.
Q: Wait a minute. You first defined the Militia as the entire population,
except for a few officials. Now we have these laws that define it as "able-bodied
males" within a certain age range. Which is right?
A: Although everyone is in principle subject to being called to
Militia duty, it has long been felt that few situations are likely to arise in
which absolutely everyone would need to be called up. Therefore, the law tries
to identify a subset of the entire Militia that may be required to keep arms and
to be kept in a state of readiness. In the event of an actual call-up, these
would also be joined by volunteers who, while not falling within the definition
of who may be required to be thus prepared and to respond to a call-up, would
respond anyway and who would be an asset. We call the first group of those who
may be required to stay ready and to assemble the obligatory militia. We
call the volunteers the voluntary militia. The combination of the
obligatory militia and the voluntary militia is the ready militia. That
is what the Framers of the Constitution had in mind when they used the term
Militia. They envisioned a militia system like that of Switzerland.
Q: Well, if neither federal or state laws call for the organizing and
training of the ready militia, does that mean they are prohibited?
A: No. A few state laws prohibit armed groups, but the legislative
history of such laws shows that they were directed at criminal gangs , not at
the organizing and training of the Militia by local leaders or officials. Any
such laws would be unconstitutional if interpreted in that way.
Q: So, who has the authority to call up the Militia?
A: Anyone can call up the Militia. Anyone at all. Historically, the
call-ups have usually been issued by local officials, such as sheriffs or
mayors, but in the absence of action by such officials, the people can assemble
on their own initiative, called up by anyone who offers a credible reason to
Q: Wow! You mean I could call up the Militia in my area?
A: That's right. Indeed, if you are aware of some situation that
requires the Militia to be called up, then you are obliged to issue a call-up if
you can't get some official to do so.
Q: Wouldn't it cause some alarm to a lot of people if we did that?
A: It might. That is why it is a good idea not to wait until an
emergency occurs before you do it. The Militia should be kept in a state of
readiness between emergencies. That way people will not see the call-up as
something unusual and alarming.
Q: Aren't there laws against alarming people that could be used against any
unofficial assemblies like that?
A: Longstanding constitutional precedent is that one has to actually
direct arms against an innocent person and specifically threaten him for it to
qualify as "alarming the public". And the person has to be innocent.
If one has reasonable grounds to believe that he has or is about to commit a
crime, then an armed threat may be appropriate.
Q: Wouldn't such armed assemblies of the Militia, or at least such part of
it as responds to the call-up, be vigilantes if they tried to do that?
A: No, vigilantism is the improper assumption of the role of judge,
jury, and executioner, not the role of investigator or apprehender.
Q: What about the rights of the accused? Where do they come in here?
A: The Militia is obliged to treat the accused the same way the
police are expected to treat them. That means informing them they have a right
to remain silent and to be represented by an attorney. They must use no more
force than is necessary to prevent them from either escaping or committing a
Q: All this is fine in theory, but when was the last time the Militia was
actually called up officially?
A: The President last called up the Militia on the West Coast in
Q: What about unofficially?
A: Depends on what you would consider a call- up, but a notable
example occurred in Athens, Tennessee, in 1946, when a group of returning
veterans discovered that the sheriff was stealing the local election. They
issued a call-up, and laid siege to the court house. Despite a great deal of
gunfire on both sides, no one was killed. The sheriff surrendered, and the
Militia provided for an honest count of the votes. Dealing with vote fraud is a
proper Militia role.
Q: Was that really necessary? Couldn't they or others in a similar
situation use peaceful, legal methods to enforce voting laws?
A: Not necessarily. There may be no one to enforce the law except
the Militia. The crime may be a conspiracy of local, state, and federal
officials who can effectively block any official enforcement action. There is
evidence that most computerized elections are subject to being rigged at any
time, and that they are rigged with some regularity, at the direction of parties
on the national level that control official law enforcement agencies at all
levels. Of course, the rigging is very subtle. It can be done right under the
noses of pollwatchers. Investigating such rigging is a somewhat involved
operation, but it can be done, and should be before resorting to Militia action.
The same situation may occur with other kinds of official corruption or abuse.
The Militia may be the only honest law enforcement activity remaining.
Q: Are you saying that the main purpose for reviving the Militia tradition
is to fight official abuse and corruption? Have things really come to that?
A: Sadly, yes. Most people are blissfully unaware of how bad things
have become, or prefer not to see it or think about it. But it is approaching
the point where more and more of them will be unable to sustain their state of
ignorance or denial. It would be better to act now before things get much worse.
The longer we wait, the more likely that there will be violent conflict, and we
really don't need another civil war.
Q: Can you provide evidence of any of this?
A: There is plenty of evidence. It is readily available for those
who want to make a little effort to find it. The sponsors of this document can
direct you to much of it. After you read some of it, and talk to government
insiders who are providing information to patriotic citizens about what is going
on, you will readily understand why it is now time to activate the Militia
across the country.
Q: My god! This sounds like you are proposing to overthrow the government.
What do you hope to accomplish by doing this?
A: There is reason to believe that the U.S. Constitution has already
been effectively overthrown by a conspiracy centered in the intelligence and
military establishments, with ties to the financial, industrial, media, and
criminal establishments. We seek to restore constitutional governance, hopefully
by balancing the power of this cabal with armed militia units in every state and
linked together across the country. That, and exposing their operations to
public view, will hopefully bring reform without the need to resort to violence,
just as it happened in the former Soviet Union.
Q: The Constitution already overthrown? C'mon. Who's going to believe that?
Maybe there is more and more corruption and abuse, but everything seems normal,
for the most part.
A: Yes, the conspiracy is secret and subtle. It tries to avoid
abusing too many people or people who are too prominent, but just try to expose
it or raise these issues, and you will soon discover that you live in a police
state and not in a constitutional republic.
Q: Maybe it is better to just not try to expose it or raise these issues,
but keep a low profile and hope this conspiracy will overlook me?
A: Well, leaving aside the fact that to do so is to betray what
generations of Americans have fought and died for, and that such a position is
dishonorable and cowardly, evidence indicates that whoever you are, a low
profile won't help you. Sooner or later, you will have to face it. Better now
than later. Now we can prevail. Later it may be too late.
Q: Look, it's not just me. I have a family to think about. Maybe I should
just join this conspiracy you talk about?
A: Join a conspiracy that depends on secrecy to survive? You don't
join them. They recruit you. If they don't, there's no way in. And no protection
for you even if you do join them. They are not noted for protecting their own
people. Deals with them are Faustian bargains, long on promises and short on
delivery. That is one reason we are getting more and more defectors, despite the
personal dangers. You have to ask what kind of country and world you want your
children and grandchildren to live in.
Q: It all seems so incredible. What could these people want that would
cause them to overthrow the Constitution? What more could they get that they
don't already have?
A: They may be driven by fears of losing what they have, or they may
foresee some crisis they feel will require them to have more power than they
already have. What did the Nazis want? Or the Italian fascists? Or the Japanese
in WWII? Or Stalin? To us these fascists, for that is what they are,
collectively, seem irrational. But they were not strong on reason or wisdom. The
allies may have won WWII and the Cold War, but fascism is alive and well and
running Western countries, including our own.
 Morgan Norval, ed., The Militia in 20th Century America: A Symposium,
1985, available from Gun Owners Foundation, 5881 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA
 Stephen P. Halbrook, That Every Man Be Armed, 1984, available
from the Independent Institute, 134 98th Ave, Oakland, CA 94603.
 Rodney Stich, Defrauding America, 1994, available from Diablo
Western Press, Inc., PO Box 5, Alamo, CA 94507, 800-247-7389, $27.25 Ppd.
 James M. & Kenneth F. Collier, Votescam: The Stealing of America,
1992, available from Victoria House Press, 67 Wall St #2411, New York, NY 10005,
For more information contact:
6900 San Pedro #147-230, San Antonio, TX 78216,