Questions about National Guard


April 25, 2008, 12:32 AM
This is kind of a second amendment question. My friend and I were debating about what well regulated militia meant. I brought up the question if it did (for the sake of argument) mean National Guard then can the National Guard protect a state from the Federal government, or does the federal government have the power to override a states and federalize the states National Guard?

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April 25, 2008, 12:44 AM

National Guard was not anywhere near formation in the late 1700s...

Jeff White
April 25, 2008, 12:44 AM
The National Guard has a duel state/federal mission. When you join the Guard you are sworn in as a member of the National Guard of whatever state you are enlisting in and as a reserve of the Army or Air Force. The federal mission has priority over the state mission (the feds pay for everything) and the guard has been federalized and used to impose federal law over a state governor during the desegregation fights. At least one governor called up the guard to stop desegregation of a university under a federal court order and had the guard federalized to enforce it.

The only force that belongs solely to a state is a state guard unit, that is totally funded by that state. many states have them but few of them are armed or equipped.


Ragnar Danneskjold
April 25, 2008, 12:57 AM
The Guard is mostly a federal entity now. All of the training and equipment comes from the Dod, and National Guard soldiers are now Army soldiers first and state soldiers second. I'm in the Guard and everything about it has been a lot closer to just being in the Army than being in some state militia.

Jim K
April 25, 2008, 12:58 AM
First, NG soldiers take an oath that they will enter federal service if called on. So, yes, the federal government over-rides the state claim on the NG. Some states, in wartime emergencies when the NG was in federal service, have formed "state guard" units; these were almost always volunteer and members were armed with their own weapons. As an example, during WWII, the PA state guard provided guards for the railroads and other vulnerable facilities in the state.

The Second Amendment use of the term militia was in a different context. The colonies had organized militia units, armed by the crown. It was the militia arms (property of the crown) that the army (the only army there was) had been ordered to seize and retain in 1775. The militia objected, and the SHTF as they say. Militia units in the older colonies formed the backbone of Washington's army in the early days.

So there was an organized militia, but a number of militia units in the Revolutionary War were self-formed, and self-armed, with elected officers. In the body of the Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 and Article 2, Section 2, provide for the organized militia, which later became the NG.

The Bill of Rights lists (not grants) the rights of individual citizens and says that citizens who are NOT members of the organized militia have the right to keep and bear arms, so that they may form a militia if necessary.

No one likes to say it, but the founding fathers, who were "a gang of armed revoluitonaries", saw the possibility that the government they had just formed could turn tyrannical. Based on their own experience, there were two critical areas in preventing that from happening or to restore freedom if it did.

A free press would alert the people that the government had gone bad; an armed citizenry could take back the faith and trust it had placed in the government and form a new government. The Second Amendment, in other words, is the right to revolt. Not self defense against criminals, not duck hunting, not gun collecting.

Those were not really intended since no one in those days could have even considered that the people would be disarmed by corrupt local governments in collusion with the criminal element, which is what has happened today.

Nonetheless, the militia reference is secondary. The right to keep and bear arms is an individual right.


April 25, 2008, 01:05 AM
A factor to consider when discussing the Second Amendment and the National Guard v. the Militia: As stated clearly in the 2A, "... the Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms,...". The National Guard can Bear Arms -- they cannot Keep arms. A major distinction between National Guard and Militia - the whole point of the average citizen being armed and subject to callup for state or federal duty. National Guard troops keep their arms and equipment at the local National Guard Armory, under lock and key, to be issued only for drills, practice, or actual callup. If something has changed in the National Guard operations in the last 20-30 years, to invalidate what I have written, my apologies. :rolleyes:

Jim K
April 25, 2008, 01:12 AM
Well, the organized militia in the colonial days didn't "keep" their arms either. There was a militia armory in each town where all the government arms were stored to be issued for drill or service. (An example is at Williamsburg, VA.)

It was those arms, in the armories at Lexington and Concord, that the [British] army set out to seize.

Privately owned arms, of course, were another case, and naturally were kept at home.


Aguila Blanca
April 25, 2008, 08:58 AM
Jim, that's not entirely correct. If you read the old documents describing the militia, they specifically enumerated that each member of the militia was expected to keep one rifle (or maybe they called it a "musket," I don't have it in front of me), 'X' number of balls, a certain amount of powder, and certain other items of "kit." The armories may have contained some rifles, but I believe they were more for the cannons, cannon balls, and gunpowder for same.

Ah, yes ... from Article I of the Militia Act of 1792:
That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of power and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and power-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a power of power; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack. That the commissioned Officers shall severally be armed with a sword or hanger, and espontoon; and that from and after five years from the passing of this Act, all muskets from arming the militia as is herein required, shall be of bores sufficient for balls of the eighteenth part of a pound; and every citizen so enrolled, and providing himself with the arms, ammunition and accoutrements, required as aforesaid, shall hold the same exempted from all suits, distresses, executions or sales, for debt or for the payment of taxes.

Sans Authoritas
April 25, 2008, 09:34 AM
The National Guard is paid for with tax dollars leeched at the Federal level. If ugliness happens, they know whose hand feeds them, and will work on his behalf. [Note well: it will not be the taxpayer for whom they will kill.]

Bush's executive order made sure that the Decider has first dibs on using these men with guns in a "civil disturbance." Including (especially) against the governor's will.

During the War of 1812, the governor of Connecticut refused to send the state militia to invade Canada, because it wasn't either A) Suppressing an insurrection or B) Repelling an invasion. He told the president where to go, in political language. Bush's executive order is doubtless intended to prevent a repeat of such attention to detail.

-Sans Authoritas

April 25, 2008, 09:35 AM
The federal powers of government were resolved during our Civil War, before the Civil War, each state governed itself and made independent decisions based on the decisions and choices of its citizens. After the civil war, federal law supercedes state law and when state law is in violation or contradiction of federal law the states must comply or federal funding is withheld. Often times, the federal government will withhold or threaten to with hold money from states that are unwilling to comply with federal laws.

April 25, 2008, 10:37 AM
IANAL, but some argue that Perpich v DOD ( establishes that the National Guard is a federal organization.

Here's the summary holding from the link above:

Held: Article I's plain language, read as a whole, establishes that Congress may authorize members of the National Guard of the United States to be ordered to active federal duty for purposes of training outside the United States without either the consent of a state governor or the declaration of a national emergency.

Don't know how that could possibly square with the ANG as a state militia, but IANAL.

April 25, 2008, 11:13 AM
Perpich V US ( Syllabus states:
Since 1933, federal law has provided that persons enlisting in a state National Guard unit simultaneously enlist in the National Guard of the United States, a part of the Army. The enlistees retain their status as state Guard members unless and until ordered to active federal duty, and revert to state status upon being relieved from federal service

And USC Title 10 Section 311 says

Sec. 311. 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.

Please note Title 10 makes no mention of State's militias. If you wish to serve your state, consider the State Guard if your state has one.

I'd mention Texas has one but someone might complain - again.

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