Rkba - why congress may lawfully require citizens to buy guns and ammunition


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NelsErik
May 2, 2012, 12:31 PM
I saw this article (http://www.newswithviews.com/Publius/huldah107.htm) this morning and thought it was very interesting. Has anyone ever seen this analysis before? The author has a blog regarding the Constitution that I regularly read. She seems pretty spot on usually.

The Constitution Authorizes Congress To Require Citizens to Buy Guns and Ammunition.

In 1792, Congress passed “An Act more effectually to provide for the National Defense by establishing an Uniform Militia throughout the United States.”[2]
This Act required all able-bodied male citizens (except for federal officers and employees) between the ages of 18 and under 45 to enroll in their State Militia, get a gun and ammunition, and train.

Does Congress have authority in the Constitution to require this? Yes! Article I, Sec. 8, clause 16 says Congress has the Power:

“To 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,
reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;” [boldface mine]

That is what authorizes Congress to require adult male citizens to buy guns and ammunition.

As Section 1 of the Militia Act of 1792 reflects, the “Militia” is the citizenry! Our Framers thought it such a fine idea that The People be armed, that they required it by law!
See, e.g., the second half of Federalist Paper No. 46 where James Madison, Father of Our Constitution, speaks of how wonderful it is that the American People are armed – and why they need to be.[3]

So! In the case of Congress’ requiring adult citizens to buy guns and ammunition, Congress has specific authority under Art. I, Sec. 8, cl.16.

Can everyone really be required to own a gun?

I read the Code of Conduct several times and am unsure if this is appropriate or not... delete or lock as necessary.

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Owen
May 2, 2012, 12:41 PM
well not everybody, but I can see how they could mandate the arming of the militia, as defined by law.

Ryanxia
May 2, 2012, 12:57 PM
Interesting. While I wouldn't want to all of a sudden be in the national guard/reserves, it's neat to think that gun ownership could one day skyrocket :)

Tommygunn
May 2, 2012, 01:00 PM
I wonder what Babs Boxer, Di Feinstein, and Chuckie Schumer would say about this??

25cschaefer
May 2, 2012, 01:01 PM
If congress can require everybody (or their employers) to buy health insurance with the "...provide for general welfare..." stuff, I guess they could make you buy whatever they want as long as somebody somewhere says it's good for you. But, why would they want to require the people to be armed? That would take back some of their power, people might stop being afraid of the government and start thinking on their own.

Could they, probably.
Would they, no.
Should they, no.

Baba Louie
May 2, 2012, 01:05 PM
Be very careful what you wish for.

Example could easily be... "The US Well Regulated Militia members may have this single weapon, registered to him/her, training mandatory, home inspection and weapon security mandatory, annual qualifying score required or loss of weapon. Any civil or criminal charges, accusations, late library fines, overdue bills, etc negates this right"

Once Uncle Sam owns you, he owns you hard. If he so chooses.

IdahoSkies
May 2, 2012, 01:44 PM
I think this very issue will be decided by the "affordable care" appeal to SCOTUS. If we can be required to buy one product, what is to stop the Feds from requiring us to buy others. Like a yearly allotment of stamps.

MtnCreek
May 2, 2012, 01:45 PM
provide for general welfare

It does not say Provide.

Skribs
May 2, 2012, 02:46 PM
Good point Baba Louie. However, I personally believe that it should be a legal requirement that as long as you are not a convicted felon still on parole or your mental capacity is below that of legal age, you should be required to own at least one firearm.

NelsErik
May 2, 2012, 02:56 PM
25cschaefer

If congress can require everybody (or their employers) to buy health insurance with the "...provide for general welfare..." stuff, I guess they could make you buy whatever they want as long as somebody somewhere says it's good for you. But, why would they want to require the people to be armed? That would take back some of their power, people might stop being afraid of the government and start thinking on their own.

Actually this is entirely different from the General Welfare Clause. Did you read the entire article?

You should read her other article where she explains the General Welfare Clause (http://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/does-the-general-welfare-clause-of-the-u-s-constitution-authorize-congress-to-force-us-to-buy-health-insurance/) in exactly the context that you talk about.

The difference is that Congress already has the power to make everyone buy guns and ammo and be proficient in its use. They can't do it with Obamacare... but this isn't a healthcare forum, it's a gun forum. I just found it pretty interesting that all able-bodied male citizens (except for federal officers and employees) between the ages of 18 and under 45 could be required to enroll in their State Militia, get a gun and ammunition, and train.

Isn't this similar to what they do in Switzerland?

NelsErik
May 2, 2012, 02:59 PM
Baba Louie

Be very careful what you wish for.

Example could easily be... "The US Well Regulated Militia members may have this single weapon, registered to him/her, training mandatory, home inspection and weapon security mandatory, annual qualifying score required or loss of weapon. Any civil or criminal charges, accusations, late library fines, overdue bills, etc negates this right"

Once Uncle Sam owns you, he owns you hard. If he so chooses.

That is not a good point... in order for this to happen you would have to somehow remove our god given RKBA... You can come up with all the obscure scenarios that you want, but the point is, that Congress could force everyone to get a gun and become proficient in it's use, it is already law...

Sam1911
May 2, 2012, 03:04 PM
However, I personally believe that it should be a legal requirement that as long as you are not a convicted felon still on parole or your mental capacity is below that of legal age, you should be required to own at least one firearm.

Oh wow. Firearms represent a lot of responsibility. Folks do not do well when matters requiring a lot of responsibility are forced upon them when they are either antagonistic or apathetic about that responsibility. We've been doing a TERRIFIC job of knocking down the rates of gun-related accidents through massive education of the body of gun-enthusiasts at large. I'd imagine a very negative turn in that trend were large numbers of uninterested, apathetic, uneducated folks suddenly forced to keep firearms in their homes.

...

Considering how vastly different the current function of the federal government is from that formative first decade, and the "interpretation" (really just abandonment) of the Constitution as originally written, the chance that such a law will have any weight at all today is zero.

That would be only one small drop -- and a relatively insignificant one -- in the ocean of governmental divergence from the revised version of a Federal Government established in 1787.

NelsErik
May 2, 2012, 03:54 PM
Sam1911


Quote:
Oh wow. Firearms represent a lot of responsibility. Folks do not do well when matters requiring a lot of responsibility are forced upon them when they are either antagonistic or apathetic about that responsibility. We've been doing a TERRIFIC job of knocking down the rates of gun-related accidents through massive education of the body of gun-enthusiasts at large. I'd imagine a very negative turn in that trend were large numbers of uninterested, apathetic, uneducated folks suddenly forced to keep firearms in their homes.

This hasn't been the case in Switzerland and it wasn't the case in American history...

Kiln
May 2, 2012, 04:06 PM
This hasn't been the case in Switzerland and it wasn't the case in American history...
Good example.

brickeyee
May 2, 2012, 04:08 PM
Local government has required militia members to provide their own weapons and appear for drill.

The feds likely do not have the authority.
They could draft you, but then they must equip you.

NelsErik
May 2, 2012, 04:23 PM
brickeyee

Local government has required militia members to provide their own weapons and appear for drill.

The feds likely do not have the authority.
They could draft you, but then they must equip you.

Did you read the article? The Federal Government does have the authority, that is what the article is about... it is already law...

Owen
May 2, 2012, 05:03 PM
They could draft you, but then they must equip you.

They could quite easily equip you by saying "Go buy this list of stuff." There is no Contitutional reason why the government must equip soldiers.

Further: If you're an able bodied male between ages 18 and 45, with certain exceptions, you have already been drafted into the unorganized militia.

NelsErik
May 2, 2012, 05:12 PM
owen

They could quite easily equip you by saying "Go buy this list of stuff." There is no Contitutional reason why the government must equip soldiers.

Further: If you're an able bodied male between ages 18 and 45, with certain exceptions, you have already been drafted into the unorganized militia.

Exactly! Just think how many people this would make mad... It would definitely open some peoples eyes to what the Constitution says about the RKBA and what their actual authority is...

Sam1911
May 2, 2012, 05:29 PM
This hasn't been the case in Switzerland You'll note rather substantial differences between Switzerland's model of compulsory military service and requirement that their (ex soldier) citizens remain armed, and Congress in 2012 USA dictating that every soccer mom, podiatrist, school teacher, mechanic, fast food burger flipper, etc.,etc. must go out and buy a gun.

and it wasn't the case in American history...See likewise...

NelsErik
May 2, 2012, 05:36 PM
Not so... the law talks about adult males between 18 and 45, no soccer moms were ever mentioned...

and it is a pretty good certainty that ever podiatrist, school teacher, mechanic, fast food burger flipper, etc.,etc. in Switzerland who happens to be between 18 and 45 does have a gun...

If this was the case in the US, as the already passed and standing law (The Constitution - Article I, Sec. 8, clause 16), I would venture to guess that we would have a much better society. Our people would be educated on the Constitution, what it means, what it represents, what the Federal Government can make you do and what it can't, and most importantly WHY!

I doubt most of the uninformed people who have opinions against guns would exist here either... very similar to Switzerland.

Sam1911
May 2, 2012, 06:13 PM
Ok Nels, you and I are talking past each other. This tangent started when I responded to Skribs' comment in post 9: that folks should simply be required to own a gun.

That is a far cry from what was specified under the Uniform Militia act of 1792, or what is the practical reality in Switzerland.

Requiring universal military training and service certainly might improve the general attitude among the population about guns. That is by no means a guarantee. Far from all military personnel favor armed citizens and a significant number never choose to own a personal weapon. Remember, garbage in, garbage out. While the military does try to instill many important values in its personnel, recruits do carry their own attitudes, prejudices, and philosophies in with them and not all of those are eradicated through training. Certainly they are not when the trainees are not there of their own volition, may be anything from apathetic to completely hostile to military service, and when the training has to be watered down to the level at which it can process all the wildly varying mass of inductees.

It certainly might slightly reduce some of the ignorance about guns. However, military service does not necessarily equate to a significant understanding of firearms. If you query our members here who have served and ask them about the level of gun-knowledge attained by the average soldier, you're going to get a pretty negative response. Even our slimmer and trimmer all-volunteer military does not spend a large amount of time teaching most soldiers about guns and how to shoot. Imagine a conscript army that had to process through many hundreds of times as many forced recruits! Yikes.

Either way, the extreme costs to the welfare of our armed forces, and the doubly extreme costs to our national pocketbook would seem to outweigh these questionable benefits by orders of magnitude.

We don't have mandatory military service because we don't NEED it and the military itself doesn't WANT it. Arguing for it as a way to increase the "gunny-ness" of society is really the flea shaking the tail to wag the dog.

Rail Driver
May 2, 2012, 06:19 PM
Not to derail or anything, but does anyone know whether or not the act being discussed has ever been repealed or modified by more recent legislation?

NelsErik
May 2, 2012, 06:25 PM
No, Article I, Sec. 8, clause 16 of the Constitution has not been repealed or modified.

Sam1911
May 2, 2012, 06:26 PM
Nels, I think he was asking about the Universal Militia Act of 1792, not Article 1 of the Constitution.

The Militia Act of 1792 was superseded by the Militia Act of 1903 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militia_Act_of_1903) which established the National Guard.

Sam1911
May 2, 2012, 06:30 PM
Interesting. That article starts out with this quote:

Harvard Law School was embarrassed recently when one of its graduates, the putative President of the United States, demonstrated that he was unaware that the supreme Court has constitutional authority to declare an act of Congress unconstitutional

In truth, the SCOTUS DOESN'T have a Constitutional mandate to rule on the Constitutionality of an Act of Congress. That power was invented by Chief Justice Marshall (a rabid and unscrupulous federalist) in Marbury v. Madison.

One could, of course, argue that it IS Constitutional because the Court SAYS it is, and the Court SAYS that it gets to decide these things, so, therefore it IS because we say we can say that it is, and that's what we say. But that would start to sound like circular logic. ;)

Rail Driver
May 2, 2012, 06:34 PM
So basically it seems that in this case as well as most others, it boils down to this:

Our government doesn't know or won't admit to what powers they do and don't legally (constitutionally) actually have, most of us don't really know what powers our government really has in most cases, and nobody seems to be able to do anything to limit the government effectively when they overstep those bounds, whatever they may be... So where does that leave us?

ConstitutionCowboy
May 2, 2012, 07:39 PM
Congress can no more force you to buy a gun than force you to buy health insurance. Congress's power in Article I, Section 8, Clause 16, is for CONGRESS to do the buying!

Woody

NelsErik
May 2, 2012, 08:01 PM
ConstitutionCowboy

Congress can no more force you to buy a gun than force you to buy health insurance. Congress's power in Article I, Section 8, Clause 16, is for CONGRESS to do the buying!

Woody

American history says different...

This is inherent in the 2nd Amendment...

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Also, the majority of colonial codes required that people have and keep their own arms...

Massachusetts in 1632 required each person to "have ... a sufficient musket or other serviceable peece for war ... for himself and each man servant he keeps able to beare arms." - The Compact with the Charter and General Laws of the Colony of New Plymouth 44-45

In the Code of 1672 men were to provide their own arms, but arms would be supplied to those unable to obtain them. In New York, each town was to keep a stock of arms, and each man between 16 and 60 was to have arms. - Duke of York's Laws (1665-1675)

Even those not obligated to serve in the militia were required to keep arms and ammunition in their houses. - First Gen. Assembly, 2d Sess., ch. 20 (October 1684)

The militia provisions of the Connecticut Code of 1650 said, "All persons ... shall beare arms ...; and every male person ... shall have in continual readiness, a good muskitt or other gunn, fitt for service." South Carolina had similar codes. - S.C. Stat., No. 206 (1703)

Sam1911
May 2, 2012, 08:16 PM
Some important points here:
This is inherent in the 2nd Amendment...

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.The 2nd Amendment, just like the 1st, explains (does not even "grant") a RIGHT. Not a requirement or a duty that the federal government can force you to perform.

Also, the majority of colonial codes required that people have and keep their own arms...That falls under the 10th Amendment. Rights not expressly delegated to the federal government, nor prohibited to the States, are left up to the States, or to the people. There is no expressly worded Constitutional right that prevents your State from imposing a duty to be armed on you. (Though there is, obviously, an expressly worded Constitutional prohibition against your State prohibiting you from keeping and bearing arms.)

The federal government was not given that right. The States do retain it.

bushmaster1313
May 2, 2012, 08:38 PM
But can the Government make you buy broccoli?

Sam1911
May 2, 2012, 09:00 PM
But can the Government make you buy broccoli?


There may be one or two areas in which the federal government has usurped powers that do not rightfully belong to it... ;)

NelsErik
May 3, 2012, 12:02 AM
Sam1911,
I would welcome you to read Publius Huldah's blog under the ask questions section, I would very interested in your thoughts...


What say you? (http://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/ask-questions/)

JRH6856
May 3, 2012, 12:33 AM
What say you?

I say that's bad link.

Frank Ettin
May 3, 2012, 02:19 AM
And we're starting to stray from being firearms related -- enough.

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