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Militia Structure: Near Universal Armament

By properly regulating their Militia, THE PEOPLE would always be in possession of the most contemporary arms and accoutrements available.

Last Updated on November 2, 2021 by Constitutional Militia

2nd Main Provision of the Militia Structure: Near universal armament.

The Militia were armed systematically according to statute, not randomly and voluntarily. Guns were obtained in the free market. In every Militia statute, the individual is to obtain a firearm by buying it for himself. The modern day notion that the Second Amendment amounts to merely an individual “gun right” for personal self-defense or hunting has no basis in fact or in law in any Militia statute, of which there are hundreds that span the course of over 150 years. While self-defense is important it is an individual choice. Community self-defense, which is necessary to the security of a free State” (Second Amendment) requires a collective effort of the vast amount of inhabitants properly organized, armed, and trained pursuant to statute, so that they can effectively provide themselves with security. In this way THE PEOPLE through their Militia structure can provide themselves with security from any and all threats taking advantage of the strength and variety of skill sets in their numbers. When a function of the local Militia Structure proves to be ineffective—THE PEOPLE themselves—would better regulate (e.g., “a well regulated Militia”) their structure by updating their Militia statute to make them effective. As State government institutions the Militia would be immune from all contemporary forms of “gun control”. Militia Structures are largely outside the jurisdiction of Congress.

As technology advances, so do the armaments available in the free market. By properly regulating their Militia, THE PEOPLE would always be in possession of the most contemporary arms and accoutrements available. As a standard Militia principle, the average Militiaman is to be armed as well as the contemporary infantryman serving in the military. Why? Because in the extreme case, THE PEOPLE may encounter a “standing army”, which was the Founders experience. At all other times the Militia would provide themselves with security every day of the year by influencing and enforcing constitutional principles with full legal authority.

From the early 1600s in the American colonies through the post-constitutional period in the then independent States, the right to keep and bear arms was always and everywhere coincident with the duty to perform one’s Militia service. From the very beginning, Rhode Island’s officials ordered that:

• [1639] “noe man shall go two miles from the Towne unarmed, eyther with Gunn or Sword; and * * * none shall come to any public Meeting without his weapon”;[1]

• [1643] “every man” should have sufficient “powder”, “bulletts”, and “shot lying by him”;[2]

• [1643] inspectors should check “every inhabitant” to “see whether every one of them has powder, and what bullets run”, and “go to every house” to determine “what armes are defective”;[3]

• [1655] “an accompt * * * shall be given of what powder, lead and shot there is in the possession of everie inhabitant of ye townes”;[4]

• [1669] “each * * * Towne Councill in the Colony * * * [should] see that the inhabitants of each respective towne bee furnished with ammunition according to law; and that the armes bee fixed and in readiness for service”.[5]

Also, in particular situations of “eminent dangers approaching”, such as invasions, insurrections, or other “great extremities”, Rhode Island’s “magistrates” were “empowered to press or cause to be impressed [that is, to draft for compulsory service], any person or persons”, and “to raise, appoint and authorize anyorall persons requisitt for the preservation of * * * [the] Collony * * * to attend their allegiance and duty”.[6] Thus, during the War of Independence, the General Assembly:

• [1775] “directed and empowered [inspectors] to go to the house of each person in their respective towns, to take an account of the powder, arms and ammunition”;[7]

• [1775] “command[ed] every man in the colony, able to bear arms, to equip himself completely with arms and ammunition, according to law”;[8]

• [1780] authorized drafts from among “all male Persons whatsoever, of the Age of Sixteen Years and upwards, who have resided for the Space of Thirty Days within their respective Towns (Deserters, Indians, Mulattoes and Negroes excepted)”.[9]

Moreover, that it was Rhode Island’s practice, from the early to the late 1700s, to require Militia service, not just from her permanent residents, but also from mere “transient persons”, evidences the near-universality and seriousness of the duty.[10]

Footnotes:

1.) EN-104 — By the Body Politicke in the Ile of Aqethnec, Inhabiting this present, 25 of 9: month. 1639, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 94 (emphasis supplied). Accord, At a Generall Towne Meetinge at Portsmouth, 1st of March, 1643, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 79 (“that every man do come armed unto the [general town] meeting upon every sixth day”). Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 124.

2.) EN-105 — At a Generall Towne Meetinge at Portsmouth, 1st of March, 1643, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 79, and [A General Town Meeting in Portsmouth,] 5th of October, 1643, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 77. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 124.

3.) EN-106 — [A General Town Meeting in Portsmouth,] The 10th of Aprill, 1643, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 80, and [A General Town Meeting in Portsmouth,] 5th of October, 1643, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 77. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 124.

4.)  EN-107 — June ye 28th, 1655. The Court of Commissioners at Portsmouth, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 320. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 124.

5.) EN-108 — Att a meeting of the Generall Councill, at Newport, on Thursday, August 26, 1669, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 2, at 282. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 124.

6.) EN-109 — Acts, Orders and Proceedings of the Governor and Councill of His Majestys Collony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, held at Newport, May, 1667, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 2, at 192, 193 (emphasis supplied). Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 124.

7.) EN-110 — Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Providence, on Wednesday, the 28th day of June, 1775, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 7, at 356. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 124.

8.) EN-111 — Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Providence, on Wednesday, the 28th day of June, 1775, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 7, at 358 (emphasis supplied). Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 124.

9.) EN-112 — An ACT for raising Six Hundred and Thirty able-bodied effective Men, At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island, and Providence-Plantations, begun and holden (by Adjournment) at Newport, within and for the State aforesaid, on the Third Monday in July, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 10 [13], at {29} (emphasis supplied). Accord, At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island, and Providence- Plantations, begun and holden (by Adjournment) at Providence, within and for the State aforesaid, on the first Monday in July, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 10 [13], at {7}. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 124.

10.) EN-113 — See An Act for the electing of commissioned officers of the severall train bands in this Colony, Proceedings of the Generall Assembly held for the Collony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations at Newport, the 19th day of June, 1705, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 3, at 534; An Act for numbering all persons able to bear arms within this state, Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Providence, on the fourth Monday in March, 1777, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 8, at 189. The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 125.

One method to supply poor members of the Militia with equipment was to subsidize them from funds the Militia itself amassed from fines statutorily imposed on defaulters:

[1647] “[I]f any shall come defective in his Armes or furniture [to Militia service], he shall forfeit and pay ye sum of twelve pence”; and “all the fines and forfeitures shall be employed to the use and service of the [Train] Band”.[1]

[1650] “[Certain named individuals], all excuses sett aparte, shall mende and make all lockes, stockes and pieces that by order from the warden of each Towne shall be from any of the inhabitants thearof presented to them, for just and suitable satisfaction in hand payed, without delay, under the penaltie of ten pounds, to be levied * * * to the use of the sayd Towne’s militia”; and “all men that have gunns and pieces to mend, and have need to have them mended for their present defence, shall * * * carrie those pieces to mende, upon paine of forfeiting ten shillings a piece, which shall be levied * * * to the use of the * * * Towne’s militia.”[2]

[1658] “[T]he Town councill have power * * * to lay out * * * what fines are taken for men’s defect in traininge for such as they judge not able to buy armes[.]”[3]

[1676] “[A]ll fines or forfeitures of the Traine Bands in each towne are * * * to be returned to the Treasurer of said towne by him to ke kept apart, that it may be for disbursements to furnish the said Traine Band with colors, drums, and other publicke instruments; and what may be more, is to be kept for a magazine.”[4]

[1680] “[F]ines * * * relating to the millitary exercise, shall be returned to the Clerke of every * * * Traine Band, and to be disposed of * * * for the use of the * * * Company[.]”[5]

[1699, 1701, and 1705] “[A]ll fines and forfeitures that shall arise upon persons neglecting in training and watching, shall be disposed of by the commissioned officers of each respective company, to provide drums, colors, ammunition, &c.”[6]

[1718, 1730, and 1744] “[A]ll such Fines taken * * * shall be laid out to and for the Use of such Company * * * for the defraying their Incident Charge[.]”[7]

[1755] “[A]ll the * * * Fines [shall] be lodged in the Town Treasury * * * to purchase Arms and Ammunition * * * to be used by such Soldiers as are not able to provide for themselves, after all Military Accoutrements * * * for the Company are purchased[.]”[8]

[1766] “[T]he * * * Fines * * * shall be paid * * * into the Town-Treasury * * * to purchase Arms and Ammunition * * * for the use of such Town to be used by such Soldiers as are not able to provide for themselves, after all military Accoutrements * * * for the Company are purchased[.]”[9]

[1779] “[A]ll Fines * * * [shall] be deposited in the Town- Treasurer’s Office * * * to be appropriated for purchasing Arms and Ammunition for those who shall be unable to provide for themselves, [after deducting certain other costs.]”[10]

Footnotes:

1.) EN-222 — Acts and Orders Made and agreed upon at the Generall Court of Election, held at Portsmouth, in Rhode Island, the 19, 20, 21 of May, 1647, for the Colonie and Province of Providence, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 153, 154. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 158.

2.) EN-223 — Acts and Orders made at the Generall Courte of Election held at Newport, May the 23d, (1650), for the Colonie of Providence Plantations, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 221-222. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

3.) EN-224 — [Number] 7, The General Court of Commissioners held for the Collony, at Portsmouth, March the 10th, 1657-8, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 373. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

4.) EN-225 — Proceedings of the Generall Assembly of the Collony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, held at Newport, the 25th of October, 1676, [Session of] October 27th, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 2, at 555. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

5.) EN-226 — Proceedings of the Generall Assembly held for the Collony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations at Newport, the 27th day of October, 1680, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 3, at 93-94. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

6.) EN-227 — An Act for the better regulating the militia, and for punishing offenders as shall not conform to the law thereunto relating, At the Generall Assembly and Election held for the Collony at Newport, the 7th of May, 1701, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 3, at 434-435. This statute is dated “1699” in LAWS AND ACTS OF RHODE ISLAND, AND PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS Made from the First Settlement in 1636 to 1705, at 92, reprinted from J.D. Cushing, Editor, The Earliest Acts and Laws of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (Wilmington, Delaware: M. Glazier, 1977), at 107. Reprinted from a compilation dated “1705”, it appears in Military Obligation, Rhode Island, at 37. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

7.) EN-228 — An Act for the Repealing several Laws relating to the Militia within this Colony, and for further Regulation of the same, LAWS Made and Past by the General Assembly of His Majesties Colony of Rhode- Island, and Providence-Plantations, in New-England, begun and Held at Newport, the Seventh Day of May, 1718, and Continued by Adjournments to the Ninth Day of September following, in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1719, at 88; in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1730, at 94; and in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1744, at 68. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

8.) EN-229 — An ACT in Addition to the several Acts regulating the Militia in this Colony, At the GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the Governor and Company of the English Colony of Rhode-Island, and Providence-Plantations, in New-England, in AMERICA; begun and held by Adjournment at Providence, on the first Monday of February, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty-five, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 2, at {72}. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

9.) EN-230 — An ACT, regulating the Militia in this Colony, part of An ACT, establishing the Revisement of the Laws of this Colony, and for the putting the same in Force, in A LAW, Made and passed at the General Assembly of the Colony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, held at Providence on the First Monday in December, 1766, in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1767, at 183. Also see TThe Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

10.) EN-231 — An ACT for the better forming, regulating and conducting the military Force of this State, AT the GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island, and Providence-Plantations, begun and holden at South-Kingstown, within and for the State aforesaid, on the last Monday in October, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-nine, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 10 [12], at {37-38}. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

Militiamen were required by law to keep their Arms for Militia service in their home and in serviceable condition. Why?

Because a Militiaman could be called at any moment, in an alarm situation, and every “able-bodied” adult had to be prepared individually to work together collectively as component parts of “[a] well regulated Militia”[1] to perform any of their three constitutionally mandated duties to “execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections, and repel Invasions”.[2] And, in the extreme case, as the Declaration of Independence recognized: “It is [the people’s] right, it is their duty” to stand up to oppressive governments. If firearms were kept in an armory, the oppressive government would simply take over the armory rendering the people defenseless. Every contemporary “gun control” statute in America today looks to the same conclusion, to disarm as many people as possible, wherever possible, by any means possible, as quickly as possible.

Footnotes:

1.) U.S. Const. amend.II

2.) U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 15.

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Constitutional Militia are State government institutions, thoroughly civilian in character. It is by the efforts of "the Militia of the several States", that the "security of a free State" can be preserved throughout the Union.
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