No one can refute the definition of “a well regulated militia” as “the body of the people, trained to arms”. Yet, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” in “well regulated Militia” (Second Amendment) has largely faded as a popular concern. Why?
• because all too many Americans simply grew tired of bearing the personal burden of self-government which service in the Militia imposes;
• because their political leaders did not remind them that “[a] well regulated Militia” is “necessary to the security of a free State”, not only on paper, but in the field as well;
• because their leaders invented “the militia of the United States”, “the organized militia”, and “the unorganized militia” for the purpose of subordinating “the Militia of the several States” to a “standing army”;
• because their leaders promoted pervasive “gun controls” in order to constrain as much as possible “the right of the people to keep and bear [the very] Arms [most useful for well regulated Militia]”, and eventually to disarm “the people” entirely; and
• because in recent years both the supposed friends of the Second Amendment and its worst enemies have agreed that, if it guarantees any “right” at all, the Amendment secures only a very narrow “[individual] right * * * to keep and bear Arms”, unconnected to “[a] well regulated Militia”.
The Founding Fathers believed the necessity of the Militia to be of such magnitude that they expressed it as a general conclusion of constitutional law applicable to every State: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” (Second Amendment). A declaration that Congress cannot ignore any more than they can ignore the States themselves.
The Second Amendment recognizes as “necessary” the long-standing and pre-existing institutions of self-government—150 plus years prior to the Constitution—”composed of the body of the people trained to arms”, collectively known as “the Militia of the several States”.