Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Here Come the Flatland Minutemen

The AP reports there's a plan by some in Oklahoma, including both Tea Partiers and some in the state legislature, to start a volunteer state militia to resist Federal intrusion. You probably think that I'm going to tell you what a bunch of loonies these guys are.

Well, you're not totally wrong. Just exactly how the militia would save Oklahomans from health care reform is a mystery to me. In fact, it's a struggle to think of a situation where it would be useful at all. But this proposal does do a lot to clarify the whole gun issue.

Here's Randy Brogdon, a Republican legislator and candidate for governor:

[The founding fathers] were not referring to a turkey shoot or a quail hunt. They really weren't even talking about us having the ability to protect ourselves against each other. The Second Amendment deals directly with the right of an individual to keep and bear arms to protect themselves from an overreaching federal government.

Well said, Randy (aside from some grammatical quibbles). That is exactly the point of the Second Amendment. In particular, it does not confer a generalized right to own guns for self-defense, notwithstanding the majority of the Supreme Court. It confers a right to own guns for use in a militia, and not the National Guard, either-- a well regulated citizens' militia. Perhaps if some states actually establish volunteer militias-- well regulated ones-- this will become more apparent.
In the meantime, keep an eye out for some upcoming hypocrisy. The next big Supreme Court gun case  concerns "incorporation"-- that is, whether the Second Amendment applies to states as well as the Federal government. (The previous gun decision concerned Washington, D.C., so that issue wasn't settled.) Expect the states'-rights fans to wax eloquent on the importance of allowing the national Constitution to tell states what they can't do...in this particular case.

Given that we supposedly need the Second Amendment so that states can protect themselves from the Federal government, it seems odd that states wouldn't be allowed to to pass their own gun laws. But, as I said, keep an eye out.

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