The second amendment to the U. S. Constitution states, "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." Many people believe that this means that the National Guard can have access to weaponry and that individual people cannot. That belief, however, is not supported by the writings and speeches of our Founding Fathers. Many of them were quite specific that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual and not a collective right. A sampling of some of their statements makes this plain:
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." 
-Thomas Jefferson
"The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able may have a gun."  
-Patrick Henry
"The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference -- they deserve a place of honor with all that's good ... "  
-George Washington
"The Constitution shall never be construed ... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."  
-Samuel Adams
"I ask you sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials." 
-George Mason
"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." 
-Richard Henry Lee
"Arms in the hands of the citizens may be used at individual discretion for the defense of the country, the overthrow of tyranny, or private self-defense."  
-John Adams
   As the above statements demonstrate, the Founding Fathers intended the right to keep and bear arms to be an individual right, not a collective right. Now, there are some who would argue that what the Founding Fathers intended has no relevance today. Military technologies have advanced far beyond what was available during the Revolutionary War, and what worked then won't work now. A man with his personal weapon is something that any modern, armored, military unit could ignore or deal with at their leisure.

   Both the Army and the Marine Corps, however, know for a fact that such people do count. This has been proven time and again in modern combat. They call people who are proficient in this manner of combat "snipers". I will quote two short passages from the book by Charles W. Sasser and Craig Roberts entitled, "One Shot-One Kill" published by Pocket Books in April, 1990 that serve to illustrate this point.

   "The art of the sniper combined with the technology of science to make the single well-aimed shot the most deadly weapon on the battlefield.  
  Nowhere was this better illustrated than in the ruins of Stalingrad during World War II when Russian snipers stopped the advance of a superior Nazi force in an action that proved to be the turning point of the war on the eastern front. Stalingrad saw some of the most intense sniper activity in history." pp.58-59

   Note that the forces available to the Nazi in World War II were the prototype for all modern, armored combat units. Snipers have also proven their worth in more limited scenarios.

"In terms of body count and effect on the enemy's morale, snipers in Vietnam proved more effective than entire battalions. For example, snipers of the Army's Ninth Infantry Division working in the Mekong Delta from January to July 1969 accounted for 1,139 enemy KIAs. No battalion in the division did so well." p.138 
   This also worked the other way as well. In the book, "American Military History, Revised Edition" published by the U.S. Army Center of Military History, CMH pub 30-1, it says on pp. 689-690:
    "The U.S. Army paid a high price for its long involvement in South Vietnam. American military deaths exceeded 58,000 ... Most deaths were caused by small arms fire and gunshot, but a significant portion, almost 30 percent, stemmed from mines, booby traps and grenades." (Emphasis mine)
    Thus, an analysis of what the Founding Fathers had to say on the second amendment demonstrates that they meant the right to be an individual right and not a collective right. Further analysis of conditions prevalent on modern battlefields indicates that even today, people who possess individual weapons and are skilled in their use are a potent force to be reckoned with. Indeed, even heavily armored mechanized units cannot totally ignore such people. Furthermore, the Founding Fathers always intended that the balance of power within our country should remain in the hands of the people themselves. The question then becomes, why does our government desire to take this right from the people who constitute the only legitimate source of its power?
- Mike Johnson/Militia at large
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These  are the personal views of Mike Johnson. He was the elected spokesman of the North Central Florida Regional Militia. They are neither endorsed nor supported by Citizens For Better Government. They are presented for informational purposes only. 
Last Revision: December 28, 1998