The NRA and gun extremist followers are opposed to any sane gun law. One of their typical irrational rants includes the fierce claim that NO ONE—meaning the government—is going to tell them what to do. Imagine how they would have responded to the federal law passed May 8, 1792 which MANDATED that every eligible man be enrolled in the citizen militia and MANDATED they must PURCHASE a military-style gun and ammunition for their service, report for frequent musters—where their guns would be inspected and registered on public rolls. Would they have bought the required guns? Or would they have not bought guns asserting that their fierce independence prevented them from following the law; that NO ONE— meaning the government was going to tell them what to do?
The Bill of Rights was adopted on December 15, 1791 following the ratification of the Second Amendment. However at the time, public opposition to standing armies, among Anti-Federalists and Federalists alike, persisted; this as a reminder of how things had been in England and Europe where countries had standing armies. As a solution, Congress on May 8, 1792, passed “[a]n act more effectually to provide for the National Defence, by establishing an Uniform Militia throughout the United States” requiring:
“[E]ach and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia…[and] every citizen so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch with a box therein to contain not less than twenty-four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball: or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear, so armed, accoutered and provided, when called out to exercise, or into service…”
Imagine this mandate to buy was both necessary and constitutional. Would today’s Supreme Court have overturned it?
TAGS: Second Amendment, Uniform Militia Act, US history