2ND AMMENDMENT QUESTIONS WHO IS THE MILITIA? To answer we must have a good reference heres what THOMAS JEFFERSON (Author of Declaration of Independence, member Continental Congress, said about interpreting the constitution. On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed. 12 Jun 1823 (The Complete Jefferson p.32) we had just thrown of a tyrant (england) and were severely distrustful of a large government governing from afar, hence the severe limiting of the federal government,the bill of rights ect and to further get the mindset of our framers we need only read the federalist papers and look at the state constitutions that were ratified around that time by some of the very men who signed the constitution and declaration of independence. GEORGE MASON (Virginia House of Burgesses, Virginia delegate to Constitutional Convention, wrote Virginia Declaration of Rights, wrote Objections to the Constitution, urged creation of a Bill of Rights) I ask, Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers. (Jonathan Elliot, The Debates of the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, [NY: Burt Franklin,1888] p.425-6) seems that he was talking about the people themselves JAMES MADISON (Drafted Virginia Constitution, Member of Continental Congress, Virginia delegate to Constitutional Convention, named Father of the Constitution, author of Federalist Papers, author of the Bill of Rights, Congressman from Virginia, Secretary of State, 4th President) Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.. (where) ..the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. (Federalist Papers #46) RICHARD HENRY LEE (Signed Declaration of Independence, introduced resolution in Continental Congress to become independent, proposed Bill of Rights from beginning, author of Anti-Fed Papers, Congressman and Senator from Virginia) A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves and include all men capable of bearing arms. 1788 (Federal Farmer, p.169) 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 1788 (Federal Farmer) getting a constant theme here yes the militia is in fact the people and was never questioned until of late now lets look at a state that was around during that time and what their constitution says : The present-day Pennsylvania Constitution, using language adopted in 1790, declares: "The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned." How about the right of the people to pick up arms against its own government? declaration of independence has something to say of this: That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Although it warns that prudence best observed the right is unquestionable And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Letter to William S. Smith 13 Nov 1787 (Jefferson, On Democracy p. 20, 1939; Padover, editor) The few cases wherein these things (proposed Bill of Rights) may do evil, cannot be weighed against the multitude where the want of them will do evil I hope therefore a bill of rights will be formed to guard the people against the federal government (letter to Madison 31 July 1788, The Papers of James Madison, Hobson & Rutland, p.11:212) madison To these (federal troops attempting to impose tyranny) would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands. (Federalist Papers #46) patrick henry Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined. During Virginia Ratification Convention 1788 (Elliot p.3:45) it seems clear that our founders intended that the second amendment and gun ownership and the right to take up arms was intended to go to the individual as with the rest of the bill of rights . All were written to the individual . The second amendment is vitally important as without it neither of the other rights would ultimately be defended.