What Exactly Is… The Militia?

The Original Minuteman


Certainly the militia is the people, for what else could it possibly be? Here’s the definitive quote from one of our founding fathers:  “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.” — George Mason, in Debates in the Virginia Convention.

Consider the question: Does combining the right of free speech with the right to assemble diminish either? Of course not.  And the same is true when you combine the right to assemble with the right to be armed. Meeting with rifles in hand for the purpose of training in their proper use is exactly what “well-regulated” means.

In fact, the Supreme Court supercedes Joe Biden on this issue. In U.S. v Miller the Supremes decided that a sawed-off shotgun is not a military weapon, so it is therefore not protected by the 2nd amendment. The clear implication is that only military-style weapons are protected. The very weapons politicians are trying to ban, are the only weapons that the founders thought worth defending with a constitutional amendment.

Stop arguing crime statistics! Crime, hunting, tin-can plinking, collecting, and sports-type uses of firearms have nothing to do with the 2nd amendment. Clearly the 2nd amendment is about resistance to tyranny, and the mention of firearms and the militia is only incidental…

The 2nd amendment: “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.”

If resistance was best served by using sharp sticks, then sharp sticks might have been mentioned. The amazing thing is that the rifle is still the best tool for the job over 200 years later, but certainly this will not always be the case. Arguing to vouchsafe for instuments of resistance, but ignore the need to always maintain the ability to resist, misses the point of the 2nd amendment entirely.

An easy way to understand what the militia actually is might be to learn how to properly use the word itself.  A citizen is not in the militia, he or she is simply… militia. You don’t say, “I am in the people,” you simply say, “I am a person.” And if you muster with friends on a sunny afternoon and you have a rifle in your hand you are militia… whether you like it or not. 

The militia is not some vast conspiratorial conglomeration of paramilitary rednecks, that’s something completely different. All true militia is local, historically derived from a town or a village. You don’t join the militia, you start or join a local militia unit. Doing this is simply exercising two basic God-given rights, i.e., the right to assemble and the right to bear arms.

When a governor activates the militia he is effectively doing the same thing a local sheriff does when he forms a posse. And just like a posse no one from a local militia unit is required to turn out. This is not true for the National Guard, and that is precisely why the Guard is not militia. All militia is volunteer, and while it is assumed that militia units will respond in an emergency there is no requirement for them to do so.

Ideally state governments would provide training and equipment for groups willing to muster, but most of our leaders see this sort of action as a political liability. Even people in a militia refer to the “m” word when describing their activities. This is ridiculous of course, and the notion that the word militia is to be avoided ultimately must change. While the lack of support from political leaders does leave a vacuum of sorts, there is usually no law that prevents neighbors, friends, and family from having a monthly picnic with rifles.

At such a gathering a leader might be chosen per Robert’s Rules of Order. This leader would be an informational officer only however, as he or she has no legal power. Being the member of a militia unit does NOT disable any of your God-given rights, and you are always free to pick up your rifle and go home. This is not true for regular Army, including the National Guard.

I am providing this primer because I keep seeing misinformation on the web. If you are going to form a local militia unit use these basic guidelines and you should be OK.

1. Try to keep it local, and only associate with people you know. Don’t do this just to avoid agent provocateurs, do it because that is the best way to be effective.

2. Avoid racists, hotheads, bigots, strangers, etc. Leave your group if they seem to be willing to take anyone who shows up, and start another group.

3. Avoid groups that don’t place a premium on safety.

4. Learn how to use your rifle safely.

5. Exercise. If a crisis should ever arise do you think a barstool will be involved?

6. Start a cool Facebook Page. If there is to be a rebirth of militia units social media will be key. Publicize your efforts.

7. Meet regularly, say the Pledge of Allegiance, take an oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign or domestic, salute the flag, etc.

8. Name your group (Culpeper Minutemen has been taken), get patches and a flag.

9. Live free or die. Done.



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Howdy, my name is Jim Funkhouser and I write almost as well as Sarah Palin (verified at 7th grade level). I live in the kid-friendly town of Elberfeld. This lovely hamlet is located in God's Country (Indiana), US of A. My other blog, which you are cordially invited to attend, can be located easily by googling 'the' 'zonks' 'facebook'. There I do my best to reveal the best of 60's and 70's pop, rock, blues, and even country from time to time. Married for 29 years to lovely Rosanna Marie, with ten fantastic kids (Jimmy, Matthew, Aaron, Emily, Daniel (soon to be King), Niklaus, Madeline, Christopher, Wyatt, and the one and only Lucianne Marie. (Obviously all money collected in the tip jar will find its way into various nintendo and playstation software and hardware.) Please check out my book at Barnes and Noble or Amazon: We Were the Zonks! Email me at thezonks@gmail.com.


  1. OK, let me head some comments off at the pass. I have read the Dick Act. I understand concepts like "unorganized militia," "reserve militia," etc. No law supercedes God-given rights though, so let's keep it simple for the time being. No law can disarm you, and no law can keep you from hanging out in the woods with your friends. So it's ridiculous to argue that statutes can do anything but facilitate these actions. In a perfect world governors of the various states would appoint a retired officer in each country to oversee a yearly muster of freemen. Until this happens the freemen will be on their own. Godspeed, hold fast, and semper fi.

  2. The 2nd amendment, properly understood, has nothing to do with firearms. If sharp sticks had been the only weapon available 230 years ago, then the 2nd would read thus.. "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear sharp sticks shall not be infringed." Stop arguing crime, hunting, magazine capacity, etc. The 2nd is about RESISTANCE, and nothing else.