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Moms and Militia: A True Story

by John M. Marion, Jr.


This story is intended to help convert some people who are not quite sure what they believe about the 2nd Amendment. Feel free to use it with anyone who might benefit by it.

I've been discussing 2nd Amendment issues over the last two or three years with different people. I like to bring up the topic sometimes. It's an interesting and important issue to me.

I've done some study about what the founders of the United States had in mind when they wrote the word "militia". It's clear that they had in mind something very different than the National Guard. They clearly spoke of every able bodied male being a member of the militia. It's also important that they wrote about the right of "the people" to keep and bear arms. "The people" is a term used throughout the U.S. Constitution and you know what? It means the people, not a special class of citizens created by politicians, nor does it mean "the government".

Last weekend (on October 21, 2000) I attended a rally of the Million Mom March organization. The occasion for the rally was to demonstrate at a gun show at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The moms don't want any more gun shows at the fairgrounds. I spoke with one of the men among the moms. As the moms shouted, "guns and fairgrounds don't mix!", he was trying to explain to me that the moms don't want to eliminate the gun shows at the fairgrounds. (Uh, yes, you read that correctly.)

Their real purpose was to eliminate, or at least register, handguns and assault rifles, he explained. I asked him what he meant by assault rifles and he proceeded to explain how a fully automatic rifle (i.e. machine gun) functions. I explained that machine guns were strictly regulated since the 1930's and that one who wants one has to pay a stiff fee and get fingerprinted and register the gun and do a few other things to lawfully own one. He then proceeded to explain that assault rifles are those that can have large capacity magazines attached to them. He explained how deer hunters don't need 30 rounds to hunt. We then went full circle when I brought up the point that the 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with target shooting or hunting.

He also wasn't too happy about my point relating to unarmed Jews being led to the slaughter during the reign of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi party. He said that even if the Jews were armed they would not have been able to fight against the German army effectively so it was better for them to be unarmed because they were safer without guns. (Uh, yes, once again, you read that correctly. And he really said that.) He really wasn't too happy talking about the Jewish holocaust because some of his relatives were slaughtered at that time. I didn't get a chance to bring up the point that some survivors of the Jewish holocaust became strong advocates of the right to keep and bear arms. (See Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership for verification of that point.) 

But I did bring up my experiences in Afghanistan where I witnessed first hand the destruction of areas of the city where I lived. The neighborhoods where the men stayed up all night to resist the incoming army were not looted. No rapes. No slaughter. It was kind of scary as I huddled with my family day after day in the center room of our home in order to avoid the shrapnel of incoming rockets, but the opposing army couldn't take the ground we were on because our neighbors were armed to the teeth and willing to fight to the death. The neighborhoods that were unarmed were overrun. Then a few years later, the unarmed women and children of the Hazara ethnic group were slaughtered. (See Human Rights report for details.) I lost my Russian Jeep to the Taleban in that attack. Again, the armed neighborhoods of the same ethnic group resisted and survived. The guy listened to me tell my story. I think he found it interesting. I believe what I said to him shattered his theories about firearms ownership, but then again real life always disproves theories. I hope he is still thinking about what I said. 

Anyway, for any one who wants to know, it is fairly easy to learn what the writers of the U.S. Constitution had in mind when they used the word militia. 

Now, I've just learned that there is a clear definition in the U.S. Code. 

The U.S. Code is federal law passed by the U.S. Congress. 

The U.S. Code is current law. 

It's not theory or opinion, it's law. 

US Code
Title 10
Sec. 311. Militia: composition and classes

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b) The classes of the militia are -

(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

Any Questions?

You can go to to get the above quotation.

I was first alerted to Title 10, Section 311 of the U.S. Code from this site:

Another good site to study is:

And check this one out, too:

John M. Marion, Jr.
Fairfax County, Virginia

"For me to live is Christ, to die is gain."

Special thanks to Oleg Volk for his wonderful photography. Visit his website at to see more of his eye-opening imagery.


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