I am sometimes surprised by the strange and varied responses I have received in the past in regards to the Second Amendment right to bear arms. This amendment was not enacted to guarantee our hunting rights.
Conversely, a "well-regulated militia" was never intended to mean the national army. Militias were composed of civilians called to arms, and were not, therefore, under the permanent employ of the federal power, meaning they could act without dependence upon wages or oaths. They aid the national army when in need, but even more importantly, they stand against the federal power if it were to take actions that deprived its citizens of life, liberty or property.
One of the most dangerous and potentially destructive decisions any individual can make is open rebellion. After the founding of our constitutional form of government, a group in west Pennsylvania assembled to resist the tyranny they felt was brewing in the new administration under our first president, George Washington.
In 1792, they began what is now called the Whiskey Rebellion, acting against a tax that the government had established on whiskey. After all reconciliation attempts had failed, Washington led an army of 15,000 militia into the west, which quickly ended the rebellion.
About 70 years later, President Lincoln used this same event to further support his earnest desire that the nation should not be divided during our American Civil War.
The federal power is here to establish our freedoms, secure our borders and maintain national stability, and in return we pay their wages. It is our duty as citizens of that nation to direct them toward this goal, through open discussions and elections, and through resistance to abuse. However, we should never use that as an excuse to react in open violence, unless as a carefully restrained reaction to open violence.
Gerald P. Illies