In all the cascade of news reporting and comment on the tragic event in Aurora, Co., no one has
observed that the Parker court (2007) concluded that we can have “registration ... for militia
service if called up.” There is no contradiction of that in the Supreme Court rulings.
Registration is the only way guns can be effectively regulated. That is where policy making
begins. Registration, that is, accountability to a governing authority, accountability to the very
legitimacy of a governing authority, is the one point of policy the gun lobby’s childish political
fantasy cannot accommodate and what the NRA works hardest to defeat. That childish political
fantasy is that the purpose of all those gun in private hands, outside of accountability to a
governing authority is to maintain the “armed populace at large,” a collection of sovereign
individuals who made a treaty based on no more than word of honor and promise of good faith
and not a government which in the words of Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers was
about “POLITICAL POWER AND SUPREMACY” (caps in original).
Militia call up resurrects the original civic purposes of military obligation and military
preparedness. Militia duty in the colonies, the early Republic, the Constitution, the Second
Amendment and the Militia Act of 1792 was conscript duty. The Militia Act required gun
ownership, required militia officers to maintain inventories of privately owned weapons and
report them to the state governors and the president of the United States.
The original state based military obligation became national in the twentieth century
selective service acts.
All that is missing in the midst of national tragedies is long-overdue political leadership.
That can start in the 2012 election season. This treatise makes a simple provocative proposal.
When we lose our moorings and purposes the consequences are devastating. We have a crisis
not only of gun violence mostly in the cities and of sovereignty on the Southwest border but in
our political purpose.
Gun rights ideologies cannot be limited to simply anti-government posturing. They are
part of a much broader political and intellectual movement, which is called here the “Libertarian
Right” that has very cynically never accepted the expansion of a governing authority, particularly,
the authority of the Federal Government to make the twentieth century social contract. This
movement does not accept that the United States in the twentieth century became a modern nation
state and national community with national interests which required an expansion of a national
We start with the proposition that the Constitution is a frame of government not a treaty
among sovereign individuals. The consent to be governed has serious implications for private gun
ownership. We can argue the contours of the modern state policy by policy what we cannot do is
throw out constitutional state baby with the modern state bath water. Fortunately the courts have
not done that.