Is the citizen militia legitimate and lawful? Our Governor, the Lawmakers, and others say no. You've heard their lies. Now here are the facts:

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution recognizes the inherent right of states to form militia units. That amendment reads: "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."

Not only does the Constitution allow the formation of a Federal Army, it specifically recognizes state militias, and confirms that the citizen and his personal armaments are the foundation of the citizen militia. The arming of the militia is not left to the state but to the citizen. Should the state choose to arm its citizen militia, it is free to do so under the United States Constitution (bearing in mind that the Constitution is not a document limiting the citizen, but rather one that establishes and limits the power of government). Should the state fail to arm its citizen militia, the right of the people to keep and bear arms becomes the source of the guarantee that the state will not be found defenseless in the presence of a threat to its security. It makes no sense whatsoever to look to the Constitution of the United States or that of any state for permission to form a citizen militia.

Logic demands that the power to grant permission is also the power to deny permission. Brought to its logical conclusion in this case, a state may deny the citizen the right to form a militia. If this were to happen, the state would assert itself as the principle of the contract making the people the agents. Liberty then would be dependent on the state's grant of liberty. Such a concept is foreign to American thought. While the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution acknowledges the existence of state militias and recognizes their necessity for the security of a free state and while it also recognizes that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, the Second Amendment is not the source of the right to form a militia nor to keep and bear arms. Those rights existed in the states prior to the formation of the federal union. In fact, the right to form militias and to keep and bear arms existed from antiquity. The enumeration of those rights in the Constitution only underscores their natural occurrence and importance. The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads: "The Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Ultimate power over the militia is not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor to the states, but resides with the people. Consequently, the power of the militia remains in the hands of the people. Again, the fundamental function of the militia in society remains with the people. Therefore, the Second Amendment recognizes that the militia's existence and the security of the state rests ultimately in the people who volunteer their persons to constitute the militia and their arms to supply its firepower. The primary defense of the state rests with the citizen militia bearing its own arms. Fundamentally, it is not the state that defends the people, but the people who defend the state. The secondary defense of the state consists in the statutory organization known as the National Guard. Whereas the National Guard is solely the creation of statutory law, the militia derives its existence from the inherent inalienable rights of man which existed before the Constitution and whose importance are such that they merited specific recognition in that document. While the National Guard came into existence as a result of legislative activity, the militia existed before there was a nation or a constitutional form of government. The militia consisting of people owning and bearing personal weapons is the very authority out of which the United States Constitution grew. This point must be emphasized. Neither the citizen's militia nor the citizen's private arsenal can be an appropriate subject for federal legislation or regulation. It was the armed militia of the American colonies whose own efforts ultimately led to the establishment of the United States of America! While some say that the right to keep and bear arms is granted to Americans by the Constitution, just the opposite is true. The federal government itself is the child of the armed citizen. We the people are the parent of the child we call government. The increasing amount of federal encroachment into the territory of the Second Amendment in particular and the Bill of Rights in general indicates the need for parental corrective action. In short, the federal government needs a good spanking to make it behave.

One other important point needs to be made. Since the Constitution is the limiting document upon the government, the government cannot become greater than the granting power, that is the servant cannot become greater than his master. Therefore, should the Chief Executive or other branch of government, or all branches together act to suspend the Constitution under a rule of martial law, all power granted to government would be canceled and defer back to the granting power, the people. Martial law shall not be possible in this country as long as the people recognize the Bill of Rights as inalienable. The present actions of this country's government have been to convince Americans that the Bill of Rights controls the people. The Bill of Rights has nothing to do with control of the people, nor control of the government established by the people. The Bill of Rights stands as immutable and unaffected by any change determined upon the Constitution by government.

In Michigan, the militia is the subject of Article III, Sec. 4. [and I presume, the constitutions of other states will echo this] "The militia shall be organized, equipped and disciplined as provided by law." The law alluded to speaks of militias of the state, to be equipped, supported and controlled by the Governor. A thoughtful consideration of this arrangement leads immediately to the question of "Who really governs the militia?" Article I, Sec. 1 of Michigan's Constitution says, (And it may be presumed that other state constitutions also say,) "All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal benefit, security and protection." Once again we see the inherent right of citizen militias vested in the people. The organizing and support of a state sponsored militia of the state is a power granted to the Governor. This fact is further supported by Art. I, Sec. 7, "The military shall in all cases and at all times be in strict subordination to the civil power." But which military? It cannot be the citizen militia since the agent of a contract can hold, but cannot control the principle. Therefore, the military spoken of is the military force permitted to be formed by the state, which is the National Guard. Neither can it be the citizen militia because, like the Federal Constitution, the Constitution of Michigan is the child of vested power reserved to the people forever. There is no possible way that the Governor of this State or the Chief Executive of the United States, or any legislative body can "outlaw" the citizen's militia for to do so would rob inherent power from the people and thereby transform the limited Constitutional Republic to a government controlled state. If that were to happen, our entire form of government would cease.

How than can the citizen militia be controlled? In simplest terms, it cannot be. It is the natural occurrence of the people who gather to defend against a perceived threat. Historically, citizen militias emerge when a clear and present danger exists, threatening the well-being of the people. It would stand to reason that power granted to the Governor to form a militia for the security of the people is intended to reduce the need for the citizen militia. Simply, if the National Guard did it's job in securing the state, the citizen militia would not emerge. That it has emerged so dramatically seems to indicate that the people do not feel secure. Nor can the people be given promises of security. Well-being is not measured by promise, but by experience. Surely our experience has been that security is lacking, hence the emergence of the citizen militia. When safety and security are reestablished in Michigan, the citizen militia will return to its natural place, resident within the body of the people, only to emerge again when security is threatened. Security is the common desire of all mankind. We can no more control the militia than we can change the nature of men. For their safety and security, people everywhere will form militia if and when necessary.

By now it should be clear that the militia predates state and federal constitutions. Its right to exist among the citizenry cannot be subjected to legal challenge. The only effective challenge to citizen militias would be political engineering. One may envision an effort to amend both the state and federal constitution specifically abolishing the right for citizens to form militia units. Should such a venture be dared, the natural need of the citizens militia would increase, actually drawing more free people to it. By now also, one should draw the conclusion that the militia is inherent to all social, interactive people concerned about the well-being of fellow citizens. This conclusion is that which is so clearly stated in the Bill of Rights. No man-made law can abolish the citizen militia since such a law would be in fact an unlawful act designed to dissolve power vested in the people. Such an effort would reveal an intent of any tyrant to transform limited government created by the people into a government limiting the people. Most tyrants know that such a move must be well timed. It is no wonder then, that power-hungry central government and groomed courts view the Second Amendment as applying only to organized militias, i.e. armies of the individual states, that is, the National Guard.

To summarize: Citizen militias in Michigan are historic lawful entities predating all federal and state constitutions. Such militias are "grandfathered" into the very system of government they created as clearly revealed in both the Constitution of the United States and that of Michigan. These constitutions grant no right to form militias, but merely recognize the existing natural right of all people to defend and protect themselves. The governments created out of well armed and free people are to be constantly obedient to the people. Any attempt to take the means of freedom from the people is an act of rebellion against the people. Currently in Michigan, the citizen militia is subject only to the historic role of American militias as defined in Black's Law Dictionary: Militia: The body of citizens in a state, enrolled for discipline as a military force, but not engaged in actual service except in emergencies, as distinguished from regular troops or a standing army. In order to conform to this definition, and to remain able to oppose a rebellious and disobedient government, the citizen militia must not be connected in any way with that government lest the body politic loose its fearful countenance as the only sure threat to a government bent on converting free people into slaves.

Norman E. Olson,
Former Commander,
Michigan Militia Corps.