Debate Magazine

JadeGold's Respone to TS from More Rules of Statutory Construction

Posted on the 31 August 2011 by Mikeb302000
"It sounds like he has grave concerns about oppression when the power to arm the militia resides strictly with congress. Henry was speaking AGAINST congress having sole power to arm the militia, was he not?"


Henry is talking within the context of the militia clause in the Constitution, which refers only to military weapons ("Congress shall have the power to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia," Article I, Section 8, Clause 16). Henry isn't arguing against federal responsibility for arming the militia--instead, he argues that federal arming of militias may either supplant or duplicate the states’ arming of their own forces.

"Our militia shall have two sets of arms, double sets of regimentals, &c.; and thus, at a very great cost, we shall he doubly armed. The great object is that every man [of the militia] be armed. But can the people afford to pay for double sets of arms, &c? Every one who is able may have a gun. But we have learned, by experience, that, necessary as it is to have arms, and though our Assembly has, by a succession of laws for many years, endeavored to have the militia completely armed, it is still far from being the case. "

In this, Henry is noting known facts: 1. that what's being talked about are militia weapons and equipment--not just firearms. 2. that at the time, some states couldn't properly supply the militia, so how could the Federal Govt?

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