The Militia FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a militia?

Throughout history, a militia has been defined as a group of citizens who are not professional or paid soldiers, who operate as a defensive force in cases of emergencies. At the time the Constitution of the United States of America was written, no definition was needed for the term militia, as it was understood by everyone that it consisted of all able-bodied men in the colonies, which had a compulsory duty to defend their homes, communities and colony, who were required to keep and bear arms, and to train under threat of fine by their local committees of safety. However, by way of the Militia Act of 1903 known as the "Dick Act", Congress attempted to redefine the term militia and into two distinct classifications. They defined the "organized militia" as the National Guard and Naval Militia in each State. The "reserve militia" was then defined as all men between the ages of 17 and 45 who are not part of the organized militia. The National Defense Act of 1916 passed by Congress changed reserve militia to unorganized. It is important to question whether or not Congress has been afforded the right to redefine a term as it was originally understood when the Constitution was written. Such a power to redefine the meaning of words cannot be found anywhere in the Constitution of the United States.  All the people of our nation capable of bearing arms are in fact militia.  The Supreme Court held that the National Guard exists today as a creation authorized not by the power of Congress to train and organize the militia, but simply its power to raise armies.

How do I join the militia?

Since each male between the age of 17 and 45 under current federal law are part of the unorganized militia, you do not have to do anything to join if you fall into that classification, as You Are The Militia.

Now, you might consider enlisting in the National Guard by visiting a local recruiting station, however you should understand that as a member of the National Guard you will be compelled to the swearing of two oaths, for your service to both the State and the Federal Government, the latter of which may unjustly compel you to duty outside of our nation to conduct offensive military actions against the sovereign people of foreign lands.  You should also understand that the National Guard isn't really a militia in the classic sense, according to the Supreme Court.  Its creation they said is based  under the federal power to raise armies,

Joining the "unorganized militia" can be a confusing concept for some, but the fact of the matter is that you are pretty much already are a member if you reside in the United States and have not been specifically exempted.

However, the confusion stems from the fact that Congress has failed in its duty to provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the "unorganized militia", reserving such duties to the States and to the people respectively. If your State does not provide these functions, they are left to the people themselves to provide, unless your State Constitution or laws prohibit the formation of such organizations or has a complete ban against paramilitary training. Even in such States however, you may not have your right to peacefully assemble or keep and bear arms infringed upon without such acts violating the Constitution. Still, it is important to understand the laws of your State and its Constitution before joining or forming your own militia organization, civilian defense force or committee of safety and information.

While every man, woman and child who is capable of bearing arms, has the moral duty to protect life, liberty and property when they are in peril, the government may criminally prosecute you for performing or merely preparing to perform this duty. We have provided a review of each State's laws within our training center to help protect you in the proper exercise of these rights. We also provide a directory of active groups formed for these mutual protections on our website, provided the leaders of such groups have certified to operate following a set of basic ethical standards. While there are many other groups around the nation that have yet to certify with us, we cannot in good faith recommend them to you. If you are unable to find any certified group in your area, we can assist you in the formation of a new unit in and with the cooperation and support of your local community. As a leader of a new or existing militia organization, you may register with us for our basic course which will give you the opportunity to certify your group.

What does the militia do?

Since the primary purpose of the militia is to protect life, liberty and property, most groups train and organize for this specific purpose. Training usually includes activities related to communications, physical fitness, life saving techniques, weapon safety, marksmanship, drilling and formation movements, self-defense and a variety of military tactics.

Many groups also provide a broad array of important services to their local communities, usually under the direction of or cooperation with their local law enforcement agency or county sheriff. Such services might include the establishment of a neighborhood watch program, Civilian Emergency Response Teams (CERT), search and rescue teams, volunteer firefighters and even auxiliary police forces.

Federal and State obligations of the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrection and repel invasions exist when either called forth by Congress or the Governor of your State.  In these cases, you fall under the command of the President of the United States or your State Governor respectively.

It is entirely reasonable to conclude that those State and Federal functions would also apply locally within your community, and that you would fall under the command of your local elected militia officers, who are given such authority by the people of your community, i.e. the local civil authority within a political jurisdiction.

What does the American Militia Association do?

The American Militia Association exists to promote and enhance the general welfare of the nation as an agency for education, research and public service and to promote the readiness of the public to defend the Constitution of the United States of America. We provide educational services and tools to assist the public in learning about and discussing the history and current state of affairs of our nation, various roles and definitions of the militia, and suggested methods by which individuals and organizations might elect to operate as defenders of the Constitution, life, liberty and property.

We are involved in the direct promotion and support of individuals and groups, who call themselves 'militia' or some other related term, who have upon examination shown a basic understanding of our nation's history, the Constitution of the United States of America, various State laws and Federal regulations and the promise to submit themselves to the leadership of their locally elected militia officers.

We provide for the registration and certifications of such individuals and organizations who agree to operate themselves by a set of moral and ethical standards.  We also work directly with local political jurisdictions to enhance the strength and readiness of their local militia participants.

Finally, through grants, donations and the proceeds of fundraising activities, we provide direct charitable contributions to members of the public to aid in their defense.  This includes assistance with training costs, firearm transfer fees, establishment of local armories and more.

What can I do to help the efforts of militia?

The success of the militia in the face of a foreign or domestic enemy will depend on its strength and readiness. You may enhance the chance for success by joining with an established certified organization in your local area or forming your own. If you are unable to get involved or if you have the means, a donation of money or equipment directly to a local group or to the American Militia Association would be a tremendous help, as these are voluntary organizations that receive no State or Federal funding.

Isn't the militia made up of racists, terrorist or other extremists?

No. This misconception has been created through the efforts of political organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, who may be opposed to the broad ownership of guns, as well as broadcast organizations and members of the press, who often seek out the most vile actions of a few persons claiming to be patriots or members of a militia. Through their media campaigns and reporting, they highlight the misguided actions of such persons or groups either unknowingly or purposely to degrade the image of militia as a whole. Unfortunately, as in any society, there are individuals who have little or no tolerance of others based on race, ethnicity, religion or political points of view. Their hatred leads them to say and do things that are essentially evil. The majority of militia organizations will immediately remove any member discovered to have such views. Any organization that operates with a disregard for the rights and liberties of others, act to threaten or intimidate communities, or discriminates against members of any other group based on hatred or intolerance are not worthy to be considered as defenders of liberty. The American Militia Association will not certify such groups and will immediately revoke the certification of any group if provided with compelling evidence that the leadership of a previously certified organization conducts themselves in a violation of moral and ethical standards.

Is it legal for the militia to train, drill or march in a parade with weapons?

While each American has the right to keep and bear arms, some States have passed laws regarding the scope and form of weapon possession and regulations impeding paramilitary training. Two or more individuals are exercising their right to assemble and combining that activity with right to keep and bear arms when they conduct weapons training as part of militia activities. Some states have laws completely banning all such training activities regardless of intent or purpose, while others specifically exclude training with the knowledge or intent to commit an unlawful act, such as the breach of peace or insurrection. However, the power of the States to completely prohibit paramilitary training remains an unsettled question in the courts. You should check your own State and local laws for the existence of any rules or regulations regarding paramilitary training. An index and summary for each States' laws on this subject are available within our educational materials. A loophole or exception may exist to some anti-militia laws, enabling a group to train to some extent using paintball devices, imaginary weapons or toys, and by calling the group by a name which does not suggest that it is a militant organization.

Is the American Militia Association a national standing army?

No. The American Militia Association is not an armed force that possesses or claims any right or power to command or control the actions of any of its enrolled students, registered members or certified organizations. Our purpose is only to offer education and charity to all citizens of the United States of America. We do not endorse or condone the use of force for anything other than the defense of an individual's life or liberty.



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