What is the Militia?

Without knowing the history or reading the laws surrounding it, the word “militia” can confuse conversations, particularly those about gun rights. Often, when using the Second Amendment as a defense for the right to bear arms, leftists will confidently claim that the militia refers to the military, not individuals, and of course, they can carry weapons.

The truth is that few have actually read the laws surrounding the militia and certainly not anyone arguing against gun rights.

We are first legally introduced to the militia in the Virginia and Federal Constitutions. In the Virginia Constitution article 1 section 13 states,

That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

Right there, in the Virginia Constitution the framers tied the right to bear arms to the militia, but it also assigns the right to bear arms to “the people”. As well, it says standing armies should be avoided, so the militia must be different than the army.

Fortunately, the law offers some clarification a bit later.

Section 44 Chapter 1 of the Virginia code, entitled “Military Laws of Virginia”, gives us the answers we are looking for. Section 44-1 explains that the Militia is made up of three classifications; the Virginia National Guard, the Virginia Defense Force, and the Unorganized Militia.

We know the Virginia National Guard as being a domestic military force under the control of the Governor. The Virginia Defense force is a small volunteer force that only comes into use when called.

The unorganized militia is the part most in question and the most important to the people.

The law describes the unorganized militia as being composed of all able-bodied residents of the Commonwealth between the ages of 16 and 55. So, according to the strict reading of the law, the unorganized militia is made up of most of the people of Virginia. This also aims the right to keep and bear arms squarely at the body of the people. If the militia consists of so many average citizens then the right to bear arms must apply to all.

Of course, in practice, the militia has never been so broadly defined. As we know, the law in reality is practiced very differently than how it is written. This cannot be more evident than how our government at all levels so nakedly disregards the plain language of the Constitution.

The truth is that the unorganized militia is made up of those who show up, those who do the work and take up arms when the cause is sufficient. It was said that during the American Revolution only three percent of the colonial population took up arms to fight the British. Clearly, this is a far smaller population than how the militia is legally described.

In modern times, a group has emerged that calls itself The Three Percenters based on that tradition. Officially this group does not claim to be the militia but they are made up of those who are very involved in militia activity. No one single group can officially claim to be the entire militia since the unorganized militia is so broad and so decentralized.

From a legal standpoint, the militia in Virginia already exists and consists of everyone aged 16 to 55. In reality, it is made up of those patriots willing to stand together and take up arms in a crisis. Getting like-minded people together can be a difficult task and so it is important to prepare now and develop the resources we know we will need in the future. Right now, residents of each county are coming together and organizing their militias as voluntary community organizations. Militia musters across the commonwealth are drawing hundreds to sign up at each event and more sign up every day. Now is the time for the Militia Rennaissance to bring about a renewed liberty in Virginia.

After our reestablishment, the militia will be a respected community organization that responds in emergencies and defends the people’s liberties against tyrannical power. We will be the sheepdogs defending the flock. Though unlike the police, we do not enforce the law, we only defend.

We at The Virginia Militia hope to be a resource to help local militias across the commonwealth. We help connect people and coordinate groups. We report on the militia and keep you informed on the movement. Our forum is used to help the militia plan events and communicate. We are also working on rolling out a series of resources to help local militias to organize and get started.

If you support the work we do and the work we will do in the future then please consider donating during this critical time.

2 thoughts on “What is the Militia?

  • gsfnn

    Everyone has already been conscripted and they don’t even know it!

  • LLT

    After finding your site and reading about the Militia, the one comment I have is that the age limit of 55 is disheartening. I’m a 61 Army Veteran and although I and others may be up in age, many would still defend on the front line. If not possible on the front line, then there are obviously many areas within the group where other talents could be utilized by some folks over 55. Just a thought.

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