Rick Perry Says States Can Ban Guns(!)

I suppose one could get that reading out of the plain language Gov. Perry used here, although I don't think that's what he meant. Saying precisely what he meant was not his strong point in the Presidential debates either, so it's no surprise that he may have phrased this the wrong way.
When it gets back to this issue of taking guns away from law abiding citizens and somehow know this will make our country safer, I don’t agree with that. I think most people in Texas don’t agree with that, and that is a state by state issue frankly that should be decided in the states and not again a rush to Washington, D.C. to centralize the decision making, and them to decide what is in the best interest for the citizens and the people of Florida and Texas. That’s for the people of these states to decide.
What he's actually saying is that he doesn't want the Federal government to undertake to enact any gun control laws; if he wants any new gun control laws, he'll pursue them in Texas. Fair enough.

It almost sounds like he's advocating for a 10th Amendment reading, but actually this is one case where the 10th does not apply. The relevant authority is quite clearly mapped elsewhere:
From Article I, Section 8, listing powers Congress shall have:

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Amendment Two:

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.
It sounds as though Congress has the authority to regulate the "arming" of the militia, provided that such regulation does not "infringe" upon the right of the People to keep and bear arms. There may be several readings here, but this appears to be a case where it actually is the Federal and not the state government that has whatever power there is to be had.


Eric Blair said...

Well, yes and no. The gov't can prescribe that the militia or whatever have a particular TO&E, and what training is supposed to be completed by said militia.

The states, however appoint the officers and actually train the troops. (And probably procure the equipment, although the Federal government may either pay for or subsidize the cost or production)

But Perry is also falling afoul of the state's rights argument, that he seems to be saying a state can make it's own regulations and effectively disarm it's populace through laws and regulation, (see Chicago or New Jersey)

Despite the Supreme Court ruling in Heller, there's obviously still lots of play in that argument.

Grim said...

Well, they train the troops 'according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.' That is to say that between the TO&E and the ability to prescribe how troops shall be trained, Congress has almost all the say; the only things it can't do is direct the appointment of officers, and infringe the right of the People to keep and bear arms.

All the state can do is appoint officers. (By the way, the Georgia militia -- currently called 'the State Defense Force' -- is required not to bear arms while in uniform. That seems like a strange approach to me, especially in a shall-issue state: the only time the people can't bear arms is when they are engaged in actual militia service.)

Eric Blair said...

That "Georgia militia" probably isn't in the sense that you are thinking of it. --there are several organizations
Like this here: http://www.georgiamilitia.net/membership.htm

Or this: http://www.no-debts.com/anti-federalist/defense.html

And I don't know what the hell that is. What I will bet cash money on is that the actual government of the state of Georgia doesn't have anything to do with it.

And if you think about it, the first organized group of people armed with weapons representing the govt that show up to anything are the police. The ongoing 'militarization' of the police has essentially turned them into what you might have used to think was a militia.

Something to think on there.

Eric Blair said...

And then stuff like this starts happening: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/accused-militia-members-arrests-stun-community/nQNKB/

(From the article, my impression is that the FBI arrested a bunch of blow-hards, but hey, you never know.)

Eric Blair said...

Ah, ok, I think I finally found what you were referring to: http://www.gasdf.com/

These guys are like the auxiliary police that you see in some places.

Useful, but not what I'd call a militia in the traditional sense of the word.

Eric Blair said...

And well-fed, too: http://www.gasdf.com/photo_gallery/SC_2835.jpg


Nicholas Darkwater said...

If the militia is "employed in the Service of the United States", then it has a responsiblity to provide arms, ammunition, &c to that end. Individual citizens should not be required to provide their own arms & ammo exclusively for a State or federal purpose.

As many writings of the Founding Fathers demonstrate, the Second Amendment provides an insurance that citizens cannot be beholden to the government as it applies to arms. Quite the contrary, the government is beholden to the people. The people had just recently finished a successful revolution against an oppressive government, & the Bill of Rights provides that they can do it again if necessary.

Grim said...


Yeah, the Georgia State Defense Force is actually run by the Adjutant General of the State of Georgia. They mostly do things like crowd control at major sporting events and/or hurricanes. We have a Civil Air Patrol too, who mostly does things like search and rescue in the mountains (but also handles crowd control at major events).

I think the state government considers them to be the official state militia, in any event. The The only thing keeping them from being armed is a state regulation, which could be set aside at any time. As the regulation says, "GSDF deployment with weapons for specialized missions such as OPFOR may be authorized by ACoS G3."

Are they a traditional militia? Not really; they're kind of the rump of one. But they could be returned to the function fairly easily; the structure is there, down to integration with National Guard norms for organization and command. It just isn't being used, really.

Mr. Darkwater:

Good point. That's another reading of the language that makes sense.