The growing list of some 250 sheriff’s around the country willing to resist the illegal Federal crackdown on private ownership of firearms is heartening. The problem is there is not much foundation for this resistance based on the authority of the U.S. Constitution.
Oath Keepers is an American nonprofit organization that advocates that its members (current and former U.S. military and law enforcement uphold the Constitution of the United States should they be ordered to violate it. The Oath Keepers’ motto is ‘Not On Our Watch.” And their stated objective is to resist those actions taken by the U.S. Government that overstep Constitutional boundaries.
That entire paragraph is a direct quote from the Oath Keepers website. MythBusters is grateful for the work of Oath Keepers and wish them success in mobilizing resistance to the encroaching Federal tyranny. The appeal for passive resistance is the first line of defense.
Anything more than that at present could get you in big trouble under the Constitution. MythBusters initial reaction was that Oath Keepers’ appeal to the U.S. Constitution could ultimately be turned against them. This is because the Constitution handed over almost all defense-related powers — including the militia — to the Federal government.
Myth: Local jurisdictions, especially the county sheriff, are authorized by the Constitution to organize armed resistance against the Federal government.
This myth showed up last week in our mail box in a letter from the Council On Revival. COR is a group devoted to the noble goal of a 24-year Master Plan For Rebuilding America. Unfortunately, they also are attempting to build on the sandy foundation of the United States Constitution. This sentence caught our eye:
“Hopefully such confrontations will not arise, but the probability of a tyrannical, socialistic government (if it degenerates to that) attacking citizens in any county would be GREATLY REDUCED if even 60% of all U.S. counties had their own “well regulated militia” armed and ready to fight to the death if necessary for their God-given, constitutional rights.”
MythBusters began this investigation with a careful reading of Article I of the United States Constitution. We came away with several key observations. First, only Congress, not the states is authorized “to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions.” Later Article I says that “No State shall, without the consent of Congress … keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace…or engage in war, unless actually invaded….”
Is Public Education Really Worth The Price?
You Get What You Pay For It — Nothing!
Your Child Deserves the Best
At A Price You Can Afford
For Only $500 Annual tuition!!
The only thing the states can do is 1) appoint the officers and 2) train the militia as specified by Congress. This seemed to confirm our initial hunch that the plan outlined in the previous paragraph may not be legal under the United States Constitution.
But we decided to dig deeper. Here’s a little project for you. Read through Article I of the U.S. Constitution and write down all the powers related to defense that the states gave away to Congress. Never mind, MythBusters did it for you. Here’s the list of supposedly “limited powers” related to defense that “we the people” turned over to the national government in 1788.
Congress has authority to:
- To lay & collect taxes…for the common defense
- To declare war….
- To raise & support armies
- To provide & maintain a navy
- To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces
- To provide for the calling forth the militia
1) to execute the laws of the Union
2) to suppress insurrections
3) to repel invasions
- To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia
- To provide for governing such part of them [the militia] as may be employed in the service of the United States
- To make all laws which shall be necessary & proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States
States have authority to:
- Appointment of the officers [of the militia]
- Training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress
States are specifically forbidden to:
- … keep troops, or ships of war, in time of peace
- …engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.
The central government has 13 positive powers related to “defense,” compared to the states two positives and two negatives. Do the algebra and that is 13 to zero in favor of the central government. They are no doubt smirking, “All of the power related to the militia belongs to us, but we’ll let you do all the heavy lifting of training them for us.” What a deal!
According to the Constitution the states can’t even defend themselves without permission from the Federal Congress. It would appear that anybody relying on the United States Constitution for defense against Federal tyranny needs to readjust their thinking cap.
The Bill of Rights never repealed the above powers. Does the 2nd Amendment’s call for a well-regulated militia, overturn the power delegated to Congress in Article I for “organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia…”? We don’t think so.
Conservatives like to boast that these are part of the “limited, delegated powers” that were granted to the Federal government in Article I. Everything not listed here is reserved to the states or to the people. Very comforting. The big question is, what is not listed here? Certainly not the right to regulate the militia.
Try this test: you have 1 minute to write down 1 legitimate, Biblical power of government that is not included on the list in Article I. OK, time’s up………Maybe you need more than a minute?
Unfortunately, the Constitution doesn’t allow for the well-regulated militia to be “organized legally under one’s own county sheriff or state governor,” as COR would like to believe. This is one of the main reasons that Patrick Henry so adamantly opposed the Constitution in the Virginia Ratifying Convention.
As he stated on June 9, 1788: “Are we at last brought to such an humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense?…. The power of arming the militia, and the means of purchasing arms, are taken from the states by the paramount powers of Congress….”
Case Closed: Oath Keepers and COR are asking former government officials to honor their oath to defend the United States Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. They could get what they ask for: Under the Constitution they themselves might be declared domestic enemies for trying to mobilize and encourage the states to “keep troops, or ships of war, in time of peace.”
This is why Patrick Henry said of the proposed Constitution, “I despise and abhor it.” Better to appeal to the “higher law” of God in the Bible. We can only conclude that God’s judgment is descending on this nation precisely because this covenant-breaking Constitution has rejected that very law. MythBusters Rating: Yellow Flag (caution) to Oath Keepers and COR for their dangerous reliance on the U.S. Constitution.