Amendment II

I was just reading the Bill of Rights and I noticed something that I'm sure comes as no surprise to Constitutional scholars, but was new to me and I found interesting.

The Second Amendment reads:

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.

Gun control activists often argue that the milita was equivalent to today's National Guard, and much discussion centers around what a "well regulated" militia is. Are random people owning guns a "well regulated" militia? Or, could gun ownership be restricted to the National Guard, as the successor to the militia of the 1700s?

I just noticed that the Fifth Amendment also mentions the militia:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

This amendment makes a distinction between the "land or naval forces" and the "militia" which indicates to me that the Founders intended the militia not the same as the regular armed forces. Considering the way the National Guard is used today, can you say that they are different from the regular forces? Then again, we don't really have a militia any more.

I'm not really drawing any conclusions from this. As I said above, I'm sure other people have hashed this out at length. And furthermore, in a very real way, the gun control debate is dead at a national level. The gun rights activists have won. Consider that the Chair of the Democratic Party does not believe in national gun control beyond what we currently have.

But it was something I hadn't noticed before and I thought it was interesting.