The NRA and the Militia



Policy Statement of the National Rifle Association on Extremist Organizations and Militia Groups

June 7, 1995

Appointed by NRA President Tom Washington at the February 4-5, 1995, Board of Directors Meeting, the Special Task Force to Review Militia Policy unanimously recommended reaffirmation of NRA's pre- existing policies and position. Following its report and subsequent review by the Legislative Policy Committee on May 18, 1995 at the NRA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, the Committee voted unanimously to recommend reaffirmation of NRA's pre-existing policies and position. Brought before the membership at the Annual Meeting of Members, with over 1,500 members assembled, the resolution to reaffirm NRA's pre-existing policy on extremist organizations adopted in 1964, and its 1994 statement on militias, was adopted. There were three dissenting votes. The Board of Directors, at their meeting on Tuesday, May 23, 1995, reaffirmed the following policy by unanimous vote:

WHEREAS the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association of America gathered at its Annual Meeting on May 22-23, 1995 in Phoenix, Arizona, desires to reaffirm its policy on extremist organizations adopted in 1964, and its 1994 statement on militias, therefore;

BE IT REAFFIRMED AND RESOLVED THAT:

The NRA vehemently disavows any connection with, or tacit approval of, any club or individual which advocates (1) the overthrow of duly constituted government authority, (2) subversive activities directed at any government, (3) the establishment or maintenance of private armies or group violence.

The NRA does not approve or support any group activities that properly belong to the national defense or the police.

The NRA does not approve or support any group that by force, violence, or subversion seeks to overthrow the Government and take the law into its own hands, or that endorses or espouses doctrines of operation in an extralegal manner.

The NRA stands squarely on the premise that the ownership of firearms must not be denied American citizens of good repute so long as the firearms are used for lawful purposes.

The NRA has insisted, does insist, and will continue to insist on the traditional right of American citizens to own and use firearms for lawful purposes.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT:

Although the NRA has not been involved in the formation of any citizen militia units, neither has the NRA discouraged, nor would NRA contemplate discouraging, exercise of any constitutional right.

The NRA strongly supports the Constitution of the United States, and the Second Amendment to that document, which guarantee the right of citizens to participate in militias for proper, lawful and constitutional purposes.

FURTHER, it is the NRA's view, based on law (Article I, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution; Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 311(a)), court precedents, and legal and historical interpretation, that all able-bodied persons, explicitly those between the ages of 17 and 45, are members of the Federal unorganized militia, except members of the organized state guards (for example, State Defense Forces which exist in about two dozen states), the National Guards of the various states (which also serve as a part of the National Guard of the United States, a military reserve subject to nationalization by the President of the United States), and certain government officials. An "organized citizen militia" must be created under the constitution itself and/or the laws of a state.

Title 10, U.S.C., clearly affirms the existence of the citizen militia; it is little changed since the original Militia Act of 1792 (except for the addition in this century of recognition of the third type of militia, the Federally supported National Guard, in addition to the enrolled and unenrolled militia).

Further, the individual right to own firearms is guaranteed by the Constitution, but the right to own firearms is not at all dependent upon the militia clause. The militia clause of the Second Amendment merely adds to the reason for the right, which is a common law right rooted in the right of protection of self, family and community.

The Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to arms; participation in a citizen militia organization does not make that right more valid nor any stronger.

(For NRA's analysis of the so-called "militia movement", featuring editorial commentary by Glenn Reynolds, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee, call the National Rifle Association at 1-800-392-8683 and request a copy of "Black Helicopters and Flights of Fantasy.")


NRA's Citizen Militia Statement

November 10, 1994

The Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association of America has not adopted a formal policy regarding the formation of citizen militia groups, such as has occurred in numerous states. However, by its Bylaws and policies the NRA strongly supports the Constitution of the United States, and the Second Amendment to that document, which guarantee the right of citizens to participate in militia for proper, lawful and constitutional purposes. Although the NRA has not been involved in the formation of any citizen militia units, neither has the NRA discouraged, nor would NRA contemplate discouraging, exercise of any constitutional right.

It is the NRA's view, based on law (Article I, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution; Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 311(a)), court precedents, and legal and historical interpretation, that all able-bodied persons, explicitly those between the ages of 17 and 45, are members of the Federal unorganized militia, except members of the organized state guards (for example, State Defense Forces which exist in about two dozen states), the National Guards of the various states (which also serve as a part of the National Guard of the United States, a military reserve subject to nationalization by the President of the United States), and certain government officials. An "organized citizen militia" must be created under the constitution itself and/or the laws of a state.

Title 10, U.S.C., clearly affirms the existence of the citizen militia; it is little changed since the original Militia Act of 1792 (except for the addition in this century of recognition of the third type of militia, the Federally supported National Guard, in addition to the enrolled and unenrolled militia).

Further, the individual right to own firearms is guaranteed by the Constitution, but the right to own firearms is not at all dependent upon the militia clause. The militia clause of the Second Amendment merely adds to the reason for the right, which is a common law right rooted in the right of protection of self, family and community.

The Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to arms; participation in a citizen militia organization does not make that right more valid nor any stronger.


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