Thank you, Jim, for your comment. I applaud the depth and thoroughness of your legal scholarship.
To clarify, I never suggested that THE militia does not exist in the United States. The whole world certainly knows that the US has a national militia, and no one would argue that it is not “alive and well”. Obviously, anyone who serves in the National Guard or any other Armed Forces branch is a member of the United States militia, and I sincerely apologize to anyone who took my words to imply otherwise.
The distinction I was making was that the sort of entirely state-, colony- or regionally organized militias that existed completely independently of a national militia in Revolutionary times and the early days of the US (e.g., the Minutemen of Massachusetts) do not exist today in any similar form. The statute you have cited refers to THE militia of the United States, which is by definition a NATIONAL, not a regional or local, militia. Whatever power the states may possess regarding the training of militias, the reality remains that the National Guard is, as its name suggests, national, and training is highly standardized across all states. Hence, THE US militia absolutely does exist, but government-run state or local militias that exist wholly independently of it do not. Again, this was the distinction I intended, and I apologize that my wording was unclear.
As for the “unorganized militia” to which you also refer, I think we can agree that given that (a) the overwhelming majority of its statutory members do not even know of its existence; and (b) statistics show that well over 60% of those members (conservatively, since gun ownership decreases with age in the US) do not have a single firearm at their disposal; its existence is more technical than practical. In any case, the very fact that it is unorganized calls into serious question whether it ultimately qualifies as “well-regulated”. And even setting all that aside, its existence is still a matter of national, not local or regional, law.
Finally, since you acknowledged that fringe groups calling themselves regional militias in the US today do not meet the legal standard of a militia, I believe we are in full agreement on that point.
I hope I have cleared up the matter. Thank you again for your very well-reasoned response. Honest and fact-based debate is something we will always welcome at The Millennial Source.
Ben — The Millennial Source