I am not an expert on anything. I am simply a civilian automation technician who is an Army combat vet deeply committed to the Constitution. I respect the Militia and what its intent is, but I also see the Militia struggling to maintain credibility and relevance especially against the anti-2A political winds that are ripping states like Virginia to shreds and doing everything possible to malign the Miltia. I'll try to make this post short and let the discussion fill the gaps.
First, let's define the Militia. The Constitution is rather vague on what exactly the Militia is, but it clearly treats the Militia as separate from the Army and Navy (and Air Force) (Article II, Section 2.1). The President is charged with calling forth the Militia in times of need, but there is no explicit requirement that the Militia must serve that calling (Article II, Section 2.1). Part of the reason that the Militia can't be required to serve is that the Militia is not an organization of anything; it is a condition of U.S. citizenship (10 USC, 246), which is why the Constitution does not define the Militia. As such, no individual can be compelled to serve the government (Selective Service [the Draft] notwithstanding, but more on that later). The Militia is first-and-foremost the security force of the individual, then to his family, then to his community, then to his city, and on to his state where he/she can join the National Guard if so inclined. The federal government is dead last in the hierarchy of priorities for the Militia.
Per the U.S. Constitution, Congress is charged with arming and disciplining the Militia. Where the Constitution refers to "regulated", it simply means to "maintain" a minimum level of preparedness (Amendment II). The bare minimum of this requirement is fulfilled in the First and Second Amendments: Congress must protect our freedom of association (to organize and train each other) and right to bear arms. We see every day how this is being challenged and there are all manner of reasons for it. This discussion is not about the merits of those reasons, but about what the Militia can do to represent the best reasons to fight anti-2A activism.
Here are the opportunities I see us missing:
1. Push Congress to expand the definition of Militia under 10 USC, 246. The Militia should be something along the lines of "every citizen of the United States" and not limited by physical ability, gender, or age as it is currently. Advocating for expansion of the definition will show that the entire country should be invested in the Militia; not just "able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in Section 313 of Title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard." Such an action will further strengthen our standing as the largest independent civilian military in the world. There is a major political battle with this that we must be aware of. I'm not certain, but I strongly suspect that 10 USC 246 is the underlying criteria for Selective Service. Expanding the definition will be argued to affect who qualifies for Selective Service. The counter-argument MUST be that it doesn't matter how the Militia is defined because the Militia is not an entity of the federal government, so the definition should have no bearing on the requirements of Selective Service. That false association has been part of what has soured public perception of the Militia as a useless, outdated novelty.
2. Develop a national pact among the organized Militias that addresses minimum firearm training standards. We should be THE entity that people look to for firearms training standards- not the NRA or any other lobbying organization. This is not a criticism of lobbying organizations, but simply a call for the Militia to take charge of matters that fall under its intent. Our trainers can certainly be NRA or USCCA certified, but the training must be under the umbrella of the minimum standards agreed upon by the organized Militias.
3. Become more visible in community engagement. Adopt a highway, commit to cleaning a park, food drives, etc. all show that the Militia is an extension of the community and not just some "conspiracy kooks" playing with firearms in the woods.
So, that's it: update the definition of the Militia, take control of civilian firearms training standards, and get more involved in the community. We must become relevant in the eyes of the general public, not just with each other. Strength lies in unity, so the more people we have who respect and support us the more successful the Militia will be. "The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to to John Cartwright, 5 June 1824