Thursday, June 26, 2008

Concerning The Militia

As my contribution to the inevitable discussions of the Supreme Court’s (uncomfortably narrow) decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, I present some information regarding the concept of “militia” here in the Peach State.

Article III, Section VI, Paragraph II of the state Constitution specifies that the General Assembly “shall have the power to provide by law for:”

(2) A militia and for the trial by courts-martial and nonjudicial punishment of its members, the discipline of whom, when not in federal exercise, shall be in accordance with law and the directives of the Governor acting as commander in chief.

The composition of the militia is far more expansive than most folks realize. For specifics, see O.C.G.A. 38-2-3:

Division and composition of militia; membership of unorganized militia

(a) The militia of the state shall be divided into the organized militia, the state reserve list, the state retired list, and the unorganized militia.

(b) The organized militia shall be composed of:
(1) An Army National Guard and an Air National Guard which forces, together with an inactive National Guard, when such is authorized by the laws of the United States and regulations issued pursuant thereto, shall comprise the Georgia National Guard;
(2) The Georgia Naval Militia whenever such a state force shall be duly organized; and
(3) The State Defense Force whenever such a state force shall be duly organized.

(c) The state reserve list and the state retired list shall include the persons who are lawfully carried thereon and such persons as may be transferred thereto or placed thereon by the Governor in accordance with this chapter.

(d) Subject to such exemptions to military duty as are created by the laws of the United States, the unorganized militia shall consist of all able-bodied male residents of the state between the ages of 17 and 45 who are not serving in any force of the organized militia or who are not on the state reserve list or the state retired list and who are, or who have declared their intention to become, citizens of the United States.


Thus, most military aged males in the state are in the unorganized militia, whether they realize it or not. To the best of my knowledge, the Georgia Naval Militia has never been organized. The State Defense Force, successor organization to a series of volunteer forces dating back to colonial times, was “re-authorized” in 1973 and is headquartered on Confederate Avenue in Atlanta.

Further, the unorganized militia is subject to O.C.G.A. 38-2-70:

Organizations from unorganized militia: applicable regulations; enlistment and volunteers:

To the extend permitted by the Constitution and laws of the United States, the Governor may:

(1) Order into active state service, recognize existing, or authorize the establishment of organizations of the unorganized militia, of designated classes thereof, or of volunteers therefore, as he may deem to be for the public interest;

(2) Prescribe for those organizations enumerated in paragraph (1) of this Code section such parts of the regulations governing the organized militia as may be applicable thereto or establish such regulations therefor, or both, as he may deem proper; and

(3) Provide for the separate organization of the unorganized militia and authorize the enlistment in such organizations of persons volunteering for such service who are not otherwise subject to military duty under Code Section 38-2-3.


State-level military affairs are administered by the Georgia Department of Defense (and how many readers realized that such a thing even existed?).

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2 comments:

Adrian said...

I've heard of the Georgia Department of Defense but have never learned how it and the Georgia National Guard works.

Flick said...

In Federalist Paper No. 29, Alexander Hamilton clarifies that "well regulated" does not mean restricted, but rather well trained, armed, and equipped. Hamilton also distinguishes the militia, consisting of "a large body of citizens," from what we now call the National Guard.

That with rights come responsibilities is widely if not universally accepted. So what is the responsibility that comes with the right to keep and bear arms? It’s in the opening phrase of the Second Amendment. "Owning guns and complaining to your representatives being sufficient to the security of a free state,..." Right? Well that’s what most gun owners seem to think.

For any who wish to take seriously the responsibility that comes with the right to keep and bear arms, I’d like to invite you to explore today’s militia at http://www.awrm.org. We might surprise you, especially if you still believe what the mainstream media and groups like the SPLC say about us.

Peace