Don't cloud debate

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The claim in Earl L. Brown's Jan. 25 letter ("A Historical View"), that "When our Constitution was written, there was no such thing as an organized militia in this country," is not true. Well-organized militias were part of the fabric of the North American colonies since the early 1600s.

The militias were essentially an extension of the English militia system and were vital for local defense. They had command structures, trained periodically and maintained armories for heavier weapons and other martial equipment. The colonial militias formed the backbone of the early Continental Army.

The Articles of Confederation (which predate the Constitution) basically codified the contemporary understanding of militia in Article VI: " ... every state shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage."

I suspect that the framers of the Bill of Rights would have had some familiarity with the quote above, but maybe they just forgot what militia meant.

The debate on gun control is hard enough. We don't need untruths like the ones in Mr. Brown's letter clouding the picture.

GARY A. COOPER
South Side


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