Did you know on April 26, 1994, the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners approved a resolution recognizing the “Escambia County Militia?” Essentially, if you’re an “able-bodied inhabitant” of Escambia County who is (or has declared your intention to become) a citizen of the United States, then you are a member of the “Escambia County Militia,” according to the resolution. True Story. According to Excerpts from the Escambia Board of County Commissioners meeting held on 04/26/1994 (see page 27 for referenced resolution), “The Board adopted a resolution recognizing the Escambia County Militia to consist of all able-bodied inhabitants who are or have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States. Escambia Clerk of Court, Document #: 1994000866; Book 0164; Page 1320″
Santa Rosa County first approved such a resolution (unanimously), followed by Commissions in neighboring Escambia and Okaloosa counties, which later passed almost identical resolutions.
NY Times (1994) picked up the story: County Creates Militia To Defend Gun Rights
U.S. Constitution, Amendment II “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Florida Constitution, Article 1, Section 2, under ‘Basic Rights’ states in part that “All natural persons…have inalienable rights, among which are the right to enjoy and defend life and liberty.”
Florida Constitution, Article 1, Section 8. Right to bear arms. – (a) The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the state shall not be infringed, except that the manner of bearing arms may be regulated by law.
George Washington: “A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”
George Mason: “I ask you sir, who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people except for a few public officials.” (Elliott, Debates, 425-426)
Thomas Jefferson: “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”, Proposal for a Virginia Constitution, 1 T. Jefferson Papers, 334 (C.J. Boyd, Ed. 1950)
Thomas Jefferson In his Commonplace Book, Jefferson quotes Cesare Beccaria from his seminal work, On Crimes and Punishment: “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms… disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
President James Madison: “…to support the Constitution, which is the cement of the Union, as well in its limitations as in its authorities; to respect the rights and authorities reserved to the States and to the people as equally incorporated with and essential to the success of the general system;… to keep within the requisite limits a standing military force, always remembering that an armed and trained militia is the firmest bulwark of republics – that without standing armies their liberty can never be in danger, nor with large ones safe;…” – President James Madison, First Inaugural address, Saturday, March 4, 1809.
Patrick Henry: “The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.” 1787, Speech at the Virginia Ratification Convention
Patrick Henry: “The people have a right to keep and bear arms.” (Elliott, Debates at 185)
Patrick Henry: “Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in our possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?, 3 Elliot Debates 168-169.
Samuel Adams: “That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” – Debates and Proceeding at the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 86-87 (Pierce & Hale, eds., Boston, 1850); 2 B. Schwartz, the Bill of Rights 675 (1971).