Questions and Answers With The Wolf Pack : Militia Groups?

Question from John Y

Been reading your site for some time, own your book, and appreciate what you and the WolfPack have to offer.

I recently read your posts and comments about militia and also watched the Nat Geo show on the 3 militia groups. This got me thinking about what a militia is and I have to say, I’m confused. I’ve read the definitions and even looked at the Militia Acts of 1792 and 1903 to get a better understanding, but frankly I’m still confused.

If the National Guard is the modern day equivalent of the militias as outlined in the Constitution and subsequent Militia Acts, then what are the groups shown in the NatGeo show? Are they just another social group like the Rotatory Club or Shriner’s, or something else?

Thanks for your hard work on the blog. Keep it up.


  1. The National Guard is not the equivalent of a volunteer militia. The NG is a part-time extension of the US military. Here’s a great USA Today column on the subject that suggests militias are still needed to protect our freedom.

    • Biodsl,

      Good article that you linked to – thank you. But with all of the unconstitutional laws that have been passed and are being enforced, that pretty much have destroyed the U.S. Constitution already, can you tell me what (with proof) good those types of “Militia” groups have actually done to preserve and take back our rights that have already been lost?

      What is the point of running around in the woods, faces painted up, rifle in hand screaming “don’t tread on me” when everyday the Constitutional rights of Americans are being eroded further and are now to the point of being non-existent, and none of the “Militia” groups have done anything at all to stop this that I’m aware of and sadly if they did take up arms in an hour they would all be shot or face-down with hands and feet zip-tied and ready for shipment to a prison cell. Thanks.

      • Donna in MN says:

        The only way we can get our constitutional rights back civilly is from a saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword”, by casting votes for those who really support the constitution.

        If an administration gets so bad against the people and the majority of people revolt everywhere against the government, the military has to make the decision to kill their own families, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, neighbors and countrymen by orders of a madman who has also taken away their own rights.

      • Gault,
        Running around in the woods may not be all that these folks are doing. Many are members of small government groups like the Tea Party and 9/12. There is a lot going on in the grassroots, as the new silent majority gets ready for upcoming elections. These groups are often spoken about with disdain by both Dems and Repubs, because in the end, they fear them. 2010 was just a sample.

    • rick robison says:

      Here in Georgia, there are two types of militia. The organized militia ( national guard) and the unorganized militia ( the official State of Georgia militia). There are also private militias that are considered unorganized yet not the official state of Georgia militia.these militias are authorized in the Constitution of the Sate of Georgia. They are also not part of any hate group and are not on any government watch list as they are the official ( though unorganized) militia of the State of Georgia. personally , i thank God that i live here!

  2. Gault

    Your first question was for a definition of what a militia was. When you received a reply with a link to help you with this understanding you reply with a question expecting Biodsl to give you examples ( with proof ) of what good militias have done. I didn’t see him saying anything about militias being good or bad and maybe I’m just being grumpy this morning but I took your comment as you expect him to justify militia’s to you. Do your own research and make your own decisions.

    • JeffintheWest says:

      I agree. If you’ve already made your mind up and now are just trying to score points, then this is just trolling.

      If you genuinely are trying to figure out if a militia is something you want to be a part of, then you need to decide that for yourself based on your own opinions and research, not what we think or do. Biodsl gave you something that showed militias in a more positive light to offset the usual MSM position. You now have two different positions to start your own research from.

      That’s the essence of being free.

      By the way, you need to read the relevant portions of Title X, US Code which actually superseded the Militia Act of 1903. If you’re trying to understand the legal basis of militia, you should at least focus on the current law vice something no longer on the books.

    • poorman,

      I only see one comment from “Gault” here and it looks like the link was meant to answer the original question that was asked in the post…

      • MY bad
        The first question was from John Y. It was the show me with proof comment that got to me. Like I said maybe I was just grumpy this morning and took it wrong. If so then I apologize to Gualt but it seemed like he was trying to start an argument and I think we have had enough of those for awhile.

  3. Desert Fox says:

    Is anyone willing to join a Militia to help protect? or are we just talking. It’s a hard thing to decide…we have become accustomed to soft living and to complain a lot. Granted, no one is willing to get shot or imprisoned for protesting unlawfulness, and we are all hoping “someone else” starts. Remember Brazil..the people complained to the government by amassing crowds and got results! Also remember, our own government has purchased criminal amounts of ammunition with our own money to fight against us.

    • I don’t need to join a group. Where we live (along a rural road) there is a cluster of country boy families here at the edge of the town. If there is a crisis, we’ll be needed right here to protect the town from this side (mountainous terrain means no easy way around on this side). That’s our job.

  4. Hunker-Down says:

    My utopian version of a militia is one that can nullify bad government. One that supports a fair and responsible government. One that supports and improves neighborhoods and living standards. One that can kick ass when needed.

    The sheeple think the donkeys and elephants fill that roll.

    • Donna in MN says:

      I think a privately formed militia in a neighborhood will be needed when SHTF and law enforcers can’t make it to the area being attacked by marauders. If that militia protects the rights of the people in their homes, they are defending the constitution….. But if the government declares martial law* in your area, you know the constitution no longer applies and you have to do what the martial law dictates or you break “their” laws. They can also arrest you for just being suspect and held indefinately.

      This can produce a conumdrum for a militia, if they are told to hand over their weapons and the martial laws are cruel and full of immoral acts.

      • Hunker-Down says:

        Your point about martial law is a grave one.
        In order to be able to kick ass when needed it must be prepared to hide equipment and people, and be ready to loose a few battles in order to win the war.

      • I agree w/ having an armed group (whether u call it a militia or ur security team or something else) ready to guard ur neighborhood; that’s a very good idea. However, if the govt declares martial law, it’s hard to imagine any militia (or several militias merged) being able to stand up to a govt group including trained swat team, sheriff’s dept w/ military equipment coming down the street/road, & Nat’l Guard on their way.
        Now, if there were several large & well-trained militia’s able to work together & somehow get good intel about the govt plan, it just MIGHT be possible.

        • Hi RedC, The Taliban have managed to stand up to the US military, and there are far fewer Talibs than there are American deer hunters. And a lot less forests in Afghanistan.

          I hope we never see such a thing. Government would not have to be very bad to justify armed resistance, it would have to be truly awful. The costs to America of years of civil war like, say, the Lebanese civil war, are far too great to inflict on ourselves in any but the most awful circumstances.

          If those circumstances ever exist, then have at it. Until then, I hope we all confine ourselves to prepping, writing to our reps, and voting. And hoping that is enough. It may be.

    • HD,
      It’s the box theory. Ballot Box, Jury Box, and Cartridge Box.

  5. Actually a pretty good question, and as you can see from other comments, one that opens the doors to a lot of opinions.

    Traditionally, a militia is made up of all males of adult age (depending on what the culture considers “adult”), capable of bearing arms in defense of town/city/state etc.

    Today, Militia is defined a little better, and most states that have miltia clauses in the consitutions divide the term into two areas. The first is the “Organized Militia”, which generally means the Army and Air National Guard, but some (like Viriginia) add in a “defense force” (read: volunteers serving under state control in times of emergency) which may go by different names. The key part of this is that all forces are under state control, regardless of who equipped or trained them. As a note, though, National Guard can be actived to Federal status unter USC Title 10, with the approval of the Governor of that state. The Governor can say “no”, but I’m not aware of a case where that happened…

    The second part is the “Unorganized Militia”. This is any person (some states do not specify male or female) between the ages of 18 (some states as low as 16) and roughly 65, capable of bearing arms in the defense of the state. Technically, the milita groups you are asking about fall in this category. Unlike the Organized Militia, they can receive no state support or recognition, except in a time of war according to most state consitutions. Some states may “unoffically” recognize them, but that’s a state issue, and not common. There is no general “catch-all this is it definition” for militias, as their standing varies by state and that state’s constitution and laws.

    Unfortunately, in most cases, the groups you are asking about are basically social organizations. The impact they have on their community, politically, legal, and otherwise, vary based on their actions and the acceptance of the community.

    • Steve,

      Very good comment and explanation.

      Most readers here support what most of these groups are trying to do, but I think that the question many are asking is have they been effective at preventing the federal government from eroding our rights and the Constitution…

      At least that’s the #1 question I keep seeing in my email inbox.

    • JeffintheWest says:

      As I recall the organized state militias prior to the Civil War were mostly social organizations as well. This was especially true in the Northern states (the Southern states at least partially organized their state militias to suppress slave rebellions, so they took the whole “armed defense force” thing more seriously and trained their men harder than their northern sisters did). When the Civil War got under way, both sides activated and incorporated their militias (the South into the Confederate States Army, and the North into the “U.S. Volunteer Army” — as opposed to the official standing or “Regular Army of the United States,” which actually only about doubled in size during the war, still less than 75,000 men). In either case though, both sides spent months training their respective militias to get them in some kind of shape to fight, and their very first battles were usually massive comedies of errors as opposed to the highly professional fights they’d be having less than a year later.

      The bottom line I guess is that militias are always kind of a gray area and don’t really have the skills to do the job until they’ve received some real training. I don’t really count the National Guard as a “militia” any more since they are really more of a regular armed forces reserve organized into actual units, as opposed to the Individual Ready Reserves which are theoretically well-trained individuals subject to recall in the United States’ hour of need. The classic state militia, trained, organized and equipped at state expense, has ceased to exist in America for the most part.

      • Donna in MN says:

        Jeffinthewest, your last statement rings true. The south argued a constitutional violation of States Rights when they succeeded from the USA in the Civil War and organized their militia to defend their newly formed Confederacy states.

        When MD pointed out where militias have prevented an erosion of our constitution, I say no, but they sure gave it a hell of a try.

  6. Gault

    I haven’t had the opportunity to watch the show you speak of but I did want to throw in my two cents here. Maybe I’ll check it out this weekend.

    1. “Then what are the groups shown in the NatGeo show?”

    You just answered your own question there. It’s a tv show. Someone from NatGeo saw their Facebook page and called them up asking if they were willing to do a show. Some of them might be legit but some I’d imagine most are the weekend warrior types.

    2. “What is the point of running around in the woods, faces painted up, rifle in hand screaming “don’t tread on me”…”

    Not a damn thing. Exercise maybe? Again its a tv show. Anything done is for ratings. There might be a tinge of “Red Dawn” mentality there.

    3. “sadly if they did take up arms in an hour they would all be shot or face-down with hands and feet zip-tied and ready for shipment to a prison cell”

    Probably so. But if we come to a situation were its time to start fighting back, I’d hope that others would join the cause, not just militia members but everyone who believe our freedom is worth fighting for.

  7. Hooligan6 says:

    Excellent link, Bidsl! Thank you for pointing us to this article. It helps me considerably as I currently consider militia membership one day in the not-so-far future.

  8. Mike

    “But if we come to a situation were its time to start fighting back…”

    Good grief man, when do you think would be a good time to “start fighting back” when you’re already in a concentration camp.

    Damn, the constitution has already been essentially destroyed by those in power since 9/11, they can spy on you without a warrant, imprison you without a trial, take your property at will etc… etc.

    When would be a good time to fight back? The truth is no one is going to actually do anything but talk and beat their chest in front of their 6 other militia member drinking buddies…

    • Gault,
      why don’t you just come out and make your point? Make the statement and stop asking questions.

    • Hi Gault, The Constitution has been trampled on for a lot longer than since 9/11, but you are right, it has gotten a lot worse.

      Still, I think most would rather take losses through the peaceful political process in hopes of continuing the wins -like we have seen a lot of on gun issues, losses there, too, not withstanding- than seeing buildings crashing down, artillery being used on Americans, air strikes on Americans, truck bombings by Americans in American cities, atrocities on all sides, all of the things which go with a modern civil war.

      If we got into a civil war with even a chance of winning against an awful government, we would see all of those things, every day, for years. It would not be an “Unintended Consequences” series of surgical strikes against individual politicians. It might begin that way, but it would not stop there.

      We would see cities destroyed, mass graves, atrocities which would split our country like the first Civil War did, and for at least as long.

      We have to balance the stomach turning costs of a civil war against the costs of bad government. Government has to be really awful before the costs of government exceed the costs of civil war.

      I don’t know how to determine when that time has come. It isn’t a fine line but a big grey area, but I think we are still a long way away. At least I hope we are.

  9. RustyGunner says:

    Revolutions and civil wars happen in their own time. They can be helped along; we did that in the 18th century. A coordinated campaign to goad the government into violent action bore the desired fruit. Some people are doing that now, although the way events are unrolling I don’t think we’ll have to. Sometimes it’s an unplanned and accidental spark that sets the whole woodlot alight.

    You’re right, on our side of the ideological fence people are more inclined to hang onto a quiet, orderly life. Once in a while there’s a Ruby Ridge or a Waco, which flares and burns out. Each outrage, though, ratchets the tension up a little higher, and while it subsides to some extent with time it never entirely dies away. We still remember the name of the man who murdered Vicki Weaver and we punish those who do business with him.

    Once in a while, though, you get a spark that won’t go out. Nobody can predict what it would be, and it doesn’t even have to involve a mass movement initially. Look at the history of wars in Europe for examples of this. What it likely will involve is a cascade of increasingly violent responses that suck in more and more people and eventually become systemic. Where it would end, nobody can say. We got lucky in the 18th century; whether we’d be as lucky again is an open question.

    As to the militias, I’m all in favor. I agree they’re better suited to social and community-service roles than as fighting units, but they serve an unadvertised and more important purpose. They are the visible tip of the iceberg of irascible, ungovernable armed Americans. They remind those in power that we’re there.

    With the exception of a few circus clowns that grab headlines and provide blogfodder, most of the people in our ruling class are smart, clever, calculating folks. It would be a deadly mistake to assume that none would make our growing class stratification official and permanent if they saw a good chance. They look at the country and the people and weigh the cost. The purpose of the militia, and to a less visible degree armed Americans in general, is to raise the perceived cost of such a power grab in the minds of our rulers. It’s easy to laugh off the guys in camo, especially the people the media choose to point cameras at, but they aren’t harmless, and they aren’t alone, and our rulers understand that. There are millions of us, and it would require only a small minority to wreak bloody havoc in a conflict. Even if there’s no chance of winning the fight, we can destroy infrastructure, societal order, and any illusion that government is legitimate. If we keep the anticipated cost in lives, treasure and legitimacy sufficiently high, these calculating people may not act, and bloodshed may be averted.

    The war has already started, and is already being fought, even if not with violence right now. Our targets are the minds of those who seek to rule us, and our victory is measured in their fear to oppress us. Which side will you be on?

  10. When it starts it will be the 2nd shot heared around the world

  11. k. fields says:

    It seems to me that there should be another name for the “social club militias” as they don’t seem to want to fill the role designated for militias in the Constitution and US Code, Title 10.

    In both cases, the militia is to be called upon to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions. The Constitution spells out Congress’ role in use of the Militia, Title 10 spells out the President’s role.

    No where is there anything about the militia CREATING an insurrection to overthrow the elected government. Rules for the changes of government are clear in the Constitution – and they don’t include a coups d’état as a legal solution. The militia’s legal role is service to the nation, not usurpation.

    • RustyGunner says:

      …And overthrowing the government is not even on the radar of most people who would consider themselves “militia”. The paradigm is a defensive one, to protect against the unlawful use of force whether by mutant zombie bikers or ones’ own government. Except for the lunatic fringe that gets all the press attention, the militia is the government’s best ally, so long as the government colors inside the lines.

      As far as I’m concerned everyone who wants to can create the most intrusive nanny state in history and be as collectivist as they please, so long as anybody who wants out can opt out.

      • k. fields says:

        “so long as the government colors inside the lines.”
        But there lies the problem – according to existing regulation, it’s not the role of the militia to say what is inside and what is not. The militia’s role is to enforce the laws or to suppress rebellion as commanded by Congress or the President – which was the point I was making.
        I agree, there should be groups pressuring our government to follow the Constitution, but that is not the legal role of the militia. If a group is formed as a political action committee they should not be calling themselves a militia.

        • RustyGunner says:

          The current legal framework for the Militia makes the following distinction: The Organized Militia, composed of the various state National Guards, and the Reserve or Unorganized Militia, which is all other males of military age with a list of exemptions. The case could be made that in our modern day the sex and upper age limits would be overturned by courts. The President has the authority to call the Organized Militia into federal service, but no mention is made of the Reserve Militia. If there is an authority they are answerable to at all times it would probably be the governor or legislature of their state.

          The position of the Organized Militia is complicated by a dual status: Each member of a state National Guard is also enrolled in the Army National Guard, which is a reserve component of the US Army, so they’re federal whether they like it or not. Reserve Militia has no such encumbrance.

          Without reading the constitutions of all the states, I’d say the legal status of militias varies from state to state. North Carolina just refreshed their Militia statute, Maryland outlaws militias without the express permission of the governor, your mileage may vary. In any event, such militias as we are discussing are not organized to pressure the government, they exist to defend their homes and communities, regardless of the nature of the threat.

          • Tactical G-Ma says:

            If there is war on our grounds, we all will be soldiers or traitors, either militia or underground.

            Now we all must decide how to prepare for such an event. If you have the opportunity to join a militia then do your homework. Is your group official or unofficial. What is their mission statement. Are your actions, or those of that militia going to benefit your community or is it just another gang of wannabes or worse, terrorists.
            I believe there are so many ways legally and socially acceptable to prepare that I would not risk joining a group that calls itself a militia without sanction.
            Many of you don’t remember McCarthyism. The only difference between the Inquisition and the McCarthy era was fire. And it will be easy to chose people to blame should our situation get really bad.
            So, like your parents used to say, you are not only known for your actions but by the company you keep.

    • JeffintheWest says:

      I would find it difficult to believe that any law passed by any government (specifically, Title X, US Code) would in any way authorize or contemplate action against the government passing the law. Therefore, to say that a militia, acting in an insurrectionary way, is “acting illegally” is so patently self-evident as to be nonsense.

      And no militia that I’ve ever heard of, except of course for those skinhead loony tunes or Black Panther weirdos that self-proclaim themselves as dedicated to the overthrow of the government, would be organized with the intent of overthrowing said government.

      That being the case, I’m sorry to say, your argument of these points is noncupatory and irrelevant.

      Prior to the events of 1861, the State militias were not dedicated to opposing the Federal government either. Circumstances change, as do what is considered “legal” and “illegal” at the time. It might be worth noting that even Jefferson Davis, though illegally imprisoned (under the strict interpretation of the Constitution) for a time at Fortress Monroe, was never actually charged with any crime since they couldn’t find any statutes that he’d actually violated during the Civil War. Something to think about.

      • k. fields says:

        Jeff, you make some good points but I have a question. What do you see as the role of these social club militias? Are they indeed formed to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions? From what I have read here and from my own experiences with social club militias, the prevailing reason for their organization is in somehow preventing the federal government from eroding our rights and the Constitution. Yet nothing in the Constitution or state and federal law either authorizes or advocates such a role for the Militia. And yes, the Constitution IS clear on how to take action against the government.

        And that was the only point I was making in answer to John Y’s question. These groups do not conform to the ideals of a Constitutional Militia in any way and should, in my opinion, be called something else. I can completely understand the desire to somehow forge a connection to some false utopian past where the Militia was the guardian of all things good and true, but such a past never existed. The Militia has always subservient to authority and to the law and never acted as a political action group.

        Get together with your friends, wear your finest camo outfits, do paramilitary training, sign petitions against government action you don’t agree with, work to support candidates who believe in your vision for the future of the country – but don’t call your group a Militia – because it’s not.

      • RustyGunner says:


        I think you’re missing the point, but to address the points you raise:

        During the Revolution, militias were raised against the government long before independence was declared.

        The second Amendment itself is the preservation of the right of hue people to rise against the government.

        The ultimate authority in the United States is the people, individual Americans who have delegated some of their authority to the central government in order to safeguard their liberties. Once the government abandons that role and becomes predatory on the people, that consent is withdrawn and the people have the right to defend themselves.

  12. On another prepper site, I saw a thread w/ a post that said that during the Amer revolution, only 3% of the Amer colonies population actually joined in the fight against the British, but the poster wasn’t sure of that figure.

    Also, remember that partway thru the Amer revolution, Ben Franklin went to France & persuaded the French to send some troops to help fight the British, & the French support turned out to be a key for the Amer fighters -somewhat of a turning pt in the war…. which begs the question, is there any nation(s) today that would consider supporting Americans in fighting the US govt?

    • JeffintheWest says:

      Actually, if you study ANY revolutionary or violent resistance movement (e.g., the NLF, or the French Resistance), you will usually discover that roughly 3-5% is the maximum proportion of the population that will actively engage in resistance operations — and quite often it is much less; witness the FARC in Colombia, who kept their war going for over 40 years with just a few hundred actual fighters. Usually revolutionary sentiment breaks down population-wise as follows: roughly 10% of the population actively supports changing the government, roughly 10% of the population actively supports the existing government, and the other 80% really just want to be left alone and mind their own business, and will support whoever seems most likely to let them do that — thus the whole “hearts and minds” discussion during the Vietnam War. The definition of “actively support” in this case is “agree with the goal,” not necessarily being willing to risk their own skin fighting.

      If you can skew enough of that 80% towards at least tacitly supporting your movement (such as by not telling the other side about your movements, or maybe leaving some food in a cache somewhere for you) then you are on the road to victory. If the other side does so, then you will find it harder and harder to operate and will gradually lose the war.

      As far as outside support goes, I suspect that there would indeed be countries willing to support a revolutionary movement in America — even countries that “should” be actively supporting a repressive police state type government. Surely you can see that it would be in Russia’s and China’s interest at a minimum to have that kind of disruption and turbulence here in America — especially if they can keep the pot stirred by providing some information and AK-47s or whatever without it getting traced back to them. Remember, the enemy of my enemy is my friend….

  13. Hunker-Down says:



  14. riverrider says:

    what have they done? they have been a threat that to this day the .gov doesn’t want to tackle. that’s changing though with tdl’s dhs “homeland army”. did the founders start shooting at the first provocation? no, and not until all civil means had been exhausted. my question: what have YOU done?

  15. I think we had an example of when you do not have a true grass roots Militia, when the Boston marathon terror attack happened, The state told all of the sheeple to hide in their houses, and then went door to door looking for the “bad” guys, entering homes without warrant, and the sheeple complying. Now I know if that sort of thing happened where I live, it would be different, there still would be sheeple hiding in their homes, but most folks are armed here, and would be out doing what true militias do, hunting down the attackers. It is such a shame that only a few miles away from where the “Shot that was heard around the world” took place, the folks of Massachusetts have become metro-sexual beta males, afraid to own a gun, not able to defend/protect their families. I would have been on the street, armed, patrolling my neighborhood with like-minded friends and neighbors, not hiding in my house unarmed.

  16. Aeged-Well says:

    The “law” from 1903 10 USC 311 states:
    a)The militia of the United States consists of all 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.

    (b)The classes of the militia are—
    (1)the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

    (2)the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

    I disagree with the age limit and the gender limit.
    As to what the purpose of the Miltia, I leave to you to determin for your militia. The Virgina Defense Force and the Virginia Citizen Militia, along with the National Guard and Air National Guard. your mileage may vary.

    I did note that each has an upper age limit, that was ignored in the revolution.

    To put it bluntly the Nation Guard is just one part of the Militias.

  17. Well, I would also take exception to the age limit, but in the 1780’s, 45 was old, and it does not say that if you are older than 45 you can not be in the militia, it only states that you are not required to be part of the militia. The reality is the intention of the founders was that the people are to defend themselves, and should be ready to do so. As I have stated above, I know my neighbors would meet in-front of our homes and immediately organize into a secure force to protect and repel if a Boston-type scenario had occurred in our area.
    I am having a squirrel moment, Why is it in our country we are trying to make football players into sissy’s(football being “too violent” )and at the same time encourage young women to take up boxing and martial arts?
    I have no issues with women learning Martial arts(my daughter is a Black belt and an expert marksman), but why do we want our boys to be wimps?

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