April 13th, 2010
06:13 PM ET

Evening Buzz: State-Run Militias Needed?

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tea party leaders in Oklahoma and some conservative members of the state legislature are calling for the creation of a private volunteer militia because they say the federal government is overstepping its powers.

Tonight on 360°, Anderson will talk with one of the politicians who supports the plan. He's State Sen. Randy Brogdon, who is also running for governor. "The Second Amendment deals directly with the right of an individual to keep and bear arms to protect themselves from an overreaching federal government," Brogdon told the Associated Press.

A little history lesson: The Second Amendment was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights. It reads: "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."

The Second Amendment is, of course, open to interpretation. The courts haven't definitively resolved what it protects. There's also the ongoing battle over state rights vs. federal powers.

There's another issue. 17 states have laws banning militias. Another 17, including Oklahoma, ban paramilitary training. Seven states ban both.

Critics of the proposal to form a private militia in Oklahoma say it could stoke extremism. They also say the National Guard already provides the state's military needs. There's also the question of how would the militia be organized and how would they even block federal mandates.

We'll dive into all of this and keep them honest.

Also tonight, comedian Chelsea Handler. She weighs in on Conan O'Brien's return to the late-night talk show war. And, Anderson puts her through a lightening round of questions.

Join us for all this and much more tonight at 10 p.m. ET. See you then.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. John

    It is really difficult for the Governor to call out a National Guard unit when they are deployed overseas. Once that unit is federalized it is no longer under the control of the Governor. The states need State Guard units that are not subject to being sent overseas.
    I am also sure that there are many citizens that have a lot of guns and ammo, but they are not trained or qualified to responed to an emergency. They lack a critical component which is a command and control element. With out that they are simply a armed mob.

    April 15, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  2. Boomer in Mo

    We've got state run militias now. They are called the National Guard and the governors can and do call them out. Plus, there's lots of citizens like me and my family members who are hunters, have every kind of gun it is legal to own and lots of ammo. We can protect ourselves and our neighbors if need be and are ready to do it. The laws of the state of Missouri on gun ownership and the right to use deadly force regulate us all we need to be regulated. We don't need an warmed over Sarah Palin sound bite to become public policy. The sooner she and the other extreme nuts in the tea party go away, the better off this country will be. The sane element of the tea party movement needs to kick the nuts out or their message is going to be drowned out by the laughter.

    April 14, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  3. Ronin

    You have a Military
    You have a National Guard
    You have a Police force
    Since when does a political organization require it's own army?
    Do the Democrats in OK have an Army? How about the Independants?
    What is this, Gangs of New York with Daniel Day Lewis playing the role of the would be govenor?
    Sounds like sedition and if this is the direction that the Tea Party is interested in going, they are no longer a political movement and now are in the business of insurrection. DISGUISTING!!
    Come on GOP ! Save yourselves!!! This Frankenstein monster you have created and allowed to grow is poised to run amok.

    April 14, 2010 at 9:11 am |
  4. Bob

    You people are crazy. You have obviously never read the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights or the Deceleration of Independence.

    I serve in the US Army and fully believe the states do need there own militia's. The National Guard is what it says....a National assist. They have spent more time overseas since the 1999 Kosovo campaign then they've spent at home. This is because the federal government offered a budget to help them many, many years ago and used it as a tool to take control.

    When a state emergency is declared, whos there to help when the Guard is deployed? FEMA? We saw New Orleans. Do we need a state militia to protect against an overbearing federal government? Maybe and maybe not. Did we need a Continental army when our British government over stepped its bound? Hhhmmm???

    April 14, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  5. John

    I believe that any state should have the right to form it's own state guard. Currently there are 22 states that have active state guard units.Some are armed and some are not. In either case they play very important role in protecting their state during natural disasters. Before you protray them as right wing radicals looking to over throw the Federal Government you should do your research and find out what the role of state gurad units is. Goto the State Guard Assoiciation of the United States to find out what these units do and which states care enough about their citizens to add this protection to their state.

    April 14, 2010 at 6:28 am |
  6. msbobbie

    Just because someone may not like the answer to a question does not mean an answer was not given.

    It all depends on what is is I suppose.

    I DID watch the show with Anderson Cooper and I do live in Oklahoma.

    Randy Brogdon is a Constitutional Conservative, a strong supporter of the Constitution of the United States, which limits the powers of Congress, and the Bill of Rights which protects the people from an over reaching Congress..

    There are radical splinter groups invading the T.E.A. Party movement; too small and weak to draw a crowd on their own, but making a lot of noise, calling themselves "tea partiers" and making the whole movement look bad.

    Senator Brogdon did say he does not favor a state run militia but supports the rights of individuals to keep and bear arms for personal protection.

    I support Randy Brogdon for Governor and his efforts to protect the State and the people of Oklahoma from the over reaching U.S. Congress:

    The Real ID Act
    The NAFTA Superhighway and eminent domain abuse
    Tenth Amendment Rights
    Second Amendment Rights
    A parent's right to decide how their children will be educated
    Lower taxes, smaller government, individual liberty.

    Randy has not embarrassed Oklahoma; the left wing report has put him on the defensive and pulled him off message, and it is probably intentional.


    April 14, 2010 at 5:59 am |
  7. Oliver

    I believe that people should have the right to bear arms when it comes to something like a hand gun, but semi automatics and automatics should always be banned to the public.

    As far as the "militia to maintain a free state" America was just 8 years old when that was adopted. Britain or any other world power could have come in an easily crushed us if they wanted to. So this amendment was enacted should the original militias that won the revolution, or any new militia could be re-organized and called to fight off would be invaders.

    The amendment also clearly says "STATE" as in ONE state, not "states." It is referring to The United States as one State as in a "sovereign state." The founding fathers were in favor of a centralized government, which is why the Articles of the Confederation was replaced by the constitution. If states had their own Militias to put the Federal government "in their place" every time they wanted to whine about something, it would be extremely counter intuitive to what the constitution was trying to accomplish

    Today the USA has the Army, MArines, Navy, Air Force, etc, a militia is not needed.

    April 14, 2010 at 5:19 am |
  8. Martin

    Brogden did not say he approved any Tea Party idea of an armed militia. He did say that the Feds had over reached and that is certainly true. Not one of our 77 counties voted by majority for the Socialist Obama but our Democratic governor has been supporting him hoping for DNC funds for reelection. I am ashamed of our governor.
    Most Oklahomans believe in the Constitution and individual responsibility and the Socialists are trying to throw both under the bus.

    April 14, 2010 at 3:15 am |
  9. lee

    the funny thing is, you get these nuts that use this as an excuse to get some thing like M60, AK47 or some other heavy weapons like that.

    who are you kidding? if you got a weapon like that, your not looking to defend your self, your looking to kill some people for some twisted reason, that amendment needs to be .... redefined, hunting weapons and other small arms like that, enjoy.

    all this guy is going to do is rub some one the wrong way and make them want to take action into their own hands or some thing.

    April 14, 2010 at 2:20 am |
  10. Chris

    Treason ....It's all treason .... like celebrating the confedreracy , one of the biggest loses of American life bc one the biggest act of treason . All they tought is consitution consitution consitution and the values of our founding fathers, but when it's not going their way they want their own interpitation of the laws to push this tea bagging agenda. Some of the most Un American people out there! And whats scary is they think they're more American than most .... what ignorance!

    April 14, 2010 at 2:13 am |
  11. Georgia G.

    I cannot believe this guy! Does he really think he can fight the Federal Government with a State Militia? Next he and the rest of the Cookoo
    conservatives will be purposing Oklahoma or all tea-party members secede from the Union!
    Some times it is hard to continue to believe in free speech when there are so many kooks out there who spout so much HATE!!

    April 14, 2010 at 1:48 am |
  12. stirling hall

    Thank you for the opportunity to weigh in on this issue. I have read the other writers and disagree with them all. I did not hear the interview lead toward a state militia nor any act of independent military action connected with the Tea Party. I did hear a man claim to support individual rights and state sovereignty as a constitutional mandate. Now is the time to reform the federalist central government. I think the corruption and greed of the old guard has spent itself into an unsustainable corner of the political universe. I would consider moving to Oklahoma to support the efforts of a leader who has the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution in their agenda.

    stirling hall

    April 14, 2010 at 1:31 am |
  13. connie

    sen. Randy Brogdon is an example of what I'm talking about . He will not give a yes or no answer because he doesn't want his respond to come back and ruin his chances with minority voters.

    April 14, 2010 at 1:29 am |
  14. Brett

    I'm from Oklahoma and i wholeheartedly disagree with my state even entertaining the idea of some back woods militia. Not everyone in Oklahoma feel the same as extreme right wing conservatives.

    April 14, 2010 at 1:23 am |
  15. mindy jones

    I was forced to move to Oklahoma, because my husband is in the air force and is stationed at Tinker AFB. Every other commercial here is for gun shows that tell you to buy guns before your constitutional rights are taken away from you. IT IS LUDACRIS!!! These people are crazy. I was born and raised in Washington state and Oklahoma is full of gun slingin, bible thumping, redneck ignorant freaks. That is why the governor had no idea what he was talking about!!!

    April 14, 2010 at 1:23 am |
  16. sam

    As an immigrant to the US, I have lived in Oklahoma for more than 22 years. I'm proud of this great state and grateful for its citizens' kindness. Just like previous commentators, I'm also chocked to read that there are fellow statesmen who believe that arming against fellow Americans is somehow patriotic. I would accept, if the feeling weren't inherently bigoted, that few extremists and racists would confine to their diluted corner in dismay on how a black man is the leader of the free world but I will neither accept nor support the notion that arming such idiots is the answer. Any state rep. or lawmaker who support such movement is no public servant in my onion, and I will do my part to vote them down as my legal right. God Bless America!

    April 14, 2010 at 12:10 am |
  17. RonnieO

    Some how this sounds like a very dumb thought ,something Sarah Palin would come up with. I would have this guy drug tested.

    April 14, 2010 at 12:02 am |
  18. Matt

    I live in Oklahoma. Sign me up. I am not racist nor live in a teepee or trailer park. I just believe enough in freedom to stand up for in the face of even our own federal government dissolving our constitution and bill of rights. Shouldn't we have made our country more free from the time our country started instead of spending so many years writing laws we must follow.

    April 14, 2010 at 12:00 am |
  19. Retta O

    Anderson, I appreciate your true approach to the core of complete journalistic news reporting. It's refreshing to read the comments from Oklahoma residents who disagree with the individual supposedly running for governor of their state.

    My suggestion is that all tea party individuals throughout our nation who favor organizing a militia should take their talents to Afghanistan and others countries around the world to fight the terrorists. Or perhaps they would fight in the Mexican drug wars. They just may appreciate America and everything it affords!!! Even during these difficult times!!!

    April 13, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
  20. Norma

    Good gosh amighty! Oklahoma militia now. I live in central Oklahoma and am really tired of the wackos that make the whole state look crazy. Our U,S, senators are bad enough.

    April 13, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
  21. Cheryl

    They seem to be good old boys who left their sheets at home..

    April 13, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
  22. Stefani

    This man makes me want to move to Oklahoma! Anyone who thinks our Government is not socialist I feel sorry for you!

    April 13, 2010 at 11:18 pm |
  23. mbfromit

    As for "armed millitias" well how do you think we won the FIRST American revolution? Governments serving their people's best interest have NO REASON to fear their population. The Fed's best move, if they truly fear "gun toating" Christians is to stop passing socialist legislation that is clearly illegal! The BEST way to start the ARMED REVOLUTION is to "try" and take Americans guns away. Personaly, I don't own one, but it may be time.

    April 13, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
  24. Miles

    Maybe when all the people of Ok get tired of the federal government pushing them around all us freedom loving people of TX that are having our borders overrun will be there to defend ya'll. April 19th was a tragic day in the state of OK, but citizens have to stick up for our rights or we're gonna end up in far worse shape!

    April 13, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
  25. jon scott

    FINALLY !! we find somebody that is speaking for the people and trying protect our rights. Anderson i think your going to find he has more support than you think.

    April 13, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
  26. Michelle

    States vs. Federal Power. I live in Arizona which has a tremendous problem with illegal immigration. The Federal Government and our elected officials do not appear to want to addresss the issue as they do not want to risk the hispanic vote. Perhaps, a state run militia would resolve the issue as the Feds do not appear to have a solution.

    As far as Ok, the dude is nuts.

    April 13, 2010 at 11:11 pm |
  27. Ike

    Look this guy and anyone like him is nuts.

    Pushing divisive States Rights over the uniting authority of the Federal Government was the final match that started the US Civil War.

    The Neo-Confederates love this stuff.

    But do we need another 500,000 dead on US soil to again prove the stupidity of such an idea?

    Obviously, this guy felt McVeigh was a patriot.

    I say not.

    April 13, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
  28. Myr Sylvia Nielsen

    I feel that the N.R.A is totally responsible for the Idea of a private militia in Oklahoma. The N.R.A. has the largest lobby in Washington
    and in my estimation is responsible for the rampent spread of fire arms in our country.
    A private militia in any state would only cause a myriad of new problems in a country that is already in crisis. Angry men with weapons in the streets of our cities can only add injury and confusion.
    America already has huge problems with guns in the hands of children we don't need angry adults with chips on their shoulders
    an an axe to grid doing the same thing.

    April 13, 2010 at 10:58 pm |
  29. Yolanda

    When I hear the word "militia" it reminds me of the country I left some 40 years ago. Militia represented repression; neighbors spying and accusing other neighbors who had different opinions. It is hard to think that the people from Oklahoma will elect a Governor promoting that idea.

    April 13, 2010 at 10:48 pm |
  30. David

    A little historical research indicates that in the late 1700's there was great distrust of the organized military and thus the civilian militia, comprised of ordinary armed citizens, was necessary to protect the people's Constitutional rights. Today over 200 years later, it seems that most of Americans distrust the government. Isn't it interesting that now the government wants to disarm the populus.

    Don't all service men and women take an oath to protect the constitution from enemies, foreign and domestic??? I believe it is very easy to define the foreign enemies but it seems very difficult to define the latter..I don't believe the latter is the general population...

    April 13, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
  31. Doug

    Brogden is way out of bounds. i live in Eastern Oklahoma, and not everyone in this state is playing in this guys ballgame. He just embarassed most of the people who live here.

    April 13, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  32. ardelle starnadori

    I am appaled. I cannot believe that rational citizens could even think like this and its frightening to think they have a following. Get educated folks. Most of us don't agree w you. We love our country and support our President. You're so called patriotism is misplaced.

    April 13, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  33. Kathy

    Anderson, As a resident of OKC, I was shocked and saddened to the learn a few, very few conservative members of our state legislation support creating a state run militia! As most Oklahomans solemnly observe the anniversary of April 19th I feel those representatives would do well in visiting the memorial museum to remember the direct result of this type of anti-government movement. I would suggest this visit to any individual or group that is advocating such action. I am embarrassed that my state is receiving national attention due to these few representatives that are so out of touch with their constituents. The voters of Oklahoma will not pass any legislation supporting this type of anti-government movement.

    April 13, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  34. walt p

    this guy just continued to refuse to give a straight answer to the question that if he supported armed tea party malitia. he tried to have it both ways.

    April 13, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  35. Seth Fullilove

    What I wish was asked to the senator of Oklahoma was "what violations of the constitution has been violated? Why form militias? I have not heard one thing concerning limitations on guns from this administration. Also healthcare. The government is well within their rights to require coverage because states being as partisan as they are can and do overlook and ignore the minority in their states and if not for the federal government, americans would continue to be ignored and have their voices and rights limited by each individual states. I which those questions would be asked by th media.

    April 13, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  36. Quelyn

    As an educator I am noticing that ever since President Obama's election the United States of America is becoming the Independent States of America who are courting, frankly, an environment of anarchy, mutiny and yes, perhaps, civil war....and few seem to care about the repercussion on the behavior of our children/teens. This is all disgraceful. >>>Thank you.

    April 13, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  37. Ann R

    I've been watching Anderson Cooper try to get a yes or no answer from Sen. Brogden from Oklahoma on the subject of a state militia. I am from Okahoma, and Sen. Brogden does not speak for me or a lot of other Oklahoman's. He is clearly appealing to the teaparty group in his run for election. He will not get my vote. How slickly he avoids the simple yes or no answer. Disgusting.

    April 13, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  38. Tom T

    this dude is simply crazy and people of OK should keep him out and away from the Gov. office

    April 13, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  39. Victor

    Its unfortunate that we fail to see what is happening here. The entire tea party movement is borne out of hatred. Where were all these tea partiers when Bush was in power? The number of militia groups have increased since January 2009. There a lot of hate speech during these tea party rallies...

    April 13, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  40. Tracy Albrecht

    I'd be interested to know Mr. Brodon's thoughts on the 2000 election that was removed from the state of Florida to the Supreme Court. Does he think that was a violation of 'state sovereignty?

    April 13, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  41. Wade

    Hello there. I live in Oklahoma and I can tell you the only problem this state has is a poorly run local government. Any claims that one of our "Republican" officials makes about how President Obama has destroyed the economy here is completely false. My elected officials have shamed this great State and made a mockery of Oklahoma.

    April 13, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
  42. Rod Brombacher

    We do not need these people! Randy Brogdon, forgets that the States' Rights issue was determined by the Civil War. It is a full moon? All these loons come out. This trend, however, will destroy the GOP for good and allow Democratic control of both houses for the near future. After these closeted militia come out and demonstrate that they want the dissolving of the Union, people will run to the Democrats for sanity and safety.

    April 13, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
  43. dougla campbell

    randy brogdon for president!!!!!!!!! i agreed the fed is out of control!!!!!

    April 13, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
  44. Gary Allen

    Randy Brogdan is a complete idiot! His IGNORANCE is the REAL problem in this country!

    April 13, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
  45. Annie Kate

    I thought the National Guard was each state's militia. If they add a voluntary militia to the mix who will have jurisdiction over what? Sounds like a lot of confusion could occur as well as the growth of extremism. Historically, the argument that the federal government is overstepping its bounds and infringing on states rights occurred previously in our history in the 1840s and 1850s and was one of the reasons the Civil War was started. It would be prudent for everyone to remember how terrible that war was, how it killed more combatants and non-combatants than any other military action in our country's history – we react too quickly with aggression when sitting down and working things out peacefully would probably yield better results.

    April 13, 2010 at 9:25 pm |

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