What do we do when the federal government simply ignores the Second Amendment and acts in ways that infringe on our right to keep and bear arms? Well, James Madison laid out a blueprint in Federalist 46 before the Constitution was even ratified.
James Madison wrote in Federalist #46;
“Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.”
Here Madison says that the people of a whole possess the advantage of having arms and through their subordinate governments would be the greatest army on earth. It would be insurmountable odds for any standing army of any nation to conquer just by the vast numbers of the armed citizenry.
He further writes;
“Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence.”
Madison illustrates that not only can an armed citizenry repel any outside foreign forces by large standing armies, but also, as the very last resort, can serve as a check on a tyrannical central government. It also illustrates that the natural right of self-defense and arms is indeed an individual right.This, in its very essence, is why the founders restricted the authority of the central government when it come to arms though the Second Amendment.
But Madison goes on to provide a strategy that makes it possible to resist unconstitutional federal act without relying on arms – a moderate middle road between submission and revolution. He gave us a blueprint for stopping federal overreach before the Constitution was even ratified.That tool is the non-cooperation, and he assured Americans that the power of the states could keep the general government in check.
The states simply do NOT have to cooperate with the enforcement of unconstitutional federal acts concerning the right to keep and bear arms. This strategy has even been affirmed by the courts under what is known as the anti-commandeering doctrine.