It could be argued that the Second Amendment gives Governors the right to build and control their own nuclear arsenal. That’s because the Amendment was written in order to give states the right to run a well-regulated militia that could defend the State from a standing army controlled by a tyrannical president.
To be clear, I don’t think Governors should actually control their own nukes, but it is within the intent and scope of the Second Amendment to argue that they have that right. My hope is that this post helps you see how outdated the Second Amendment has become and inspires a new amendment that re-writes the very outdated 2A.
Ever since Congress passed the Militia Act of 1903, the National Guard has been the inheritor of the State militia power described in the Second Amendment and in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution:
Civics Lesson: The Militia Act of 1903
The Militia Act of 1903, also known as the Efficiency in Militia Act of 1903 or the Dick Act, was legislation enacted by the United States Congress to create what would become the modern National Guard from a subset of the militia, and codify the circumstances under which the Guard could be federalized. It also provided federal funds to pay for equipment and training, including annual summer encampments. The new National Guard was to organize units of similar form and quality to those of the regular Army, and intended to achieve the same training, education, and readiness requirements as active duty units.
“To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”
So, each State’s governor is in charge of the well-regulated militia needed for the security of a free State. A state’s guard unit is entitled to have any and all weapons of war needed to withstand a federal army commanded by a tyrannical president. And since the Federal government keeps nuclear arms, shouldn’t each state if they desire them?
Individuals do have a right to keep weapons for personal self-defense as was decided by the Supreme Court’s Heller decision in 2008. In that decision, Justice Scalia explained how regulations on arms are built into the language of the Second Amendment, in that arms were limited only to what an individual could carry or bear in order to report for militia duty. Large systems like cannons or war ships were kept at a state-run armory or a naval base.
Scalia also wrote that the government continued to have an obligation to regulate firearms. He wrote:
“[L]ike most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. And: Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”
The idea that you should be able to own and keep any type of weapon you want, including either semi – or fully-automatic rifles and nuclear weapons is ridiculous. The Founders always meant for that stuff to be kept and used by the State-run militia, aka the National Guard.