The Dick Act, 1903 affirmed the National Guard as the primary organized reserve force. Between 1903 and the 1920’s, legislation was enacted that strengthened the Army National Guard as a component of the national defense force. The Dick Act of 1903 replaced the 1792 Militia Act and affirmed the National Guard as the Army’s primary organized reserve.

Snopes shares that the claim it invalidates all gun control laws is false and shares:

The American experience with the Spanish-American War of 1898 and its aftermath demonstrated the need for reform of the U.S. military. In an attempt to balance the competing interests of those who wanted the U.S. to maintain a much larger standing army and those who felt an expanded peacetime army was both too expensive and contrary to American tradition, Congress passed the Militia Act of 1903 (also known as the Dick Militia Act or the Dick Act, named for Ohio Congressman Charles Dick), which established the National Guard as the Army’s primary organized reserve.

Nothing in the Dick Act or any other item of U.S. legislation states that all members of the unorganized militia have an “absolute personal right to keep and bear arms of any type.” The term “unorganized militia” simply refers to a subset of private individuals (i.e., men between the ages of 17 and 45 who are not part of the National Guard or the Naval Militia), and those persons are subject to the same legislative limitations on firearm ownership and possession as any other private individuals. The existence and enforcement of modern laws limiting the ownership of certain types of firearms is prima facie evidence that those laws have not been “invalidated” by a piece of legislation enacted back in 1903. (And even if such a claim were true, then the unfettered right to keep and bear arms would not apply to men over the age of 45 or to any women, as neither of those groups falls within the legal definition of “unorganized militia.”)

  • The Dick Act of 1902 cannot be repealed; to do so would violate bills of attainder and ex post facto laws which would be yet another gross violation of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

No legislation is immune from being repealed, and in fact much of the content of the Dick Act has effectively been repealed through the passage of subsequent modifying legislation such as the Militia Act of 1908, the National Defense Act of 1916, and the National Defense Act of 1920. [1]



[1] Snopes

[2] TruthHouse

[3] CornellLaw