RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS
The Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights.
our founding fathers had to say about gun control...
Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all
power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that
it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."-Thomas Jefferson.
that can give up liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither
liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of
legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as they are injurious
to others." -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (1781-1785).
hath shewn, that even under the best forms [of government] those entrusted with
power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."
-Thomas Jefferson, Bill for the More General diffusion of Knowledge (1778).
Constitution preserves) the advantage of being armed which Americans possess
over the people of almost every other nation...(where) the governments are
afraid to trust the people with arms." -James Madison.
that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined
nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted
and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent
homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an
armed man." -Thomas Jefferson, quoting Cesare Beccaria.
and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as
well as property. ...Horrid mischief would ensue were (the law-abiding) deprived
the use of them." -Thomas Paine.
every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back
to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested
in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the
text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was
passed." -Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823, The
Complete Jefferson, p322.
disarm the people (is) the best and most effectual way to enslave them..."
-George Mason, 3Elliot, Debates at 380.
best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly
armed." -Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-8.
with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that
jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you
give up that force, you are ruined...The great object is that every man be
armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.: -Patrick Henry.
preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of the people always
possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use
them..." -Richard Henry Lee writing in Letters from the Federal Farmer to
the Republic (1787-1788).
Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to prevent the
people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own
arms." -Samuel Adams, debates
it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant
and a fearful master." -George Washington.
civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before
be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the
injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in
their right to keep and bear their private arms." -Tench Coxe, Remarks on
the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution, under the
pseudonym "A Pennsylvanian" in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June
18, 1989 at col. 1.
right of the people to
keep and bear arms has been recognized by the General government; but the
best security of that right after all is, the military spirit, that taste for
martial exercises, which has always distinguished the free citizens of these
States...Such men form the best barrier to the liberties of America."
-gazette of the United States, October 14, 1789.
"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. the supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States." -Noah Webster, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the federal Constitution (1787) in Pamphlets to the Constitution of the United States (P. Ford, 1888).
" The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Author unknown