This is my archive of "famous" quotes. All are interesting, some are less interesting than others. Some are pro-RTKBA, others are anti. Many are verified and have cites of the source documents, others, sadly, do not. Those without source cites should be used with caution as I have never been able to verify their authenticity.
One note, you will see that all the quotes contemporary to the founding of the nation, those by the framers themselves or commentary on the acts of the framers are universally pro-RTKBA. Those that are anti-RTKBA generally seem to generally date from circa 1920 to present.
This unanimity of those early pro-RTKBA thoughts displayed here are not because I have excluded contemporaneous anti-RTKBA quotes, but is quite simply that:
I can't find any!! (trust me, I've looked for them)
Or they are best kept secret in human history, because even the enemies of the RTKBA can't locate any either.
And if they existed, you KNOW they'd be spouting them.
None survived to this day. (unlikely) The framers were notoriously efficient [and somewhat obsessive-compulsive] about keeping archives of their activity, thoughts, and debates. Probably because they knew the world was watching what the new Republic would do.
Or, and this fits the K.I.S.S. [keep it simple stupid] principle. The framers were simply totus porcus foaming-at-the-mouth, unrepentant, unabashed, unassailable, and unanimous supporters of the universal right to keep and bear arms by all the citizens.
If you examine the menu section under "Quotes" you will see that of the two major factions conflicting at the time of the Constitutional Convention, Federalist and Anti-Federalist, BOTH agreed that the right to arms was universal and necessary, although each for slightly different reasons.
The heavy type (filename.ASC), is simply a file name I use to organize the quotes.
[This is 10 USC 311 & 312, the US Code dealing with militia]
TITLE 10--ARMED FORCES
Section 311. Militia: composition and classes
(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males atleast 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are commissioned officers of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are—
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the
Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia
who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.
Section 312. Militia duty: exemptions
(a) The following persons are exempt from militia duty:
(1) The Vice President.
(2) The judicial and executive officers of the United States, the several States and Territories, Puerto Rico, and the Canal Zone.
(3) Members of the armed forces, except members who are not on active duty.
(4) Customhouse clerks.
(5) Persons employed by the United States in the transmission of mail.
(6) Workers employed in armories, arsenals, and naval shipyards of the United States.
(7) Pilots on navigable waters.
(8) Mariners in the sea service of a citizen of, or a merchant in, the United States.
[Notice that the President, as Commander in Chief, is NOT exempted from "militia duty?"]
"The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled Police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military. The hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws." (Edward Abbey, "The Right to Arms," Abbey’s Road [New York, 1979])
"It is reported that the Governor has said, that he has Three Things in Command from the Ministry, more grievous to the People, than any Thing hitherto made known. It is conjectured 1st, that the inhabitants of this province are to be disarmed."-An American Patriot, Sept 1768 (Probably Samuel Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence)
"Arms in the hands of citizens [may] be used at individual discretion, in private self-defense...."- John Adams
"And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress ... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms...."- Samuel Adams
"The Constitution shall never be construed. . . to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."-Samuel Adams, Debates & Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 86-87
"That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of The United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms..." (Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 86-87 (Peirce & Hale, eds., Boston, 1850))
"Here every private person is authorized to arm himself, and on the strength of this authority, I do not deny the inhabitants had a right to arm themselves at that time, for their defense, not for offence, that distinction is material and must be attended to." -John Adams, L. Kinvin Wroth and Hiller B. Zobel, ed., Legal Papers of John Adams, (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press: 1965), 3:248
"Military power.... will never awe a sensible American tamely to surrender his liberty." - Samuel Adams, 1768
"For the point to be made with respect to Congress and the Second Amendment is that the essential claim advanced by the NRA with respect to the Second Amendment is extremely strong... the constructive role of the NRA today, like the role of the ACLU in the 1920’s with respect to the First Amendment, ought itself not to be dismissed lightly."--William Van Alstyne, Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law, "The Second Amendment And The Personal Right to Arms," 1994
"The danger is that unscrupulous men, through the passage of scurrilous laws, may assure their retention in office and become, thereby, a class of nobility in fact if not in name."—anonymous delegate to the 1787 Constitutional convention in discussing the question of term limits.
"The argument that today’s National Guardsmen, members of a select militia, would constitute the only persons entitled to keep and bear arms has no historical foundation."
Joyce Lee Malcolm, Professor of History. Author, To Keep and Bear Arms (Harvard University Press 1994)
"...there must be arms, for the members of a community have need of them, and in their own hands, too, in order to maintain authority both against disobedient subjects and against external assailants;...."- Aristotle ‘ Politics’
The states’ rights reading puts great weight on the word ‘militia’, but this word appears only in the Amendment’s subordinate clause. The ultimate right to keep and bear arms belongs to ‘the people’ not ‘the states.’ As the language of the Tenth Amendment shows, these two are of course not identical when the constitution means ‘states’ it says so. Thus as noted above, ‘the people’ at the core of the Second Amendment are the same ‘people’ at the heart of the Preamble and the First Amendment, namely citizens."--Akil Amar, Professor of Law, Yale, The Bill of Rights as a Constitution, 100 Yale, (1990)
"Whenever people...entrust the defense of their country to a regular, standing army, composed of mercenaries, the power of that country will remain under the direction of the most wealthy citizens..." - "A Framer" in the independent gazetteer, 1791
"Just last year, the anti-gun organizations said they had no quarrel with long guns. This year they succeeded in banning 43 of them from importation."- James Jay Baker Guns, Nov 1989
"The danger (where there is any) from armed citizens, is only to the government, not to the society, and as long as they have nothing to revenge in the government (which they cannot have while it is in their own hands) there are many advantages in their being accustomed to the use of arms, and no possible disadvantage."- Joe Barlow
"You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence."-C.A. Beard
Cesare Beccaria initiated the modern movement for reform of the criminal law with publication of "On Crime and Punishment" (1764). In it he renounced the use of torture, and also capital punishment - while arguing, on the other hand, for appropriate sentences for crimes against property and particularly the person.
On laws against the possession of firearms he observed:
"False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils, except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are of such a nature. They disarm those only who are neither inclined or deter mined to commit crimes. Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, the most important of the code, will respect the less important and arbitrary ones, which can be violated with ease and impunity, and which, if strictly obeyed, would put an end to personal liberty - so dear to men, so dear to the enlightened legislator - and subject innocent persons to all the vexations that the guilty alone ought to suffer? 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. They ought to be designated as laws not preventive but fearful of crimes, produced by the tumultuous impression of a few isolated facts, and not by thoughtful consideration of the inconveniences and advantages of a universal decree."
"I hold that the distinctive difference between a free man and a slave is the right to possess arms, not so much, as has been stated, for the purpose of defending his property, as his liberty."—George Bennet, Member of British Parliament, speaking in opposition to the Seizure of Arms act in the House of Commons, Dec. 14, 1819.
"For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing of concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise. But it should not be forgotten, that it is not only a part of the right that is secured by the constitution; it is the right entire and complete, as it existed at the adoption of the constitution; and if any portion of that right be impaired, immaterial how small the part may be, and immaterial the order of time at which it be done, it is equally forbidden by the constitution." [Bliss vs. Commonwealth, 12 Ky. (2 Litt.) 90, at 92, and 93, 13 Am. Dec. 251 (1822)]
"no other than either that residuum [remainder] of natural liberty, which is not required by the laws of the society to be sacrificed to public convenience: or else those civil privileges, which society hath engaged to provide, in lieu of the natural liberties so given up by individuals." -William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, William Carey Jones, ed., (San Francisco, Bancroft-Whitney Co.: 1916), 219.
"The fifth and last auxiliary right of the subject, that I shall at present mention, is that of having arms for their defense, suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law. Which is also declared by the same statute 1. W. & M., st. 2, c. 2, and it is indeed a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self- preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restraint the violence of oppression."-William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, William Carey Jones, ed., (San Francisco, Bancroft-Whitney Co.: 1916), 246.
"And, lastly, to vindicate these rights, when actually violated or attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next, to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for redress of grievances; and lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defense. -William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, William Carey Jones, ed., (San Francisco, Bancroft-Whitney Co.: 1916), 247.
"He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion."- James Burgh
"The possession of arms is the distinction between freeman and slave."- James Burgh
"No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people."-James Burgh
"....there is no end to observations on the difference between the measures likely to be pursued by a minister backed by a standing army, and those of a court awed by the fear of an armed people."- James Burgh
"No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people. The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave. He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion."—James Burgh, Political Disquisitions: Or, an Enquiry into Public Errors, Defects, and Abuses [London, 1774-1775])
"Wherever the King’s forces point, militia.... assemble in twenty-four hours."--General John Burgoyne, 1777
Gentleman Johnny surrendered to American forces, largely militia, after the Battle of Saratoga.
"Every law-abiding American has, according to the Constitution, a right to own a firearm. Our Founding Fathers drafted the Second Amendment to the Constitution to ensure a self-reliant citizenry—men and women proud to stand on their own two feet and never willing to sell their freedom to a self-indulgent bureaucracy. George Bush (the elder) 2 Sept 88
"Federal licensing, gun registration, background checks, or a ban on firearms to name a few, would only restrict the rights of the law abiding, leaving criminals free to commit crimes with illegal weapons." -George Bush (the elder) 2 Sept 88
"As things are right now, we are losing our freedom to have guns, but we can still spit on the flag."-Harlon Carter
"Tell the American people never to lose their guns. As long as they keep their guns in their hands, whatever happened here will never happen there." -(Name withheld) New Dimensions, Dec 1989 (A Chinese student in the United States quoting what her family, in Bejing, China, told her)
"If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may be even a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves."--Winston Churchill
MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO, the great philosopher, senator and lawyer, set forth the most complete discussion in the Roman republican tradition of the natural right to have and use arms for the public defense against tyranny and for the private defense against attack.
This following statement was given by him in 53 B.C. during his defense of Titus Annius Milo who, after acting in self-defense, was accused of murder by political enemies. .
---------- Cicero, 53 B.C. ----------
"And indeed, gentleman, there exists a law, not written down anywhere but inborn into our hearts; a law which comes to us not by training or custom or reading but by derivation and absorption and adoption from nature itself; a law which has come to us not from theory but from practice, not by instruction but by natural intuition. I refer to the law which lays it down that, if our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robberies or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right. When weapons reduce them to silence, the laws no longer expect one to await their pronouncements. FOR PEOPLE WHO DECIDE TO WAIT FOR THESE WILL HAVE TO WAIT FOR JUSTICE, TOO - AND MEAN WHILE THEY MUST SUFFER INJUSTICE FIRST. Indeed, even the wisdom of the law itself, by a sort of tacit implication, permits self defense, because it does not actually forbid men to kill; what it does, instead, is to forbid the bearing of a weapon with the intention to kill. ..."-Marcus Tullius Cicero
"The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the "high powers" delegated directly to the citizen, and ‘is excepted out of the general powers of government.’ A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power." [Cockrum v. State, 24 Tex. 394, at 401-402 (1859)]
According to a 1952 Collier’s New World Dictionary, there are a number of separate definitions of "regulate."
1. To control, direct, or govern according to a rule, principle, or system.
2. To adjust to a particular standard, rate, degree, amount, etc: as, regulate the heat.
3. To adjust so as to make operate accurately, as a clock.
4. To make uniform, , methodical, orderly, etc.
"The Right is General. It may be supposed by the phraseology of this provision that the right to keep and bear arms was only guaranteed to the military, but this would be an interpretation not warranted by the intent ... but the law may make provisions of the enrollment of all who are fit to perform military duty or of a small number only, or it may wholly omit to make any provision at all; and if the right were limited to those enrolled, the purpose of this guaranty might be defeated altogether by the action or neglect to act of the government it was meant to hold in check. The meaning of the provision undoubtedly is that the people from whom the militia must be taken, shall have the right to keep and bar arms, and they need no permission or regulation of the law for the purpose. But this enables the government to have a well regulated militia; for to bear arms implies something more than mere keeping; it implies the learning to handle and use them in a way that makes those who keep them ready for their efficient use; in other words, it implies a right to meet for voluntary discipline in arms, observing in doing so the laws of public order."
Michigan Supreme Court Justice Thomas McIntyre Cooley, General Principles of Constitutional Law, 3rd ed. 298-299 (1898)
"As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed in their right to keep and bear their private arms."- Tenche Coxe, "Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution," Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 23, 1789.
"...the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms."- Tench Coxe (Written in support of the Constitution while it was being considered for ratification.)
"Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth right of an American... The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people" --(Tench Coxe, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788)
"The power of the sword, say the minority of Pennsylvania, is in the hands of Congress. My friends and countrymen, it is not so, for THE POWERS OF THE SWORD ARE IN THE HANDS OF THE YEOMANRY OF AMERICA FROM SIXTEEN TO SIXTY. The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? are they not ourselves. Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress has no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American.--Tenche Coxe, Pennsylvania Gazette, 20 Feb. 1788, in 2 Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, Mfm. Supp.) at 1778-1780.
"This [the right to arms] is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second Amendment declares that it shall not be infringed; but this, as has been seen, means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress."- U.S. v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1875)
July 21, 1789. committee report draft of the Second Amendment revised to:
 "A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms."
Charlene Bangs Bickford and Helen E. Veit, ed., Documentary History of the First Federal Congress 1789-91, Vol. 5, (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press: 1986), 28.
On August 24th, the House completed its deliberations on the Bill of Rights. As a result of renumbering and revisions, the "right to keep and bear arms" amendment was now:
Article the Fifth
A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the People, being the best security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.--Charlene Bangs Bickford and Helen E. Veit, ed., Documentary History of the First Federal Congress 1789-91, Vol. 5, (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press: 1986), 36.
"To trust arms in the hands of the people at large has, in Europe, been believed... to be an experiment fraught only with danger. Here by a long trial it has been proved to be perfectly harmless...If the government be equitable; if it be reasonable in its exactions; if proper attention be paid to the education of children in knowledge and religion, few men will be disposed to use arms, unless for their amusement, and for the defence of themselves and their country." -Timothy Dwight, Travels in New England and New York [London 1823]
"By the rude Bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled.
Here once embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world!"
-Ralph Waldo Emerson on the Battle of Lexington, April 19 1775
[d]id endeavor to subvert ... the laws and liberties of this kingdom. ...
5. By raising and keeping a standing army within this kingdom in time of peace, without consent of parliament, and quartering soldiers contrary to law.
6. By causing several good subjects, being protestants, to be disarmed, at the same time when papists were both armed and employed, contrary to law.
English Bill of Rights, Walter Laquer and Barry Rubin, Ed., The Human Rights Reader, (New York, New American Library: 1979), 104.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."-Benjamin Franklin
"Now, in Britain, ..., the private citizen cannot own the standard service rifle. The idea that the armed citizen is a patriot is gone; ... Such is the contempt our government has for its people."--J.F. Kallinicos Guns & Ammo, Nov 1989
"I would argue that liberty is indivisible. The men who wrote both the British and American bills of rights knew this. We are fighting for more than the right to own guns."- J.F. Kallinicos Guns & Ammo, Nov 1989
"Do they have gun control in China? How about Hungary and other Soviet Bloc Nations? Were the blacks in this country permitted to own firearms before the Civil War? How about the Jews in World War II Germany? ... The Bill of Rights was intended to protect the people from the government." --L. E. Cusey Guns & Ammo, Nov 1989
"The whole of the Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals. . . It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of." --Albert Gallatin, of the New York Historical Society,
"The 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.)
"The Second Amendment ‘was intended to secure the people against the mal-administration of the Government ; if we could suppose that, in all cases, the rights of the people would be attended to, the occasion for guards of this kind would be removed."--Elbridge Gerry (During the debate over the ratification of the Second Amendment at the Constitutional Convention.)
"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins."--Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress, at 750, August 17, 1789
"A martial nobility and stubborn commons, possessed of arms, tenacious of property, and collected into constitutional assemblies form the only balance capable of preserving a free constitution against the enterprise of an aspiring prince."--Edward Gibbon ‘Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’
"You see that we must again resume the partisan war."--Nathaniel Greene
"The Americans would be less dangerous if they had a regular army."--Frederick Haldimand
"....if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens. Where in the name of common sense are our fears to end if we may not trust our sons, our brothers, our neighbors, our fellow citizens?"--Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers (No 29)
"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."--Alexander Hamilton (First Secretary of the Treasury of the United States)
"If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government".--Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers # 28
"That the legislature in some future period may Confine all the fire Arms to some publick (sic) Magazine and thereby deprive the people of the benefit of the use of them." --O & M Handlin (eds), The Popular Sources of Political Authority: Documents on the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, 584 (1966).
"When Nuclear dust has extinguished their betters, Will the turtles surviving wear people-neck sweaters?"--E.Y. Harburg
"The polite society is not one in which nobody is armed, but rather one in which everybody is armed."- Robert A. Heinlein
"The people of the various provinces are strictly forbidden to have in their possession any swords, bows, spears, firearms, or other type of arms. The possession of these elements makes difficult the collection of taxes and dues and tends to permit uprising. Therefore, the heads of provinces, official agents, and deputies are ordered to collect all weapons mentioned above and turn them over to the government."--Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Shogun, 29 August, 1558
"A covenant not to defend myself from force by force, is always void... For the right men have by Nature to protect themselves, when none else can protect them, can by no covenant be relinquished." -Thomas Hobbes, ‘Leviathon’
"The right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safe-guard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically had proved to be always possible." -- Hubert Humphrey
"It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error." -- Justice Robert H. Jackson
"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the Body, it gives boldness, enterprise and
independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks."- Thomas Jefferson
"The time to guard against corruption and tyranny is before they shall have gotten hold of us."- Thomas Jefferson
"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government"- Thomas Jefferson
"What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that its people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms!"- Thomas Jefferson
"On 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.
"No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."-Thomas Jefferson, Proposal Virginia Constitution, 1 T. Jefferson Papers, 334 (C.J. Boyd, Ed, 1950)
"And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms....The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants" --Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William S. Smith in 1787. ‘Jefferson On Democracy’, 20, S. Padover ed., 1939)
"What country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, Dec. 20, 1787, Papers of Jefferson, ed. Boyd et al.)
"I hold that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions indeed generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government." - Thomas Jefferson in a letter to James Madison, Jan 30, 1787.
"The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors."--Thomas Jefferson, 1807
"Bind them down by the chains of the Constitution where they can do no mischief."--Thomas Jefferson
"Our legislators are not sufficiently appraised of the rightful limits of their power; that their true office is to declare and enforce our natural rights and duties, and to take none of them from us."—Thomas Jefferson
"But you can bet your boots that once they took away our guns, if we allow such a silly thing to happen, we’d see guns all right, just like the Chinese students are seeing them now, in the hands of monsters for whom no target is quite so irresistible as an assemblage of unarmed humans attempting to petition their government for a redress of grievances."- Jesse Hill Ford, USA Today
"The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them."--Zachariah Johnson, 3 Elliot, Debates at 646
"The maintenance of the right to bear arms is a most essential one to every free people and should not be whittled down by technical constructions." [State vs. Kerner, 181 N.C. 574, 107 S.E. 222, at 224 (1921)]
"It is true that the invention of guns with a carrying range of probably 100 miles, submarines, deadly gases, and of airplanes carrying bombs and other devices, have much reduced the importance of the pistol in warfare except at close range. But the ordinary private citizen, whose right to carry arms cannot be infringed upon, is not likely to purchase these expensive and most modern devices just named. To him the rifle, the musket, the shotgun, and the pistol are about the only arms which he could be expected to "bear," and his right to do this is that which is guaranteed by the Constitution."--State v. Kerner, 181 N.C. 576 (1921)
"When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed, They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said ‘Stick to the Devil you Know.’"
--Rudyard Kipling, "The Gods of the Copybook Headings" (1919). ("Cambria" was the ancient name for Wales.)
"If the laws of the union were oppressive, they could not carry them into effect, if the people were possessed of the proper means of defense." - William Lenoir
"Thus, after over three centuries, the right to bear arms is becoming anachronistic. As the policing of society becomes more efficient, the need for arms for personal self-defense becomes more irrelevant; and as the society itself becomes more complex, the military power in the hands of the government more powerful, and the government itself more responsive, the right to bear arms becomes more futile, meaningless and dangerous."--John Levin, "The Right To Bear Arms: The Development Of The American Experience", Chicago-Kent Law Review, Fall-Winter 1971.
"It is difficult to read Miller as rendering the Second Amendment meaningless as a control on Congress. Ironically, Miller can be read to support some of the most extreme anti-gun control arguments, e.g., that the individual citizen has a right to keep and bear bazookas, rocket launchers, and other armaments that are clearly relevant to modern warfare, including of course, assault weapons."—Sanford Levinson, The Embarrassing Second Amendment, Yale Law Review, 1989. [He’s a Professor of Law at the University of Texas Law School.]
"The Supreme Court has almost shamelessly refused to discuss the issue [the Second Amendment]...."—Sanford Levinson, ibid.
"We, the people are the rightful masters of both congress and the courts - not to overthrow the constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the constitution." - Abraham. Lincoln
"Those who suppress freedom always do so in the name of law and order."--John Lindsay
"The people cannot delegate to government the power to do anything which would be unlawful for them to do themselves."—John Locke
"A new prince has never been known to disarm his subjects, on the contrary, when he has found them disarmed he has always armed them, for by arming them these arms become your own, those that you suspected become faithful and those that were faithful remain so, and from being mere subjects become your partisans. ...But when you disarm them, you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them either through cowardice or lack of confidence, and both of these options generate hatred against you."- Niccolo Machiavelli ‘The Prince’.
"You must understand, therefore, that there are two ways of fighting: by law or by force. The first way is natural to men, and the second to beasts. But as the first way often proves inadequate one must needs have recourse to the second." (Niccolo Machiavelli in "The Prince")
"You are bound to meet misfortune if you are unarmed because, among other reasons, people despise you....There is simply no comparison between a man who is armed and one who is not. It is unreasonable to expect that an armed man should obey one who is unarmed, or that an unarmed man should remain safe and secure when his servants are armed. In the latter case, there will be suspicion on the one hand and contempt on the other, making cooperation impossible." (Niccolo Machiavelli in "The Prince")
"A government resting on the minority is an aristocracy, not a Republic, and could not be safe with a numerical and physical force against it, without a standing army, an enslaved press and a disarmed populace."- James Madison, The Federalist Papers (No. 46).
Americans need never fear their government because of "the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation."- James Madison, The Federalist Papers (No. 46).
"Let a regular army , fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed . . . of twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near a half a million citizens with arms in their hands . . ."-James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 46
"Armed citizens are a barrier against the enterprises of ambition more effective, more insurmountable, than any which a simple government of any form can admit of."- James Madison
"They relate 1st to private rights."- James Madison, (In the notes he used to speak in support of the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution.)
"Americans have the right and advantage of being armed- unlike those citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."- James Madison, The Federalist Papers #46.
"The right of the people to keep and bear...arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country..."-James Madison,I Annals of Congress 434 (June 8,1789)
"It is not certain that with this aid alone [possession of arms], they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to posses the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will, and direct the national force; and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned, in spite of the legions which surround it." --James Madison, "Federalist No. 46"
On June 8, 1789, James Madison introduced a resolution:
"That the following amendments ought to be proposed by Congress to the legislatures of the states, to become, if ratified by three fourths thereof, part of the constitution of the United States. [others ommitted] The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person."--James Madison, Charlene Bangs Bickford and Helen E. Veit, ed., Documentary History of the First Federal Congress 1789-91, Vol. 5, (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press: 1986), 9-10.
James Madison’s other Bill of Rights Drafts.
"The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their rights to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments...
The people shall not be restrained from peaceably assembling and consulting for their common good...
The rights of the people to be secured in their persons, their houses, their papers, and their other property from all unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated by warrants issued without probable cause..."
James Madison, Charlene Bangs Bickford and Helen E. Veit, ed., Documentary History of the First Federal Congress 1789-91, Vol. 5, (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press: 1986), 10-11.
"It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freemen of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much ... to forget it." -- James Madison
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation’s"—James Madison
"Power flows from the barrel of a gun."- Mao Tse Tung
"To disarm the people (is) the best and most effectual way to enslave them..."- George Mason, 3 Elliott, Debates at 380.
"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except a few public officials."-George Mason, 3 Elliott, Debates at 425- 426
(The American Colonies were) "all democratic governments, where the power is in the hands of the people and where there is not the least difficulty or jealousy about putting arms into the hands of every man in the country. (European countries should not) be ignorant of the strength and the force of such a form of government and how strenuously and almost wonderfully people living under one have sometimes exerted themselves in defence of their rights and liberties and how fatally it has ended with many a man and many a state who have entered into quarrels, wars and contests with them."--[George Mason, "Remarks on Annual Elections for the Fairfax Independent Company" in The Papers of George Mason, 1725-1792, ed Robert A. Rutland (Chapel Hill, 1970)]
"As much as I oppose the average person’s having a gun, I recognize that some people have a legitimate need to own one. A wealthy corporate executive who fears his family might get kidnapped is one such person. A Hollywood celebrity who has to protect himself from kooks is another. If Sharon Tate had had access to a gun during the Manson killings, some innocent lives might have been saved." [Joseph D. McNamara (San Jose, Calif. Police Chief), in his book, Safe and Sane, © 1984, p. 71-72.]
MILITIA ACT OF 1792
That the Militia of the United States shall consist of each and every free, able bodied male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who are or shall be of the age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as hereinafter excepted) who shall severally and respectively be enrolled by the captain or commanding officer of the company within whose bounds such citizen shall reside.... That every citizen so enrolled and notified shall within ____Month thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock of a bore not smaller than seventeen balls to the pound, a sufficient bayonet and belt, a pouch with a box therein to contain not less than twenty-four cartridges suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball, two spare flints, and a knapsack, and shall appear so armed, accoutered and provided, when called out to exercise or into service as is hereinafter directed...
Per: Charles Bickford and Helen Veit, ed., Documentary History of the First Federal Congress 1789-1791, Vol. 5, (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press: 1986), 1460-1461.
"The militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense" and "ordinarily when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time..."--United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174,179,180-182 (1939).
"... The possession of ARMS also implied the possession of ammunition, and the authorities paid quite as much attention to the latter as to the former."—United States v Miller, 307 U.S. 174, in 1939,
"In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less that eighteen inches in length’ at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that is use could contribute to the common defense." Aymette v. State, 2 Humphreys (Tenn.) 154, 158.
"Mr. Gordon Dean argued the cause, and Solicitor General Jackson, Assistant Attorney General McMahon, and Messrs. William W. Barron, Fred E. Strine, George F. Kneip, W. Marvin Smith, and Clinton R. Barry were on a brief, for the United States."
" NO APPEARANCE FOR APPELLEES."
"IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY EVIDENCE tending to show that possession or use of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length’ AT THIS TIME has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia, WE CANNOT SAY that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep an bear such an instrument. Certainly it is NOT WITHIN JUDICIAL NOTICE that this weapon is in any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense." [emphasis mine]
"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time, no one was left to speak up."--Martin Neimoller, (1892-1984), German, Lutheran Minister.
"Prohibition ... goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes .... A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."--Abraham Lincoln
"I am one who believes that as a first step the U.S. should move expeditiously to disarm the civilian population, other than police and security officers, of all handguns, pistols, and revolvers...no one should have a right to anonymous ownership or use of a gun." - Professor Dean Morris, government employee, Directory of Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA)
"Dictators are quick to send their soldiers against speechmakers. But not against armed citizens."- NRA Advertisement The American Rifleman, Aug 1989
" ‘The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right." [Nunn vs. State, 1 Ga. (1 Kel.) 243, at 251 (1846)]
"The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside...Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them..." --Thomas Paine, I Writings of Thomas Paine at 56 
"These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it Now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict the more
glorious the triumph." - Thomas Paine, ‘The Crisis’, December, 1776
"Stand your ground! Don’t fire unless fired upon. But if they want to have a war, let it begin here!"-Capt. J. Parker, Instructions to his Militiamen, Lexington Common, April 19, 1775.
"Since 1933, all persons who have enlisted in a state National Guard unit have simultaneously enlisted in the National Guard of the United States. In the latter capacity, they have become a part of the Enlisted Reserve Corps of the Army, but unless and until ordered to active duty in the Army, they retained their status as members of a separate state Guard unit." [Perpich v. Department of Defense, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 89-542, (1990) L Ed 2d 312].
note: Thus, the National Guard exists to enforce government policy. It is not THE "Militia", but A "militia". U.S. Law states that a "State may provide and maintain at its own expense a defense force that is exempt from being drafted into the Armed Forces of the United States". [32 U.S.C. Sec. 109©].
"Guard 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 may have a gun."- Patrick Henry.
"Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?" --Patrick Henry, 3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 45, 2d ed. Philadelphia, 1836
"The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field!" - Patrick Henry, March 1775
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"--Patrick Henry, March 1775
"They tell us, sir, that we are weak—unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?" -- Patrick Henry, "A Call to Arms," 1775
"Every freeman has a right to the use of the press, so he has to the right to the use of his arms."-Philodemos (A penname of an American patriot writing in support of the ratification of the Constitution.)
"Disperse you Rebels! Damn you, throw down your Arms and Disperse."--Major John Pitcairn (English Officer under orders to disarm American Militia at Lexington Common, April 19, 1775. Killed in action at Battle of Bunker Hill)
"’Necessity’ is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." William Pitt
"Free States ought to be bodies of armed citizens, well regulated, and well disciplined, and always ready to turnout, when properly called...."- Richard Price
"Ignoring and/or distorting facts is called propaganda in Russia and ‘freedom of the press’ in the United States. But don’t worry and don’t do anything. After America is disarmed, the press will belong to the government. Then we can call it ‘history.’" Stuart Prisk Gun Week, 20 Oct 89
"a well regulated militia composed of the freeholder, citizen and husbandman, who take up their arms to preserve their property as individuals and their rights as freemen."—Josiah Quincy, (quoted in The Political Thought of the American Revolution, Clinton Rossiter)
"Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis tel"
"A sword never kills anyone, it is the person holding the sword that kills."—Seneca (the younger) ... c. 60 BC
It is useless for sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism while the wolf remains of a different opinion. - William Ralph Inge
A nation can survive its fools, and even its ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly. But the traitor moves among those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears no traitor; he speaks in the accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their garments, and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation; he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city; he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared. – Cicero
"The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by rule of construction be conceived to give the Congress the power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretense by a state legislature. But if in blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both." - William Rawle, "View of the Constitution", Phila. PA, 1825 -- Rawle was offered the post of the first Attorney General of the United States, and is a recognized, and academically accepted commentator on the Constitution.
"... ‘the people’ seems to have been a term of art employed in select parts of the Constitution. The Preamble declares that the Constitution is ordained and established by ‘the people of the United States.’ The Second Amendment protects ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms,’ and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments provide that certain rights and powers are retained by and reserved to ‘the people.’" Chief Justice William Rehnquist, for the majority, U.S. v. Rene Martin Verdugo Urquidez, 110 U.S. 1060-1061, (No. 88-1353)
"To 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 Lee, Letters from the Federal Farmer, 168-170.
"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people them selves... and include all men capable of bearing arms."-Richard Lee, Additional Letters from the Federal Farmer, (1788) at 169
"It is true, the yeomanry of the country possess the lands, the weight of property, possess arms, and are too strong a body of men to be openly offended—and, therefore, it is urged, they will take care of themselves, that men who shall govern them will not dare pay any disrespect to their opinions. It is easily perceived, that if they have not their proper negative upon passing laws in congress, or on the passage of laws relative to taxes and armies, they may in twenty or thirty years be by means imperceptible to them, totally deprived of that boasted weight and strength: This may be done in a great measure by congress; if disposed to do it, by modelling the militia. Should one fifth or one eighth part of the men capable of bearing arms, be made a select militia, as has been proposed, and those the young and ardent part of the community, possessed of but little or no property, and all the others put upon a plan that will render them of no importance, the former will answer all the purposes of an army, while the latter will be defenceless...." --Richard Henry Lee ,_Letters From The Federal Farmer_ (1787-1788),
"...if raised, whether they could subdue a Nation of freemen, who know how to prize liberty, and who have arms in their hands?"(Delegate Sedgewick, during the Massachusetts Convention, rhetorically asking if an oppressive standing army could prevail, Johnathan Elliot, ed., Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Vol.2 at 97 (2d ed., 1888))
[It is] "a chimerical idea to suppose that a country like this could ever be enslaved. How is an army for that purpose to be obtained from the freemen of the United States? They certainly, said he, will know to what object it is to be applied. Is it possible, he asked, that an army could be raised for the purpose of enslaving themselves and their brethren? or, if raised, whether they could subdue a nation of freemen, who know how to prize liberty, and who have arms in their hands?" --Delegate Sedgewick, Jonathan Elliot. ed., The Debates of the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, (New York, Burt Franklin: 1888), 1:97.
"The conclusion is thus inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half-century after its ratification, and indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner."--Senate Subcommittee on The Constitution Staff, "History: Second Amendment Right to "Keep an Bear Arms", 97th Congress, 2nd Session (1982).
[The Militia Act of 1792 declared the] "militia of the United States" to include almost every free adult male in the United States. These persons were obligated to possess a firearm and a minimum supply of ammunition and military equipment. This statute, incidentally remained in effect into the early years of the present century as a legal requirement of gun ownership for most of the population of the United States.--Senate Subcommittee on The Constitution Staff, "History: Second Amendment Right to "Keep an Bear Arms", 97th Congress, 2nd Session (1982).
"Congress may give us a select militia which will, in fact, be a standing army—or congress, afraid of a general militia, may say there shall be no militia at all. when a select militia is formed; the people in general may be disarmed." - John Smilie
"The right of the citizen to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium [guarantee] of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them."--Justice Joseph Story, 3 Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1890, p. 746-747.
"The difficulty here has been to persuade the citizens to keep arms, not to prevent them from being employed for violent purposes."--Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833 (an associate justice of the Supreme Court, Harvard’s first professor of law)
"Were it not totally unnecessary and superfluous to adduce arguments to prove what is conceded on all hands, the policy and expediency of resting the protection of the country on a respectable and well established militia, we might not only shew the propriety of the measure from our particular local situation, but we might have recourse to the histories of Greece and Rome in their most virtuous and patriotic ages to demonstrate the utility of such establishments. Then passing by the mercenary armies, which have at one time or another subverted the liberties of almost all the countries they have been raised to defend, we might see with admiration the freedom and independence of Switzerland supported for centuries in the midst of powerful and jealous neighbors by a hardly and well organized militia. We might also derive useful lessons from other nations of Europe, but, I believe it will be found, the people of this continental are too well acquainted with the merits of the subject to require information or example."
The word "arms" in the connection we find it in the Constitution of the United States, refers to the arms of a militiaman or soldier, and the word is used in its military sense. The arms of the infantry soldier are the musket and bayonet; of cavalry and dragoons, the sabre, holster pistols and carbine; of the artillery, the field piece, siege gun, and mortar, with side arms. English v State, ___ Texas 473, 476 (1871-2)
"He who goes unarmed in Paradise, had better be sure that’s where he is."--James Thurber
"Those, who have the command of the arms in a country are masters of the state, and have it in their power to make what revolutions they please. [Thus,] there is no end to observations on the difference between the measures likely to be pursued by a minister backed by a standing army, and those of a court awed by the fear of an armed people." --John Trenchard and Water Moyle, ‘An Argument Shewing, That a Standing Army Is Inconsistent with a Free Government, and Absolutely Destructive to the Constitution of the English Monarchy’ [London, 1697])
"A Democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a Democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by dictatorship.
The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence; from dependency back again into bondage."—Frasier Tyler
Note Bene: If this struck a nerve, consider that it was written by, Fraser Tyler, an English historian. Mr. Tyler wrote his remarks concerning the fall, not of Rome or the British Empire, but of the Athenian Republic. He authored these comments while our nation was still a British Colony!
13. Militia; standing armies; military subordinate to civil power.
"That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power."
... Virginia Constitution - Article I, Section 13
VIRGINIA STATE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION
Article 1, Section 13.
"That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power."
Section 44-1 of Title 44 of the Code of Virginia:
Section 44-1. Composition of militia. - The militia of the Commonwealth of Virginia shall consist of all able-bodied citizens of this Commonwealth and all other able-bodied persons resident in this Commonwealth who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, who are at least sixteen years of age and, except as hereinafter provided, not more than fifty-five years of age. The militia shall be divided into four classes, the National Guard, which includes the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard, the Virginia State Defense Force, the naval militia and, the unorganized militia.
"Contrary to the suggestion of amici curiae that the Framers used this phrase "simply to avoid [an] awkward rhetorical redundancy," ... "the people" seems to have been a term of art employed in select parts of the Constitution. The Preamble declares that the Constitution is ordained and established by "the People of the United States." The Second Amendment protects "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms," and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments provide that certain rights and powers are retained by and reserved to "the people." See also U.S. Const., Amdt. 1, ("Congress shall make no law ... abridging ... the right of the people peaceably to assemble"); Art. I, - 2, cl. 1 ("The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States") (emphasis added). While this textual exegesis is by no means conclusive, it suggests that "the people" protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community."--U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 110 U.S. 1060-1061, 1990.
"The only protection of every citizen from such deprivation of rights is a strict adherence to the Bill of Rights by everyone for everyone. This should be self-evident but the danger of erosion of rights stems largely from the fact that so many citizens of the majority, who have never been deprived of any of these rights, find it difficult to understand what the deprivation of them means in the lives of others."--Earl Warren, "A Republic, If You Can Keep It", p.48
"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. . . From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day , events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. Every corner of this land knows firearms, and more than that 99 99/100 percent of them by their silence indicate they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference-they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good. When fire arms go, all goes- we need them every hour." -George Washington, address to the second session of the first Congress.
"A free people ought not only be armed, but disciplined...."--George Washington
"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence."-George Washington
"The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good."--George
"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. . . When firearms go, all goes- we need them every hour." -George Washington
"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in 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 band 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).
Webster defined "arms" as:
"4. In law, arms are any thing which a man takes in his hand in anger, to strike or assault another."
Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language, Vol. I, 1828; reprinted New York; Johnson Reprint Corp.: 1970 .s.v "Arms".
"But what is tyranny? Or how can a free people be deprived of their liberties? Tyranny is the exercise of some power over a man, which is not warranted by law, or necessary for the public safety. A people can never been deprived of their liberties, while they retain in their own hands, a power sufficient to any other power in the state."--Noah Webster, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 42-43, (1787).
"God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it." - Daniel Webster
"There is no week nor day nor hour, when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their supreme confidence in themselves—and lose their roughness and spirit of defiance."—Walt Whitman.
"To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm . . . is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of constitutional privilege." [Wilson v. State, 33 Ark. 557, at 560, 34 Am. Rep. 52, at 54 (1878)]
"The provision in the Constitution granting the right to all persons to bear arms is a limitation upon the power of the Legislature to enact any law to the contrary. The exercise of a right guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be made subject to the will of the sheriff." [People vs. Zerillo, 219 Mich. 635, 189 N.W. 927, at 928 (1922)]
The arts of power and its minions are the same in all countries and in all ages. It marks its victim; denounces it; and excites the public odium and the public hatred, to conceal its own abuses and encroachments. - Henry Clay, 1834
"Treason never prospers, what’s the reason?If it prospers, none dare call it treason."--Sir John Harington
Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.--Thomas Jefferson
"In recent years it has been suggested that the Second Amendment protects the ‘collective’ right of states to maintain militias, while it does not protect the right of ‘the people’ to keep and bear arms. If anyone entertained this notion in the period during which the Constitution and Bill of Rights were debated and ratified, it remains one of the most closely guarded secrets of the 18th century, for no known writing surviving from the period between 1787 and 1791 states such a thesis."--Stephen P. Halbrook, That Every Man Be Armed (1984).
"No democracy can exist unless each of its citizens is as capable of outrage at injustice to another as he is of outrage at unjustice to himself." --Aristotle
:"Men of republican principles have been jealous of a standing army as dangerous to liberty." In a militia, the character of the labourer, artificer, or tradesman, predominates over that of the soldier: in a standing army, that of the soldier predominates over every other character; and in this distinction seems to consist the essential difference between those two different species of military force" --Adam Smith
"To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom or the virtue to do so. To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished."--Pierre Proudhon
Last updated: 09/20/2013