What our founding fathers, and others, had to say about gun control and
"They that can give up liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve
neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of
"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as they are
injurious to others." -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia
"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few
public officials." -George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 425-426.
"The 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
"(The 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.
"Laws 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.
"Arms in the hands of citizens (may) be used at individual discretion...in
private self defense..." -John Adams, A defense of the Constitutions of the
Government of the USA, 471 (1788).
"...arms...discourage 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.
"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.
"Experience 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
"To disarm the people (is) the best and most effectual way to enslave
them..." -George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 380.
"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be
properly armed." -Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-8.
"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 might have a gun.: -Patrick
"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
"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 Henry Lee writing in Letters from the Federal Farmer to the
"The 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 & Proceedings in the Convention of
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 86-87.
"...the people have a right to keep and bear arms." -Patrick Henry and
George Mason, Elliot, Debates at 185.
"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).
"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves...and
include all men capable of bearing arms." -Richard Henry Lee, Additional
Letters from the Federal Farmer (1788) at 169.
"The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at
least 17 years of age..." -Title 10, Section 311 of the U.S. Code.
"The people are nor to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full
possession of them." -Zachariah Johnson, 3 Elliot, Debates at 646.
"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.,
"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, The Federalist (#28).
"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 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.
"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
"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).
"If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to
live." -Martin Luther King Jr., June 23, 1963. Speech in Detroit.
Statements of The Enemies of Liberty:
"Government begins at the end of the gun barrel." - Chaiman Mao
"One man with a gun can control 100 without one. ... Make mass searches and
hold executions for found arms." --V.I. Lenin.
"If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we
shall disarm it ourselves." --Joseph Stalin.
"We are taking the law and bending it as far as we can to capture a whole
new class of guns." - Jose Cerada, (White House official who specializes in
gun control policy), The Los Angeles Times
"We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary
Americans ..." Bill Clinton (USA TODAY, 11 March 1993, page 2A)