• George Mason: ". . . to disarm the people; that . . . was the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
• Richard Henry Lee: ". . . 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."
• James Madison, drafter of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist No. 46 scorned European despotisms as "afraid to trust the people with arms," and assured his countrymen that they need not fear their government because of "the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation."
• Samuel Adams asserted in the Massachusetts convention that "the said Constitution be never construed . . . to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms."
• James Monroe included "the right to keep and bear arms" in his list of basic human rights.
• Patrick Henry said, "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.”
• Thomas Jefferson: "One loves to possess arms"; and advising his 15-year-old nephew, he wrote, "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."
As to who the 'militia' is:
George Mason. Framer of the Declaration of Rights, Virginia, 1776, which became the basis for the U.S. Bill of Rights: "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.