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The Intent of The Second Amendment to The Constitution of The United States of America

The Founding Fathers:

Thomas Jefferson

\"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. 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, proposed Virginia constitution, June 1776. Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334 (C. J. Boyd, Ed., 1950)

\"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 prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.\" --Thomas Jefferson, quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria in \"On Crimes and Punishment\", 1764

When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny --Thomas Jefferson

\"And what country can preserve it\'s liberties, if the rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take up arms. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.\" --Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William S. Smith, 1787

\"The Constitution of most of our states, and 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; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press.\" Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution, 1776

Samuel Adams

\"Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life, secondly to liberty, thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.\" --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, During the Massachusetts U.S. Constitution ratification convention, 1788

\"If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.\" -- Samuel Adams, 1776

Benjamin Franklin

\"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.\" --Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), reply of the Pennsylvania Assembly to the governor, November 11, 1755 <<later, motto of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, c. 1759>>

Noah Webster

\"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).

Tench Coxe

\"Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright 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

\"As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, 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, in \"Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution.\" Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789

John Adams

\"Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at the individual discretion, in private self-defense.\" John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787-88

Alexander Hamilton

\"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

Richard Henry Lee

\"A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves and include all men capable of bearing arms. To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.\" Richard Henry Lee, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights. Additional Letters From the Federal Farmer 53, 1788

Patrick Henry

\"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. Every man who is able may have a gun.\" --Patrick Henry, During Virginia\'s ratification convention, 1788

James Madison

\"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, The Federalist No. 46

\"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of people, trained in arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country.\" --James Madison, I Annuals of Congress 434 (June 8, 1789)

George Mason

\"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.\" --George Mason, during Virginia\'s ratification convention, 1788

Thomas Paine

\"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, Thoughts on Defensive War, 1775

George Washington

\"A free people ought to be armed. When firearms go, all goes, we need them by the hour. Firearms stand next to importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people\'s liberty teeth and keystone under independence.\" --George Washington, Boston Independence Chronicle, January 14, 1790

\"To ensure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that is good.\" --George Washington, The Federalist No. 53


Constitutional Scholars:

\"In recent years it has been suggested that the Second Amendment protects the \'collective'rights of the 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, highly repected Constitutional scholar

\"The states'rights reading puts great weight on the word \'militia\', but this word appears only in the Amendment\'s subordinate clause {for those of you who know something about grammer, the text of the Second Amendment fully supports the INDIVIDUAL right to keep and bear arms}. 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, PhD, Professor of Law, Yale University, and highly respected Constitutional scholar

\"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 conservative 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, PhD, Professor of Law, Duke University, highly respected Constitutional scholar


The 103rd Congress:

\"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 {before anti-gun liberals}, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner\" United States Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee Report on the Constitution, February, 1992


\"...[G]overnment being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.\" --Tennessee State Constitution, Article 1, Section 2


Comments on \"Gun Control\"

\"He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one\" --Jesus Christ, Luke Ch 22:36

\"When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace\" --Luke Ch 11:21-22

\"Quemadmoeum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.\" (\"A sword is never a killer, it\'s a tool in the killer\'s hands.\") --Lucius Annaeus Seneca \"the Younger\" (ca. 4 BC-65 AD)

\"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 laws of such a nature. They disarm those only who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.\" --Cesare Beccaria, 1764, \"On Crimes and Punishment\"

\"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.\" --Sigmund Freud in \"General Introduction to Psychoanalysis\"

\"People who object to weapons aren\'t abolishing violence, they\'re begging for rule by brute force, when the biggest, strongest animals among men were always automatically \'right\'. Guns ended that, and social democracy is a hollow farce without an armed populace to make it work.\" --Clarissa in _The Probability Broach_, L.N. Smith

\"{This} government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen\" --Warren vs District of Columbia, 444 A.2nd 1 (D.C. App. 181)

\"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.\" --Charles A. Beard

\" Gun control provides for a safer working environment for criminals\" --the Deputy Chief of Police, Washington, DC ( which by the way has the most restrictive gun laws in the country, and the highest crime rate)

ARE YOU A MENACE TO CRIMINALS? If householders were required by law to own and know how to use revolvers, burglary would cease. It is an act of good citizenship to make crime dangerous -- an encouragement of crime to remain defenseless. --from an Iver Johnson revolver ad, circa 1904

\"Like savages who believe that every misfortune results from their failure to do enough to please the gods, modern western culture believes every tragedy results from its failure to legislate enough\". --Andy Barniskis

\"Be very afraid of a government that fears its people.\" --Buck Hunter ([email protected]) in rec.hunting on 1 Mar 96

\"... Only Tyrants and Criminals need fear an armed citizen.\"

\"Si vis pacem, para bellum\"–(\"If you want peace, prepare for war\") --an old saying

\"Those who beat their swords into plowshares will plow for those who don\'t.\"

\"I did not claw my way to the top of the food chain to eat plants\" --bumper sticker
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