The following quotes are in the public domain. Many you've seen before, I hope some are new to you. I am trying to gather as many as possible in one place. If you have more citations appropriate to the subject, please send them to capn_ball@cap-n-ball.com. I would also like having specific sources, especially for the quotes below. If you can help, send them in too. If you wish to print these, there is a printer friendly size also.

Quotes on the Second Amendment

The Founding Fathers on the Second Amendment

"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
Co-author of the Second Amendment
during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788


"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …"
Richard Henry Lee
writing in Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic, Letter XVIII, May, 1788.


"The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full posession of them."
Zachariah Johnson
Elliot's Debates, vol. 3 "The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution."


"… the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms"
Philadelphia Federal Gazette
June 18, 1789, Pg. 2, Col. 2
Article on the Bill of Rights


"And that the said Constitution be never 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
quoted in the Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, August 20, 1789, "Propositions submitted to the Convention of this State"


The Founding Fathers on Arms

"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, occurences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that's good."
George Washington
First President of the United States


"The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world 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 the law-abiding deprived of the use of them."
Thomas Paine


"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
American Statesman, 1788


"The great object is that every man be armed." and "Everyone who is able may have a gun."
Patrick Henry
American Patriot


"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
American Patriot


"Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow for those who do not."
Thomas Jefferson
Third President of the United States


"The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that … it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; … "
Thomas Jefferson
letter to Justice John Cartwright, June 5, 1824. ME 16:45.


"The best we can help for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."
Alexander Hamilton
The Federalist Papers at 184-8


The Founding Fathers on Maintaining Freedom

"The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."
Thomas Jefferson
Third President of the United States


"There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters. "
Noah Webster
American Lexicographer


"The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion."
Edmund Burke
British Statesman, 1784


"What country can preserve its 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
to James Madison


"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Ben Franklin
American Statesman


Later Quotes on Gun Control

"The ruling class doesn't care about public safety. Having made it very difficult for States and localities to police themselves, having left ordinary citizens with no choice but to protect themselves as best they can, they now try to take our guns away. In fact they blame us and our guns for crime. This is so wrong that it cannot be an honest mistake."
Malcolm Wallop
former U.S. Sen. (R-WY)


"An armed man is a citizen. A disarmed man is a subject."
Anon.
Seen on a bumper sticker


Pro Gun Control

"Our main agenda is to have all guns banned. We must use whatever means possible. It doesn't matter if you have to distort the facts or even lie. Our task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed."
Sara Brady
Chairman, Handgun Control Inc, to Senator Howard Metzenbaum
The National Educator, January 1994, Page 3.


"If you wish the sympathy of the broad masses, you must tell them the crudest and most stupid things."

"This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!"
Adolph Hitler
Chancellor, Germany, 1933


Acknowledgements

I did not personally do any research from original documents, but I would like to thank the following sources.
  • "Trader Bob" of Thunder Ridge Muzzleloading who had a selection in various places throughout the catalog.
  • "Colonel Dan" in the Cowboy Chronicle, who always has interesting commentary as well.
  • Marvin H. Meuser, Jr. in the "The Right Voice" has a selection of quotes supplemental to his essays on gun control.

"Never do your foe a minor injury." -- Machiavelli

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