To Defend the Good
Quotes from the Founding Fathers on the Second Amendment below
Beyond the powerful tools they are, our firearms are a powerful political statement of freedom...and responsibility.
Your American Heritage
The American Founding Fathers understood that the Right to Self Defense was a basic individual human right, not a privledge granted on the whim of a governement.
The Second Amendment:
"A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" -The Bill of Rights, Second Amendment , United States Constitution
How do we know what the Founders really intended for this to mean?
"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
"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 & Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 86-87.
"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," -Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, August 20, 1789
Does the Second Amendment's reference to "the people" refer to a collective or individual right?
"Last Monday a string of amendments were presented to the lower house; these altogether respect personal liberty."
- Senator William Grayson of Virginia in a letter to Patrick Henry
"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 Callatin of the New York Historical Society, October 7, 1789
Is the "Militia" the same as the National Guard?
"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
"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials."
-George Mason, 3 Elliott, Debates at 425-426
"What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty."
-Rep Elbridge Cerry of Massachusetts, I Annals of Congress at 750 (August 17, 1789)
"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)
Is the right to keep and bear arms about hunting and target shooting?
"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 Republic (1787-1788)
"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..." -Noah Webster, "An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution" (1787) in Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States (P, Ford, 1888)
"To disarm the people (is) the best and most effectual way to enslave them." -George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 380
"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 in "Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution," Under the pseudonym "A Pennsylvanian" in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789 at 2 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 14, 1789
"Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference between having arms in our possession and under our own 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 use , as in our own hands? -Patrick Henry, (3 Elliot Debates 168-169)
"Congress has 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
"The great object is that every man be armed, Everyone who is able might have a gun" - Patrick Henry, 3 Elliott, Debates at 386
"Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms" -James Madison, The Federalist Papers #46 at 243-244
"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
"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)
"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 (1894)
"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives 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, Encyclopedia of T. Jefferson, 318 (Foley, Ed, reissued 1967)
"...the people have a right to keep and bear arms." -Patrick Henry and George Mason, Elliot, Debates at 185
"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)
"The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them." - Zachariah Johnson, 3 Eliiot, Debates st6~6
"A free people ought...to be armed" -George Washington, speech of January 7, 1790 in the Boston independent Chronicle, January 14, 1790
"The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -Edmund Burke, 1784 speech
"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." -Patrick Henry during Virginia's Ratification Convention, 1788
Clinton-Gore Justice Department:
"...It must be considered as settled that there is no personal constitutional right, under the second amendment, to own or use a gun."
-Seth Waxman, Solicitor General, Clinton/Gore Justice Department. August 22, 2000
Defend your Rights! Join or support a pro-gun group, copy and pass this on.
© 2007 Advanced Design and Engineering Freedom Graphics™ Speed Sights®: “To defend the good”
© 2009 Advanced Development
Design and Development by Ideal Elements