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Founding Fathers’ Quotes on the People’s Right to Bear Arms

Just three days after the horrible shooting in Newtown Connecticut, progressive forces are in full “never let a crisis go to waste” mode to advance their anti-gun agenda.  They have allowed no time for mourning and are striking while the iron is hot.  It’s a selfish and shameful act that is driving the national debate towards gun control and the away from the root cause of our problem; the devaluing of human life.  I decided that the best people to help make the case for those of us who cherish America and our second amendment rights are our founding fathers.  Below are some quotes from the founders on the people’s right to bear arms.  Take a few minutes to read them.

“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”

“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, occurrences 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 federal government should not be injecting itself in this issue.  First off they have no constitutional authority to restrict gun ownership no matter what President Obama believes.  Secondly this is a states issue and should be addressed at the local level.  A cookie cutter approach will not work because of the uniqueness of each community across America.  My question is where was all the progressive outrage over Fast and Furious?  Something to think about.

Liberty forever, freedom for all!  .


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  • Jim at Conservatives on Fire December 18, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Great qotes! I love the one by Jefferson on guns and plowshares.
    Jim at Conservatives on Fire recently posted..The Self Fullfilling Prophesy of Zero LeadershipMy Profile

  • Steve Dennis December 18, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    Jefferson also said: “The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.”

    Great quotes John, we can learn allot from the founders if we just take the time to study them.

  • LD Jackson December 18, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Thanks for sharing the quotes about the 2nd Amendment, John. Mark my words, liberal gun control advocates are lining up for an assault on the 2nd Amendment. They will surely be pushing hard for some kind of gun ban after Obama takes the oath of office for the second time. What’s even more troubling is the number of conservatives who seem to be falling into step. Their excuse is that we have to protect our children, yet the steps they are about to take will do nothing but endanger them further.
    LD Jackson recently posted..Is More Gun Control The Answer?My Profile

    • John Carey December 18, 2012 at 11:33 PM

      They refuse to address the root cause of the problem. And because the American people tend to live in the moment and make decisions based on emotions, we can never have that higher level conversation about what we really need to do to address the person part of the equation. Instead we look at the tool the person uses to commit these terrible acts. This is how a society deals with a problem when they don’t use critical thinking skills. We react instead of being proactive.
      John Carey recently posted..Founding Fathers’ Quotes on the People’s Right to Bear ArmsMy Profile

  • KingShamus December 20, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    The militia is us. It’s that simple. Disarm us and the government gets to do whatever they want with us.

    How come our forefathers recognized this, but certified geniuses like Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi can’t or won’t?

    Great post, John.
    KingShamus recently posted..Guns Crime Facts, Gun Crime FeelingsMy Profile

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