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Fundamental Principles Of Gun
Control and Freedom Part 1
Collated By James Dearmore II
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God Bless America!

"The right of the people to keep and bear...arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body 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

"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

"A militia, when properly formed, Are in fact the people themselves... and include all men capable of bearing arms." -- Richard Henry Lee, Senator, First Congress, Additional Letters from the Federal Farmer (1788) at 169

"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. ... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins." -- Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789

"...to disarm the people (is) the best and most effective way to enslave them..." -- George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 380

"...but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights..." -- Alexander Hamilton speaking of standing armies in Federalist 29.

"Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation. ... Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." -- James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist Paper No. 46. at 243-244

"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

"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

"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 Cox 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 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 the use of them..." -- Thomas Paine, I writings of Thomas Paine at 56 (1894)

"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, 1788, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights ... Walter Bennett, ed., Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican, at 21, 22, 124 (Univ. of Alabama Press, 1975)

"The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them." -- Zachariah Johnson, 3 Elliot, Debates at 646

"A free people ought...to be armed..." -- George Washington, speech of January 7, 1790 in the Boston Independent Chronicle, January 14, 1790

"The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able may have a gun." -- Patrick Henry, in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution ... Debates and other Proceedings of the Convention of Virginia, ...taken in shorthand by David Robertson of Petersburg, at 271, 275 (2d ed. Richmond, 1805). Also 3 Elliot, Debates at 386.

"...the people have a right to keep and bear arms." -- Patrick Henry and George Mason, Elliot, Debates at 185

"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 ... 3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 45, 2d ed. Philadelphia, 1836

"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

"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 and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 86-87 (Peirce & Hale, eds., Boston, 1850)

"And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms....The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants" -- Thomas Jefferson ... A quote from Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William S. Smith in 1787. Taken from Jefferson, On Democracy 20, S. Padover ed., 1939

"No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms. -- Thomas Jefferson, Proposal Virginia Constitution, June 1776,

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -- 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334 (C.J. Boyd, Ed., 1950)

"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 UAS, 471 (1788)

"the ultimate authority ... resides in the people alone," -- James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist Paper No. 46.

"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 powers to the injury of their fellow-citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article [the Second Amendment] in their right to keep and bear their private arms." -- from article in the Philadelphia Federal by Tench Cox ten days after the introduction of the Bill of Rights ... Philadelphia Federal Gazette June 18, 1789 at 2, col. 1

"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 Gallatin of the New York Historical Society, October 7, 1789)

"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 inevitably ruined" -- Patrick Henry) ... 3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 45, 2d ed. Philadelphia, 1836

"...the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms" -- from article in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette ten days after the introduction of the Bill of Rights ... Philadelphia Federal Gazette June 18, 1789 at 2, col.2

"There are going to be situations where people are going to go without assistance. That's just the facts of life." --LA Chief of Police, Gates.

"The battle, Sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, Sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable; and let it come! I repeat, Sir, let it come!" -- Patrick Henry (1736-1799) in his famous "The War Inevitable" speech, March, 1775

"It is in vain, Sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace! -- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the North will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that Gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" -- Patrick Henry (1736-1799) in his famous "The War Inevitable" speech, March, 1775

"The constitutions of most of our states [and of 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 and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press." -- Thomas Jefferson

"And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms ... The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William S. Smith in 1787. Taken from Jefferson, On Democracy 20, S. Padover ed., 1939.

"No 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 the tyranny in government. -- Thomas Jefferson, June 1776

"The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time." --Thomas Jefferson (1774)

"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 walk." -- Encyclopedia of Thomas Jefferson, 318 (Foley, Ed., reissued 1967)

"...for it is a truth, which the experience of all ages has attested, that the people are commonly most in danger when the means of insuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion." -- Alexander Hamilton

"The best that 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).

"Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will be America's heart, her benedictions and prayers, but she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator of her own." -- John Quincy Adams, 1821.

"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 in arguing for a Bill of Rights, from the book "Massachusetts," published by Pierce & Hale, Boston, 1850, pg. 86-87.

"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

"The militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves, .. [T]he Constitution ought to secure a genuine [militia] and guard against a select militia, by providing that the militia shall always be kept well organized, armed, and disciplined, and include ... all men capable of bearing arms;..." -- Richard Henry Lee writing in "Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic", 1788, page 169.

"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins." -- Rep. Eldridge Gerry of Massachusetts (spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment [I Annals of Congress at 750 {August 17, 1789}])

"This declaration of rights, I take it, is intended to secure the people against the maladministration of the Government, if we could suppose that, in all cases, the rights of the people would be attended to, the occasion for guards of this kind would be removed. Now, I am apprehensive, sir, that this clause would give an opportunity to the people in power to destroy the Constitution itself. They can declare who are those religiously scrupulous, and prevent them from bearing arms." -- Eldridge Gerry, speaking on the 2nd Amendment (1 Annals of Cong. Aug. 17, 1789)

[The American Colonies are] "all democratic governments, where the power is in the hands of the people and where there is not the least difficulty or jealousy about putting arms into the hands of every man in the country. [European countries should not] be ignorant of the strength and the force of such a form of government and how strenuously and almost wonderfully people living under one have sometimes exerted themselves in defence of their rights and liberties and how fatally it has ended with many a man and many a state who have entered into quarrels, wars and contests with them." -- George Mason from "Remarks on Annual Elections for the Fairfax Independent Company" quoted from The Papers of George Mason, 1725-1792 edited by Robert A. Rutland [Chapel Hill, 1970]

"That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies in time of peace should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power." -- George Mason, Article 13 of The Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776

"Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except for a few public officials." -- George Mason, Framer of the Declaration of Rights, Virginia, 1776, which became the basis for the U.S. Bill of Rights; 3 Elliot, Debates at 425-426.

"What the subcommittee on the Constitution uncovered was clear - and long lost - proof that the Second Amendment to our Constitution was intended as an individual right of the American citizen to keep and carry arms in a peaceful manner, for protection of himself, his family, and his freedoms." -- Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Preface, "The Right To Keep And Bear Arms"

"The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by rule of construction be conceived to give the Congress the power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretense by a state legislature. But if in blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both." -- William Rawle, 1825; considered academically to be an expert commentator on the Constitution. He was offered the position of the first Attorney General of the United States, by President Washington.

"Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. It is a force, like fire a dangerous servant and a terrible master." -- George Washington

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