"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 Constitution of the the United States, Amendment II, proposed 25 Sep 1789; ratified 15 Dec 1791
"This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty…
The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible.
Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction."
"The Constitution 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."
"A free people ought to be armed."
"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.
If we want the Arms Act to be repealed, if we want to learn the use of arms, here is a golden opportunity.
If the middle classes render voluntary help to Government in the hour of its trial, distrust will disappear, and the ban on possessing arms will be withdrawn."
"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."
"Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms.
This is not to say that firearms should not be very carefully used, and that definite safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced.
But the right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, and one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible."
"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.
Everyone who is able might have a gun."
"When we got organized as a country, [and] wrote a fairly radical Constitution, with a radical Bill of Rights, giving radical amounts of freedom to Americans, it was assumed that Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly...When personal freedom is being abused, you have to move to limit it."
"The society of late twentieth century America is perhaps the first in human history where most grown men do not routinely bear arms on their persons and boys are not regularly raised from childhood to learn skill in the use of some kind of weapon, either for community or personal defense - club or spear, broadsword or long bow, rifle or Bowie knife.
It also happens to be one of the rudest and crudest societies in history, having jubilantly swept most of the etiquette of speech, table, dress, hospitality, fairness, deference to authority and the relations of male and female and child and elder under the fraying and filthy carpet of politically convenient illusions.
With little fear of physical reprisal Americans can be as loud, gross, disrespectful, pushy, and negligent as they please.
If more people carried rapiers at their belts, or revolvers on their hips, It is a fair bet you would be able to go to a movie and enjoy the dialogue from the screen without having to endure the small talk, family gossip and assorted bodily noises that many theater audiences these days regularly emit.
Today, discourtesy is commonplace precisely because there is no price to pay for it."
"All political power comes from the barrel of a gun.
The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party."
"The great body of our citizens shoot less as times goes on.
We should encourage rifle practice among schoolboys, and indeed among all classes, as well as in the military services by every means in our power.
Thus, and not otherwise, may we be able to assist in preserving peace in the world...
The first step – in the direction of preparation to avert war if possible, and to be fit for war if it should come – is to teach men to shoot!"
"f the constitutional right to keep and bear arms is to mean anything, it must, as a general matter, permit a person to possess, carry and sometimes conceal arms to maintain the security of his private residence or privately operated business."
"Make no mistake about it; Gun control laws increase the power of government and the criminal element over the average citizen, and serve no other purpose.
The Branch Davidians hadn't assaulted anyone.
They lived peacefully in the community.
Except for the federal gun laws, they would all still be alive."
"The First Amendment is crucial.
Of course it is.
So are all the others.
And the Second Amendment is the one that guarantees that people can bear arms to protect themselves."
"One of the arguments that had been made against gun control was that an armed citizenry was the final bulwark against tyranny.
My response had been that untrained, lightly-armed non-soldiers couldn't prevail against a modern army.
I had concluded that the qualitative difference in firepower was such that all of the previous rules of guerilla war no longer applied.
Both Vietnam and Afghanistan demonstrated that wasn't true.
Repelling an armed invasion is not something that American citizens are likely to face, but the possibility of a despotic government coming to power is not wholly unthinkable.
One of the sequellae of Vietnam was the rise of the Khmer Rouge and slaughter of perhaps a million Cambodian citizens.
Those citizens, like the Jews in Germany or the Armenians in Turkey, were unarmed and thus utterly and completely defenseless against police and paramilitary.
An armed minority was able to kill and terrorize unarmed victims with total impunity."
"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."
"I simply cannot stand by and watch a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States come under attack from those who either can't understand it, don't like the sound of it, or find themselves too philosophically squeamish to see why it remains the first among equals: Because it is the right we turn to when all else fails.
That's why the Second Amendment is America's first freedom."
"There's no such thing as a good gun.
There's no such thing as a bad gun.
A gun in the hands of a bad man is a very dangerous thing.
A gun in the hands of a good person is no danger to anyone except the bad guys."
"You could say that the paparazzi and the tabloids are sort of the `assault weapons' of the First Amendment.
They're ugly, a lot of people don't like them, but they're protected by the First Amendment -- just as `assault weapons' are protected by the Second Amendment."
"He [President Clinton] boasts about 186,000 people denied firearms under the Brady Law rules.
The Brady Law has been in force for three years.
In that time, they have prosecuted seven people and put three of them in prison.
You know, the President has entertained more felons than that at fundraising coffees in the White House, for Pete's sake."
"You know, the Bill of Rights guarantees every citizen the right to own and bear firearms.
It doesn't say anything about how many, how much you can pay for them.
That's in the Bill of Rights.
That's a sacred document in our country.
There's no other country in the world that has such document.
And you know what it's purpose is? To prevent the federal government from interfering with private citizens' rights ...
If you will read what the Founding Fathers wrote when they were writing it -- Jefferson, Mason, Madison, Patrick Henry, Tom Paine -- every one of them wrote at great length that they were talking about the individual rights of individual citizens."
"Strict gun control is an absolute necessity. Without it you just can't hit what you're aiming at."
"No government crime bill, no extra policemen on the beat, no liberal "feel good" prisoner reform program will stop a home intruder better than a 9mm Beretta."
"Business owners and frightened citizens could have demonstrated a practical use for assault weapons during the L.A. riots."
"Because of liberal crime bills, more people die as a result of violent crime.
Basically because people are afraid of what will happen to them if they defend themselves."
"25 States allow anyone to buy a gun, strap it on, and walk down the street with no permit of any kind: some say it's crazy.
However, four out of five US murders are committed in the other half of the country: so who's crazy?"
"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."
"Guns are not always the answer, but obtaining a firearm has saved the lives of many...
While I favor keeping guns out of the hands of felons, youths and the mentally impaired, I oppose adding more bureaucratic obstacles that attempt to fight crime by disarming its victims."
"Without either the first or second amendment, we would have no liberty; the first allows us to find out what's happening, the second allows us to do something about it! The second will be taken away first, followed by the first and then the rest of our freedoms."
"The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship.
The rifle is the weapon of democracy.
If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns.
Only the police, the secret police, the military.
The hired servants of our rulers.
Only the government - and a few outlaws.
I intend to be among the outlaws."
"By calling attention to 'a well regulated militia', the 'security' of the nation, and the right of each citizen 'to keep and bear arms', our founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy.
Although it is extremely unlikely that the fears of governmental tyranny which gave rise to the Second Amendment will ever be a major danger to our nation, the Amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic civilian-military relationships, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country.
For that reason, I believe the Second Amendment will always be important."
"I don't care about crime, I just want to get the guns."
"In recent years it has been suggested that the Second Amendment protects the "collective" right of states to maintain militias, while it does not protect the right of "the people" to keep and bear arms...
The phrase "the people" meant the same thing in the Second Amendment as it did in the First, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments-- that is, each and every free person.
A select militia defined as only the privileged class entitled to keep and bear arms was considered an anathema to a free society, in the same way that Americans denounced select spokesmen approved by the government as the only class entitled to the freedom of the press." 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."
"The Second Amendment's language and historical and philosophical background demonstrated that it was designed to guarantee individuals the possession of certain kinds of arms for three purposes: (1) crime prevention or what we would today describe as self-defense; (2) national defense; and (3) preservation of individual liberty..."
"If gun laws in fact worked, the sponsors of this type legislation should have no difficulties drawing upon long lists of crime rates reduced by such legislation.
That they cannot do so after a century and a half of trying--that they must sweep under the rug the southern attempts at gun control in the 1870-1910 period, the northeastern attempts in the 1920-1939 period, the attempts at both Federal and State levels in 1965-1976 - establishes the repeated, complete and inevitable failure of gun laws to control serious crime."
"I am one who believes that as a first step the US should move expeditiously to disarm the civilian population, other than police and security officers, of all handguns, pistols, and revolvers... no one should have a right to anonymous ownership or use of a gun.
There can be no right of privacy in regard to armament... We seek a disarmed populace."
"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, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner."
"Tell the American people never to lose their guns.
As long as they keep their guns in their hands, what happened here will never happen there."
"Today's liberals wish to disarm us so they can run their evil and oppressive agenda on us.
The fight against crime is just a convenient excuse to further their agenda.
I don't know about you, but if you hear that Williams' guns have been taken, you'll know Williams is dead."
"We [The United States] can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans to legitimately own handguns and rifles that we are unable to think about reality."
"No free man shall ever be de-barred the use of arms.
The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
"No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people.
The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave.
He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms.
But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion."