http://www.fortliberty.org/quotes/quotes-firearms.shtml

When firearms go, all goes - we need them every hour. -- George Washington.



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Oppressors can tyrannize only when they achieve a standing army, an enslaved press, and a disarmed populace. -- James Madison



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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).



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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. ... The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to be possible. -- Hubert H. Humphrey, Senator, Vice President, 22 October 1959



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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.



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The Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress 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, 86-87 (Pearce and Hale, eds., Boston, 1850)



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

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It is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks. It is legal and lawful to own a shotgun or a rifle. We believe in obeying the law. -- Malcolm X, March 12, 1964



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Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. --- Thomas Jefferson in "Commonplace Book," 1774-1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment, by criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764



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To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm . . . is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional privilege. -- Arkansas Supreme Court, 1878

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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. -- Edward Abbey in Abbey's Road, p.39 (Plume, 1979)



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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, Federalist Papers, #46 at 243-244.



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The people are nor to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them. -- Zachariah Johnson, delegate to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 3 Elliot, Debates at 646.

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Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest. -- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi



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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 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, Writings of Thomas Paine at 56 (1894)



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A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity. -- Sigmund Freud, General Introduction to Psychoanalysis (1952)



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...arms...discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. ...Horrid mischief would ensue were (the law-abiding) deprived the use of them. -- Thomas Paine.



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How we burned in the prison camps later thinking: What would things have been like if every police operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive? If during periods of mass arrests people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever was at hand? The organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt. -- Alexander Solzhenitsyn



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God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it. -- Daniel Webster, in a speech on 3 June, 1834



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An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. -- Robert A. Heinlein, Beyond This Horizon, 1942



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A system of licensing and registration is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie. -- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin



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As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people 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.



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Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power. -- Yoshimi Ishikawa, author of Japanese best-seller Strawberry Road



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A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government. -- George Washington



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The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned. Because the ownership of firearms is constitutionally protected, its regulation is a matter of statewide concern. The constitution does not provide that the right to bear arms shall not be questioned in any part of the commonwealth except Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, where it may be abridged at will, but that it shall not be questioned in any part of the commonwealth. Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 545 Pa. 279; 681 A.2d 152; 1996 Pa. Lexis 1447, May 1, 1996, Argued July 18, 1996, Decided.

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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



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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. -- Andrew Ford

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Congress shall never disarm any citizen unless such as are or have been in actual rebellion. -- James Madison



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



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The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretence by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment (Second Amendment) may be appealed to as a restraint on both. -- William Rawle, A View of the Constitution of the United States of America 125-26 (2d ed. 1829)



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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 to Peter Carr, 1785. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors.



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The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun. -- Patrick Henry, 3 Elliot, Debates at 386.



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The congress of the United States possesses no power to regulate, or interfere with the domestic concerns, or police of any state: it belongs not to them to establish any rules respecting the rights of property; nor will the constitution permit any prohibition of arms to the people. -- Saint George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries (1803), Volume 1, Appendix, Note D



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I like automatic weapons. I fought for my right to use them in Vietnam. -- Oliver Stone, 1994



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I do believe that where there is a choice only between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence. -- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi



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A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. -- Lucius Annaeus Seneca, c. 4BC - 65AD.



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If those in government are heedless of reason, the people must patiently submit to Bondage, or stand upon their own Defence; which if they are enabled to do, they shall never be put upon it, but their Swords may grow rusty in their hands; for that Nation is surest to live in Peace, that is most capable of making War; and a Man that hath a Sword by his side, shall have least occasion to make use of it. -- J. Trenchard & W. Moyle, An Argument Showing, That a Standing Army is Inconsistent With a Free Government, and Absolutely Destructive to the Constitution of the English Monarch (London, 1697).

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Dogs could not be used in the streets in the manner many Jews were treated. One circumstance among others put an end to the ill-usage of the Jews. About the year 1787 Daniel Mendoza, a Jew, became a celebrated boxer and set up a school to teach the art of boxing as a science. The art soon spread among young Jews and they became generally expert at it. The consequence was in a very few years seen and felt too. It was no longer safe to insult a Jew unless he was an old man and alone. But even if the Jews were unable to defend themselves, the few who would now be disposed to insult them merely because they are Jews, would be in danger of chastisement from the passers-by and of punishment from the police. -- Francis Place, Improvement of the Working Classes (1834) as quoted in R. Webb, Modern England: From the 18th Century to the Present (1970).



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The danger (where there is any) from armed citizens, is only to the government, not to the society; as long as they have nothing to revenge in the government (which they cannot have while it is in their own hands) there are many advantages in their being accustomed to the use of arms and no possible disadvantage. -- Joel Barlow, Advice to the Privileged Orders in the Several States of Europe: Resulting From the Necessity and Propriety of a General Revolution in the Principle of Government (London, 1792, 1795 and reprint 1956).



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If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional privilege. -- Wilson v. State, 33 Ark. 557, 560 (1878)

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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. -- Walter Williams, Professor of Economics, George Mason University.



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O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone... Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation... inflicted by those who had no power at all? -- Patrick Henry, Elliot p. 3:50-53, in Virginia Ratifying Convention



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The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state controlled police and the military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an 'equalizer.' Egalite implies liberte. And always will. Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. -- Edward Abbey



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Tyranny derives from the oligarchy's "mistrust of the people; hence they deprive them of arms, ill-treat the lower class, and keep them from residing in the capital. These are common to oligarchy and tyranny." Aristotle in Politics (J. Sinclair translation, pg. 218, 1962)



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One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them. --- Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors



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If gun laws in fact worked, the sponsors of this type of legislation should have no difficulty drawing upon long lists of examples 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, and 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. -- Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Subcomittee on the Constitution (The Making of America, p.695)



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This [Second Amendment] 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. In England, the people have been disarmed, generally, under the specious pretext of preserving the game: a never failing lure to bring over the landed aristocracy to support any measure, under that mask, though calculated for very different purposes. True it is, their bill of rights seems at first view to counteract this policy: but the right of bearing arms is confined to protestants, and the words suitable to their condition and degree, have been interpreted to authorise the prohibition of keeping a gun or other engine for the destruction of game, to any farmer, or inferior tradesman, or other person not qualified to kill game. So that not one man in five hundred can keep a gun in his house without being subject to a penalty. -- Saint George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries (1803), Volume 1, Appendix, Note D [Section 12: Restraints on Powers of Congress.]

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A man cannot lay down the right of resisting them that assault him by force, to take away his life. Thomas Hobbes in The Leviathan, 1651



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It is also in the interests of a tyrant to keep his people poor, so that they may not be able to afford the cost of protecting themselves by arms and be so occupied with their daily tasks that they have no time for rebellion. Aristotle in Politics (J. Sinclair translation, pg. 226, 1962)



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For we may not think ever to keep that people in subjection which hath always lived in liberty, if they be not disarmed. -- Jean Bodin, in Six Books of a Commonweale, 1606 AD (R. Knolles translation, pg. 615, 1606)



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After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. I sure as hell wouldn't want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military. -- William Burroughs, The War Universe, taped conversation (published in Grand Street, no. 37; reprinted in Painting and Guns, 1992, in a slightly different form).



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The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave. He who has nothing, and belongs to another, must be defended by him, and needs no arms: but he who thinks he is his own master, and has anything he may call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself and what he possesses, or else he lives precariously and at discretion. And though for a while those who have the sword in their power abstain from doing him injury; yet, by degrees, he will be awed into submission to every arbitrary command. Our ancestors, by being always armed, and frequently in action, defended themselves against the Romans, Danes and English; and maintained their liberty against encroachments of their own princes. -- Andrew Fletcher in A Discourse of Government with Relation to Militias in Political Works 6, 1749 AD (London, 1798, pg. 221)



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To make inexpensive guns impossible to get is to say that you're putting a money test on getting a gun. It's racism in its worst form. -- Roy Innis, National Chairman of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), The Washington Post, September 5, 1988



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Some princes, so as to hold securely the state, have disarmed their subjects.... But when you disarm them, you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them either through cowardice or lack of confidence, and both of these opinions generate hatred against you. And because the government cannot remain unarmed, it follows that the government turns to hired police. Therefore a wise prince has always distributed arms to the general population. -- Nicolo Machiavelli, The Prince, Chapter 20 (L. Ricci translation, pg. 105, 1952)



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They'll have to shoot me first to take my gun. -- Roy Rogers, 1982, in Cowboy Wisdom, by Terry Hall (Warner Books, 1995)



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The Constitution of the United States of America clearly affirms the right of every American citizen to bear arms. And as Americans, we will not give up a single right guarenteed under the Constitution. The history of unpunished violence against our people clearly indicates that we must be prepared to defend ourselves or we will continue to be a defenseless people at the mercy of a ruthless and violent racist mob. -- Malcolm X, in Malcolm X at 337, J. Clarke ed. (New York, N.Y., 1969)



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You see in this world there's two kind's of people my friend, those with loaded guns, and those who dig ... you dig! -- Joe in The Good, The Bad & The Ugly



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There exists a law, not written down anywhere, but inborn in our hearts; a law which comes to us not by training or custom or reading; a law which has come to us not from theory but from practice, not by instruction but by natural intuition. I refer to the law which lays it down that, if our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right. -- Marcus Tulius Cicero (106-53 BC)



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People who object to weapons aren't abolishing violence, they're begging for rule by brute force, when the biggest, strongest animals among men were always automatically 'right.' Guns ended that, and social democracy is a hollow farce without an armed populace to make it work. -- L. Neil Smith, The Probability Broach

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Gun control has not worked in D.C. The only people who have guns are criminals. We have the strictest gun laws in the nation and one of the highest murder rates. It's quicker to pull your Smith & Wesson than to dial 911 if you're being robbed. -- Lieutenant Lowell Duckett, Special Assistant to DC Police Chief; President, Black Police Caucus, The Washington Post, March 22, 1996.