FOUNDING FATHERS ON FIREARMS

I firmly believe that through study of the writings of our Founders and other great men we can learn the difference between good government and bad.  It then becomes clear where usurpers of the public trust have twisted law to increase their own power and to enslave those they are supposed to serve.  This is the first installation of the writings I have collected.  Thanks for reading.  More to come.

 

“The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference- they deserve a place of honor with all that is good.” — George Washington

“Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American…[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”
–Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

“Whereas, 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; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it.”
–Richard Henry Lee, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

“The right [to bear arms] is general. It may be supposed from the phraseology of this provision that the right to keep and bear arms was only guaranteed to the militia; but this would be an interpretation not warranted by the intent. The militia, as has been explained elsewhere, consists of those persons who, under the laws, are liable to the performance of military duty, and are officered and enrolled for service when called upon…. [I]f the right were limited to those enrolled, the purpose of the guarantee might be defeated altogether by the action or the neglect to act of the government it was meant to hold in check. The meaning of the provision undoubtedly is, that the people, from whom the militia must be taken, shall have the right to keep and bear arms, and they need no permission or regulation of law for the purpose. But this enables the government to have a well regulated militia; for to bear arms implies something more than mere keeping; it implies the learning to handle and use them in a way that makes those who keep them ready for their efficient use; in other words, it implies the right to meet for voluntary discipline in arms, observing in so doing the laws of public order.”
— Thomas M. Cooley, General Principles of Constitutional Law, Third Edition [1898]
“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, quoting Cesare Beccaria in On Crimes and punishment (1764).

“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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