(6)  "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)



 (1) "THE 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 & Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 86-87.)

 (2) "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))



 (7)  "...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.)

 (8)  "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)



 (30) "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)

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

 (32) "AMERICANS have the right and advantage of being armed...the Americans possess over the people of all other nations...  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."

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



 (9) "THE great object is that every man be armed.  Everyone who is able may have a gun". (Patrick Henry, 3 Elliot, Debates at 386.)

 (10) "HAVE we no means of resisting disciplined armies, when our only defense, the militia, is put in the hands of Congress? Of what service would the militia be to you when, most probably, you will not have a single musket in the state?  For, as arms are to be provided by Congress, they may or may not provide them."  (Patrick Henry)

 (11) "Are we at last brobut, where I trmiliating 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)[8]

 (12)  "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty.  Suspect everyone who app 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)



 (35)  "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))



 (21) "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.)



(36)  "if raised, whether they could subdue a Nation of freemen, who know how to prize liberty, and who have arms in their hands?"  (Delegate Sedgwick, during the Massachusetts Convention, rhetorically asking if an oppressive standing army could prevail)[3]



(5) "IT is asserted by most respectable writers upon our government, that a well-regulated militia, composed of the yeomanry of the country, have ever been considered as the bulwark of a free people.  Tyrants have never placed any confidence on a militia composed of freemen"  (John Dewitt)



(3) "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 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 8, 1789, at 2 col. 1.)

 (4) "THE power of the Sword, say the minority of Pennsylvania, is in the hands of Congress. My friends, and countrymen, it is not so for THE POWERS OF THE SWORD ARE IN THE HANDS OF THE YEOMANRY OF AMERICA FROM SIXTEEN TO SIXTY. The militia of these commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. 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...  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)



(41)  "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe.  The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States" (Noah Webster in a pamphlet aimed at swaying Pennsylvania toward ratification)[2]

"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)



(37) "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 everywhere restrains evil interference--they deserve a place of honor with all that's good. (George Washington)

(38) "THERE is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet the enemy." (George Washington)

(39)  "TO be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace."  (George Washington)  An obvious reference to a Latin phrase, "Si vis paceum, parabellum."  (40) "A free people ought...to be armed..."  (George  Washington, speech of January 7, 1790 in the Boston Independent Chronicle, January 14, 1790)



(22) "A MILITIA, when properly formed, are in fact the people them-selves...and include all men capable of bearing arms".  (Richard Henry Lee, additional letters from the Federal Farmer. 1788 at 169).

(23)  "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.)[5]

 (24) "No free government was ever founded, or ever preserved its liberty, without uniting the characters of the citizen and soldier in those destined for the defense of the state...Such area well-regulated militia, composed of the freeholders, citizen and husbandman, who take up arms to preserve their property, as individuals, and their rights as freemen" (Richard Henry Lee)



 (25) "THE Right of the people to keep and bear...arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed 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)

 (26) "CONGRESS shall never disarm any citizen unless such as are or have been in Actual Rebellion."  (James Madison)

 (27) "AMERICANS have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms". (James Madison, The Federalist Papers, #46, at 243-244.)

 (28)  "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)

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


Did you know.....

A Florida State University study indicates that law abiding citizens use handguns approximately 645,000 times a year in self-protection, with an additional 350,000 self-defense uses of rifles and shotguns. For thousands the possession and use of a firearm is the difference between being a victim of a violent crime and successfully thwarting a criminal attack. (The Firing Line, October 1991, Gary Kleck, criminologist, Florida State University)


"THE BILL OF RIGHTS --- Void where prohibited by law"

 Additional Comments and Observations

 "No legislative act contrary to the Constitution can be valid. To deny this would be to affirm that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above the master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people; that men, acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid. It is not to be supposed that the Constitution could intend to enable the representatives of the people to substitute their will to that of their constituents. A Constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by judges as fundamental law. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the  two, the Constitution is to be preferred to the statute." (A.Hamilton, Federalist Papers #78 See also Warning v. The Mayor of Savannah, 60 Georgia, P.93; First Trust Co. v. Smith, 277 SW 762,  Marbury v. Madison, 2 L Ed 60; and Am.Juris. 2d Constitutional Law, section 177-178)

 "All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void." Marbury vs. Madison

 "It cannot be presumed that any clause in the Constitution is intended to be without effect..." - Chief Justice John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, 1803

 "Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes crimes out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded." - Abraham Lincoln

 "Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them." Miranda vs. Arizona

 "When any court violates the clean and unambiguous language of the constitution, a fraud is perpetrated and no one is bound to obey it." - State v. Sutton 63 Minn 167, 65 NW 262, 30 LRA 630

 "Constitutional rights may not be infringed simply because the majority of the people choose that they be." - Westbrook v. Mihaly 2 C3d 756

 "Under our form of government, the legislature is not supreme...like other departments of government, it can only exercise such powers as have been delegated to it, and when it steps beyond that boundary, its acts, like those of the most humble magistrate in the state who transcends his jurisdiction, are utterly void." - Billings v. Hall 7 CA 1

 "If the legislature clearly misinterprets a Constitutional provision, the frequent repetition of the wrong will not create a right." Amos v. Mosley, 77 SO 619. Also see Kingsley v. Metril, 99 NW 1044

 "Where the meaning of the  Constitution is clear and unambiguous, there can be no resort to construction to attribute to the founders a purpose or intent NOT MANIFEST IN ITS LETTER." Norris v. Baltimore 192 A 531

 "An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed." Norton vs. Shelby County, 118 US 425 p.442

 "The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of it's enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it."

 "No on is bound to obey an unconstitutional law, and no courts are bound to enforce it." 16 Am Jur 2d, Sec 177, late 2d, Sec 256

 "We find it intolerable that one constitutional right should have to be surrendered in order to assert another." - Simmons v. US, 390 US 389 (1968)

 "The state cannot diminish rights of the people." - Hurtado v. California 110 US 516.

 "Our rejection of the request for jury nullification doctrine is a recognition that there are times when logic is not the only or even best guide to sound conduct of government." US v. Dougherty, 473 F.2d 1113 (C.A.D.C., 1972) (Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, not the S.Ct.)

 "I want people to be able to get what they need to live: enough food, a place to live, and an education for their children. Government does not provide these as well as private charities and businesses". Colonel David Crockett, member of Congress 1827-32, 1832-35, said it well: We have rights, as individuals, to give as much of our own money as we please to charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of public money.

 "God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it." -  Daniel Webster

 "The signification attributed to the term, Militia, appear from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense... And further, that ordinarily when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of a kind in common use at the time." US Supreme Court, US v Miller

 "But if anti-gun advocates feel prohibiting or confiscating upward of 70 million handguns is justified to save 13 young children's lives, why does saving 381 annually not justify banning  swimming  pools,  or at least prohibiting their proliferation? Is it possible that anti-gun fanatics are motivated more by hatred of guns and their owners than by saving lives?" - "Gun Accidents", by Don B. Kates, Jr.

 "The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of the truth - that error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it has been cured of one error, is usually another error, and often times one worse than the first one."  H. L. Mencken

 "We, too, born to freedom, and believing in freedom, are willing to fight to maintain freedom. We, and all others who believe as deeply as we do, would rather die on our feet than live on our knees."-FDR

 "It's not that conservatives don't care. We do. We just have different answers than liberals do.  It's a difference of the mind, not of the heart." - Tom Selleck

 "It is vain, Sir, to extenuate the matter. The gentlemen may cry, peace, peace! But there is no peace. The war has actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the North will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already on the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that the 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's speech at the Virginia Convention, Richmond [mar 23,1775])

 "There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty." John Adams' notes for an oration at braintree [spring 1772] "Fear is the foundation of most governments." thoughts on governments [1776]

 "When annual elections end, there slavery begins." thoughts on governments [1776]

 "The strongest reason for the People to retain the Right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." Thomas Jefferson federalist papers "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." motto on Thomas Jefferson's seal [c. 1776]

 "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."  Nathan Hale last words before being hanged by the British as a spy [Sept 22, 1776]

 "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin historical review of Pennsylvania [1759]

 "The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws." Tacitus roman senator and historian (a.d. 56-115)

 "The right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against tyranny which now appears remote in America, that historically has proven to be always possible."  Hubert H. Humphrey

 Listen to the man who is probably the best known proponent of non-violence in all modern history, the late Mohandas K. Gandhi: "Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as one of the blackest." Also: "The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still small voice within me."

 "Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." Thomas Paine Common Sense [1776]