Liberty, its Preservation and Destruction

Was the second amendment to the Constitution really meant to protect our right to own weapons which are primarily designed to kill large numbers of people in a short amount of time?

  • ... God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... 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 remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
    -- Thomas Jefferson, Nov. 13, 1787
  • After the enemies with guns have been wiped out, there will still be enemies without guns; they are bound to struggle desperately against us, and we must never regard these enemies lightly.
    -- Mao Tsetung, "Report to the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China" (March 5, 1949)

  • Every Communist must grasp the truth, "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."
    -- Mao Tsetung, "Problems of War and Strategy" (November 6, 1938)

Isn't there something in the Constitution about a "well organized" militia that's supposed to limit the use of arms?

  • The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistable. 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 birth-right of an American...the 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.
    --Tench Coxe 20 Feb. 1788
  • 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.
    --Amendment II, Constitution of these United States of America, ratified December 15, 1791
  • To disarm the people (is) the best and most effectual way to enslave them.
    --George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 380
  • 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, I Annals of Congress at 750, 17 August 1789
  • No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
    --Thomas Jefferson, proposed Virginia Constitution, June 1776, 1 T. Jefferson Papers, 334 {betraying the racially biased source of victim disarmament}

  • 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)
  • 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 people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any body of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.
    --Noah Webster, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution
  • ... 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
  • ... but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formitible 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 Paper 29
  • The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.
    --Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-188
  • 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

  • Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.
    --Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1738

  • To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, countries or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws.
    --John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States 475 (1787-1788)
  • 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.
    --falsely attributed to Thomas Jefferson, although it is a reasonable distillation of his attitudes towards armament and government

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