A Collection of Quotations Asserting the Validity of the
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
--U.S. Constitution (2nd Amendment)
The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a
firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that
arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense
--District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), majority opinion
The question presented by this case is not whether the Second
Amendment protects a “collective right” or an “individual right.”
Surely it protects a right that can be enforced by individuals.
But a conclusion that the Second Amendment protects an individual
--District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), dissenting opinion
You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as
a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which
our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence.
--Charles Austin Beard (1874-1948)
They that can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety
--Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790),U.S. statesman, scientist,
/Historical Review of Pennsylvania/, 1759
Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither
nclined 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
than an armed man.
--Cesare Bonesana, marchese di Beccaria (1738-1794), Italian
criminologist, /Essay on Crimes and Punishments/, quoted by Thomas
Jefferson in /The Commonplace Book/
than those attending too small a degree of it.
--Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. President, letter to Archibald
Stewart, December 23, 1791
anything to stop him.
--James Gill, on friend Jonathan Blunk,
killed in the Aurora, CO Century movie theater shooting
We are a nation of laws. Our law protects the law-abiding
citizens of our nation. It is unfortunate that a young man had to
made to violate the rights of a law-abiding citizen.
--Van Zandt County (TX) Sheriff Linsey Ray, after fatal
shooting of burglar
army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the
--Wilson v. State of Arkansas (1878)
The right of self-defense is the first law of nature; in most
the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext
on the brink of destruction.
--George Tucker, Virginia Supreme Court judge (1803)
For, in principle, there is no difference between a law
the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former be
unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise. But it should
not be forgotten, that it is not only a part of the right that is
as it existed at the adoption of the constitution; and if any
may be, and immaterial the order of time at which it be done, it
s equally forbidden by the constitution.
--Bliss v. Commonwealth of Kentucky (1822)
The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be
nfringed.' The right of the whole people, old and young, men,
every description, and not such merely as are used by the
militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in
the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be
attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia,
s that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the
Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right.
--Nunn v. State of Georgia (1846)
The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself
or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State
the citizen, and `is excepted out of the general powers of
t, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking
--Cockrum v. State of Texas (1859)
....the right to keep arms necessarily involves the right to
to purchase and provide ammunition suitable for such arms, and to
keep them in repair.”
“The rifle of all descriptions, the shot gun, the musket and
to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed or forbidden by the
--Andrews v. State of Tennessee (1871)
Recognized that the right to arms preexisted the Constitution.
The Court stated that the right to arms "is not a right granted
by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon
that instrument for its existence."
--U.S. v. Cruikshank (1876)
The maintenance of the right to bear arms is a most essential one
to every free people and should not be whittled down by technical
--State of North Carolina v. Kerner (1921)
The provision in the Constitution granting the right to all
Legislature to enact any law to the contrary. The exercise of a
the will of the sheriff.
--People of Michigan v. Zerillo (1922)
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on
certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It
exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is
like a storm in the atmosphere.
--Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Abigail Adams (1787)
The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been
considered, as the palladium of the liberties of the republic;
arbitrary power of the rulers; and will generally, even if these
are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist
and triumph over them.
--Justice Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution (1833)
He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.
--Jesus Christ (Luke 22:36)
there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that
original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive
forms of government.
--Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 28 (1787)
When people say things like, “don't let this moment pass without
acting on gun control,” what they're really saying is our
arguments are so unpersuasive that they can only succeed when
--Glenn Harlan Reynolds