Second Amendment – The right to keep and bear arms.
"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."
"The whole of the Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals…It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has the right to deprive them of." –Albert Gallatin, October 7, 1789,
New York Historical Society
"...the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms" – from article in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette June 18, 1789 at 2, col.2.
"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, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 86-87 (Pierce & Hale, eds, Boston, 1850).
"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 pretense by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both." –William Rawle, A View of the Constitution 125-6 (2nd ed. 1829)
"The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them." –Joseph Story, called the father of America’s Jurisprudence, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States; With a Preliminary Review of the Constitutional History of the Colonies and States before the Adoption of the Constitution [Boston, 1833].
"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and the keystone under independence." –George Washington
COMMENTARIES ON RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." –Thomas Jefferson papers
"It is not certain that with this aid alone [possession of arms], they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to posses the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will, and direct the national force; and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned, in spite of the legions which surround it." –James Madison, Federalist No. 46.
"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, Walter Bennett, ed., Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican, at 21,22,124 (Univ. of Alabama Press, 1975)
"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
"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
"The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them." –Zachariah Johnson
"A free people ought … to be armed …" –George Washington
"… the people have a right to keep and bear arms." –Patrick Henry and George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 386
"Arms in the hands of citizens [may] be used at individual discretion for the defense of the country, the overthrow of tyranny, or in private self-defense …" –John Adams
"The great object is that every man be armed" and "everyone who is able may have a gun." –Patrick Henry, in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution. Debates and other Proceedings of the Convention of Virginia … taken in shorthand by David Robertson of Petersburg, at 271, 275 2d ed. Richmond, 1805. Also 3 Elliot, Debates at 386
"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).
"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 of the use of them…" –Thomas Paine, Writings of Thomas Paine, at 56,1894, Thoughts on Defensive War (1775).
"When firearms go, all goes; we need them every hour." –George Washington
"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, The Encyclopedia of T. Jefferson, 318, Foley, Ed.
When speaking in Virginia in a fiery speech for freedom, Patrick Henry proclaimed; "… an appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!"
"The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it." –Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers.
IN closing, here are some facts that you may not know, just for an example:
a. The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000.
b. Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000.
c. Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171. (Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health &Human Services)
a. The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000.
b. The number of accidental gun deaths per year (all age groups) is 1,500.
c. The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is 0.000188.
Statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.
Should we create legislation to ban doctors?
Remember, "Guns don't kill people, doctors do.