Gun Quotes from America’s Founding Fathers

Bill_of_Rights_
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.

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

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

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 your constant companion of your walks.them.
 
– Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1785    

One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them.
– Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796

We established however some, although not all its [self-government] important principles . The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed;
– Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824

No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
– Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution, 1776

I enclose you a list of the killed, wounded, and captives of the enemy from the commencement of hostilities at Lexington in April, 1775, until November, 1777, since which there has been no event of any consequence … I think that upon the whole it has been about one half the number lost by them, in some instances more, but in others less. This difference is ascribed to our superiority in taking aim when we fire; every soldier in our army having been intimate with his gun from his infancy.
– Thomas Jefferson to Giovanni Fabbroni, 1778

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

To model our political system upon speculations of lasting tranquility, is to calculate on the weaker springs of the human character.
– Alexander Hamilton

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined…. The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.
– Patrick Henry

[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.
– James Madison, The Federalst Papers, No. 46

A government resting on the minority is an aristocracy, not a Republic, and could not be safe with a numerical and physical force against it, without a standing army, an enslaved press and a disarmed populace.
– James Madison

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)

Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man gainst 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, 1788

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

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
– William Pitt

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, 1788

When the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually…I ask, who are the militia? They consist of now of the whole people, except a few public officers. But I cannot say who will be the militia of the future day. If that paper on the table gets no alteration, the militia of the future day may not consist of all classes, high and low, and rich and poor…
– George Mason, Virginia convention, 1788

The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.
– Samuel Adams

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

The whole of that Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals…[I]t establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of.
– Albert Gallatin to Alexander Addison, 1789

Conceived it to be the privilege of every citizen, and one of his most essential rights, to bear arms, and to resist every attack upon his liberty or property, by whomsoever made. The particular states, like private citizens, have a right to be armed, and to defend, by force of arms, their rights, when invaded.
– Roger Sherman, 1790

This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty…. The right of self defense is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.
– St. George Tucker

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