03/4/09

WHAT THE FOUNDING FATHERS THOUGHT ABOUT “GUN CONTROL”

From Founding Fathers Quotes (Hat Tip: THANKS TO JERRY OF NYC & LI ACT!):

These definitive quotations should put an end to all arguments as to what our founding fathers (and the Bible) meant regarding gun ownership. Read them while pondering Obama’s ideas on gun and ammunition controls…. – Allan

Topic #1.
WHAT THE FOUNDING FATHERS THOUGHT ABOUT “GUN CONTROL”

Benjamin Franklin: Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” (Nov 11 1755, from the Pennsylvania Assembly’s reply to the Governor of Pennsylvania.)

Thomas Jefferson: “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined or determined to commit crimes. Such laws only make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assassins; they serve to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” (1764 Letter and speech from T. Jefferson quoting with approval an essay by Cesare Beccari)

John Adams: “Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion in private self defense.” (A defense of the Constitution of the US)

George Washington: “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the people’s liberty teeth (and) keystone… the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable… more than 99% of them [guns] by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference [crime]. When firearms go, all goes, we need them every hour.” (Address to 1st session of Congress)

George Mason: “To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them.” (3 Elliot, Debates at 380)

Noah Webster: “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe.” (1787, Pamphlets on the Constitution of the US)

George Washington: “A free people ought to be armed.” (Jan 14 1790, Boston Independent Chronicle.)

Thomas Jefferson: “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” (T. Jefferson papers, 334, C.J. Boyd, Ed. 1950)

James Madison: “Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the people of other countries, whose people are afraid to trust them with arms.” (Federalist Paper #46)

Topic #2:
WHAT THE FOUNDING FATHERS MEANT BY THE “MILITIA”

George Mason: “I ask you sir, who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people.” (Elliott, Debates, 425-426)

Richard Henry Lee: “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves…and include all men capable of bearing arms.” (Additional letters from the Federal Farmer, at 169, 1788)

James Madison: “A WELL REGULATED militia, composed of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country.” (1st Annals of Congress, at 434, June 8th 1789, emphasis added.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Back in the 18th century, a “regular” army meant an army that had
standard military equipment. So a “well regulated” army was simply one that was “well equipped.” It does NOT refer to a professional army. The 17th century folks used the term “STANDING Army” to describe a professional army. THEREFORE, “a well regulated militia” only means a well equipped militia. It does not imply the modern meaning of “regulated,” which means controlled or administered by some superior entity. Federal control over the militia comes from other parts of the Constitution, but not from the second amendment. (my personal opinion)

Patrick Henry: “The people have a right to keep and bear arms.” (Elliott, Debates at 185)

Alexander Hamilton: “…that standing army can never be formidable (threatening) to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in the use of arms.” (Federalist Paper #29)

“Little more can be aimed at with respect to the people at large than to have them properly armed and equipped.” (Id) {responding to the claim that the militia itself could threaten liberty}” There is something so far-fetched, and so extravagant in the idea of danger of liberty from the militia that one is at a loss whether to treat it with gravity or raillery (mockery). (Id)

Topic #3:
MODERN LEADERS THOUGHTS ON GUN CONTROL:

Adolf Hitler: “This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead.” (Chancelor’s Speech, 1935)

Charles Shumer: (US Congress, has sworn an oath to defend the US Constitution) “All we ask for is registration, just like we do for cars.” (Press conference, 1993, exact date being sought)

Adof Hitler: “The most foolish mistake we could make would be to allow the subject peoples to possess arms. So let’s not have any talk about native militias.” (Hitler’s Secret Conversations, 1941-44, Farrar, Strauss and Young, 1953)

Mao Tse Tung: “All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party.” (Problems of War and Strategy, Nov 6 1938, published in “Selected Works of Mao Zedong,” 1965)

Diane Feinstein: “US Senator, If I could have banned them all- ‘Mr. and Mrs. America turn in your guns’ -I would have!” (Statement on TV program 69 Minutes, Feb 5 1995)

Mahatma 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 the blackest.” (“Gandhi, an Autobiography,” M.K. Gandhi, 446)

Sigmund Freud: “A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.” (“General Introduction to Psychoanalysis,” S. Freud)

Bill Clinton: (US President, has sworn an oath to defend the US Constitution, (not to violate it, criticize it, and belittle it)) “When we got organized as a country, [and] wrote a fairly radical Constitution, with a radical Bill of Rights, giving radical amounts of freedom to Americans, it was assumed that Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly…When personal freedom is being abused, you have to move to limit it.” (April 19 1994, on MTV)

TOPIC #4:
FOUNDING FATHERS INTENT BEHIND THE CONSTITUTION:

Samual Adams: “The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” (Convention of the Commonwealth of Mass., 86-87, date still being sought)

Noah Webster: “Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority…the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.” (Source still being sought)

Thomas Jefferson: “On every occasion…[of Constitutional interpretation] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying [to force] what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, [instead let us] conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” (June 12 1823, Letter to William Johnson)

Topic #5:
RELIGION, WEAPONS AND SELF DEFENSE:

“Now there was no metal smith found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines had said, “Lest the Hebrews make for themselves swords or spears”…But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, each man to sharpen his plow blade, his coulter, his ax and his maddock. So it came to pass on the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul or Johnathan; but with Saul and Johnathan there was found [other lethal weapons] 1 Samuel 13:19-22)

“Jesus said, ‘But now whoever has a purse or a bag, must take it and whoever does not have a sword must sell his cloak and buy one.'” (Luke 22:36) “If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed.” (Exodus 22:2) (Note, the test later indicates that this right to kill does not apply to a daytime break in. So in daylight, self defense must be shone.)

“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his house, his possessions are safe.” (Matthew 11:21) (Note, the text later states that a stronger or better armed criminal could overpower a weaker or poorly armed victim, so get a magnum!)