The Second amendment to the United States Constitution provides:
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 history of the Second Amendment indicates that its purposes were to secure to each individual the right to keep and bear arms so that he could protect his absolute individual rights as well as carry out his obligation to assist in the common defense. It is evident that the framers of the Constitution did not intend to limit the right to keep and bear arms to a formal military body or organized militia, but intended to provide for an “unorganized” armed citizenry prepared to assist in the common defense against a foreign invader or a domestic tyrant. This concept of an unorganized, armed citizenry clearly recognized the right, and moreover the duty, to keep and bear arms in an individual capacity.
“The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.” PATRICK HENRY, 3 Elliot, Debates at 386.
“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 tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to William S. Smith, 1787, in S. Padover (Ed.), Jefferson, On Democracy (1939), p. 20.
“I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” -George Mason, Co-author of the Second Amendment during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
“A free people ought…to be armed…” GEORGE WASHINGTON, speech of Jan. 7, 1790 in the Boston Independent Chronicle, Jan. 14, 1790.
“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 constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that … it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; … “Thomas Jefferson letter to Justice John Cartwright, June 5, 1824. ME 16:45.
“A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.” Thomas Jefferson
The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government-lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” Patrick Henry
“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, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.
“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety” Benjamin Franklin
“I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery”, Thomas Jefferson
“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, Encyclopedia of T. Jefferson, 318 (Foley, Ed., 1967).
Also, the liberal article acts as if Supreme Court members have never commented previously on the Amendment:
“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 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.”– Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story of the John Marshall Court
“One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offense to keep arms.”– Constitutional scholar and Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, 1840
“To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carry a war arm… is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional privilege.”
– Arkansas Supreme Court –1878