"The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator? and does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty? It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse, and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons."
Cesare Beccaria
(1735-1794) [Bonesana, Marchese di] Italian nobleman, criminologist, and penal reformer
Dei delitti e delle pene, [On Crimes and Punishments] ch.38 (1764)
Translation is as quoted by Thomas Jefferson in his _Commonplace Book_, 1809 Edition, which was "the source book and repertory of Jefferson's ideas on government."
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Reader comments about this quote:
A little wordy to make the point but, YES, we hold this truth to be self evident.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 2
     -- David, Mannington      
    It may be a wordy quote but contains the entire argument against gun control in a nutshell.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 2
     -- jim k, Austin      
    Too wordy?
    How about this one from Thomas Sowell...
    Gun Control: OSHA for criminals.
     -- Walter Clark, Fullerton, CA     
    Written 248 years ago and still "spot on"! Not wordy at all. Covers the real reason that the 2nd Amendment MUST stand against the tyrants!
     -- Anonymous, Niceville     
  • 2
    Eighteenth Century liberal nails it . Could it be that the progressives are right ?
    Our founders were not the conservatives of then , those creatures wanted to keep man enslaved , exactly as do those of the left , today .

    Validate your 2nd Amendment Rights...... Carry
     -- Aebe mac Gill, North Powder     
  • 1 1
    Very wordy and well said, eloquent ! One of the most common sense statements to date ! In protecting the " Wholesome family unit" from corruption for profit. Enslavement of your fellow neighbor, let alone exaction from strangers. The sovereignty of the individual under/at Liberty endowed by the Creator of heaven and earth. When will people understand " Freewill creates the More Perfect Union of association. By No means is our Republic to be considered a democracy. But a democratic Republican form of government. Seeing Clearly Jefferson form the first " democratic Republican Party ! In opposition to the federalist party, not to be misunderstood as the representative of the Federal form of government We the People condone as administering and safe guarding our Liberties and Freedom !
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
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