"Who are the militia, if they be not the people of this country...?
I ask, who are the militia?  They consist of now of the whole people,
except a few public officers."
George Mason
(1725-1792), drafted the Virgina Declaration of Rights, ally of James Madison and George Washington
in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution, June 16, 1788,
in_Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution,_
Jonathan Elliot, ed., v.3 p.425 (Philadelphia, 1836)
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Mike, Norwalk      
This is the guy that wrote the Second Amendment, I reckon he knows what he meant by it.
 -- P.M., KS     
    The words in the amendment are not the same as the words in this quote. As with all politics, often it is a process of compromise. That this person may have wanted it to say this is not important, what is important is what was actually said in the amendment and what the collective ratification process felt they were ratifiying.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
    He must not have known what he meant, but I guess you do Reston. Amazing.
     -- Mike, Mount Holly, NC     
    Reston, PRETTY PLEASE! In light of yesterday and today's quotes and all the comments that followed, (making it very clear what I believe the intent of the founders was) please enlighten the readers of this blog as to what the second Amendment really says and what it means.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Reston does not have the answer to that question. See the articles and correspondence of the founders, where they clearly elaborate that each individual should be armed.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
    I thought this may be woth repeating from the WEST WING (TELEVISION SHOW): Somebody came along and said 'liberal' means 'soft on crime, soft on drugs, soft on Communism, soft on defense, and we're gonna tax you back to the Stone Age because people shouldn't have to go to work if they don't want to.' And instead of saying, 'Well, excuse me, you right-wing, reactionary, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-education, anti-choice, pro-gun, Leave it to Beaver trip back to the '50s,' we cowered in the corner and said, 'Please don't hurt me.'
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
    If you want to know what the founding father's meant, read The Second Amendment Primer by Les Adams. Then, Reston, you may understand the words above ARE the words of the 2nd Amendment. And I won't cower in the corner begging not to be hurt, I'll draw my concealed firearm and defend myself.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
    The Second Amendment says what it says. You want my guns Reston, come get em.
     -- Anonymous, Raleigh, NC     
    All you have to do is read the history of the American Revolution to know that EVERYONE capable of fighting for Independence was considered the militia. And for those gloom and doomers, Switzerland observes the exact principles of those espoused in the US Constitution -- every able bodied man is trained in the army and brings his weapons home with him. In most every home are rifles, handguns and other specialty weapons that stand at the ready, dispersed among the people. And yet no one is 'going postal' over there. It is a matter of education -- not just in the use of arms but in what it is that we are supposed to defend.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Liberals live in a gray world of moral relativism with no absolutes of right and wrong. They see property as belonging to the masses and not individuals. They believe a man lives for the greater good of society and not for himself and his own family. They have very little concept of self-worth and value themselves very little, although they talk constantly about self-esteem. Because of this, they have nothing to defend and see no need to be armed.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
    Yeah Ken from Allyn, when the heavy stuff comes down, you'll still be pandering and licking up to your govt. controllers, lapping up every tasty piece of propaganda. If you are following the goosesteppers in Washington, I'll truly be a smiling liberal as I rip your ass in half with my full auto FNFAL while you cower for the protection of your fascist trainers leading your attack on our neighborhood. Take off your diapers and go home to pray because your type of conservative is spelled C-O-W-A-R-D, look that up as you name-call the same citizens you need to spell Constitution for you.(and that's not G-E-D or G-O-D)
     -- Bronac, Alexandria, VA     
    Even JFK, a father of American liberalisim, had enough courage to say that the public as a whole is the militia. Apparently , the words "keep" and "bear" do not resound with the modern unbathed liberals as loudly as it did with Jack. The trumpet of individualisim has sounded in over 40 states, and CCW is here to stay.
     -- Houston, Georgia     
    Where are individuals of civil manners? Where are the diplomats? Where are the truly educated? Where are cooperative processers of life. Where are the recovered humans?  Where are the law abiding for humanity?
     -- Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown     
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