"A people armed and free forms a barrier against
the enterprises of ambition and is a bulwark for
the nation against foreign invasion and domestic oppression."
by:
James Madison
(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
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Regulation of all types, knives to machine guns and beyond, form a bulwark against foreign invasion and domestic oppression if used appropriately in great abundance.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    The key word here is "forms". The armed people must be organized as in a militia. Private attacks against perceived oppression usually results in one being blown away, as at Ruby Ridge.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Waffler, get someone to read this quote to you and think again. The quote says nothing about a militia. It says "A people Armed and Free", and that should be clear enough for even you to understand.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    How about modern quotes on the subject - these are not in context anymore
     -- RobertSRQ     
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    The Constitution is always in context, Robert. The issues that plagued ancient Rome are the same issues the Founders faced and the same issues we face today. Putting guns in the hands of politicians and taking them from the People is a bad sign. When the people can no longer 'be trusted' to possess arms for their own defense, watch the government abuse the privilege. This is as relevant today as ever.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    A people disarmed is a people enslaved. Is that modern enough for you Robert?
     -- T. Williams, Vidor, TX     
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    So the constitution is always in context - tell that to the White House – plus, those quotes are not the constitution – please tell me where tom, dick, or harry is allowed, in the constitution, to carry a gun - Militia’s, now that’s different. If Militia’s existed they would soon be terminated by the FBI and CIA. Rome imploded because of greed and megalomania. Archer, rest assured, it would take more that a gun or two for individual defense - as Reston said - the brain is far more of a weapon. A people enslaved are those who think they are armed.
     -- RobertSRQ     
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    Jimmy it is you that has got to learn to think. The quote says that "a people armed and free FORMS a barrier". The quote drips with the sentiment of organization and unity of the people against domestic and foreign enemies. It does not say that a person or any person armed and free forms a barrier. In America no one group has ever, to my knowledge tried, to take over any city, county, or state let alone the Feds, let us keep it that way. There have been assainations but if you conspire to take on democratic system by force of arms historically you won't get to many to go along with you. There is good reason for that in my opinion. It is because of the overwheling sense of goodwill we have in our way of doing things. Except for the lunatic fringe. America is celebrated as the oldest democracy in the world with a peaceful transition from one electiong to the next. Once we start using arms instead of discussion as our principal source of persuasion we will be lost.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    The argument is never "what kind of weapons can we legislate" or of what uses we can get out of certain weapons, but of simple inalienable rights. Can an honest and law-abiding person be discriminated against? We have the right to self protection by whatever means accomplishes the job. PERIOD! I do NOT, however, have an inalienable right to infringe upon another's inalienable right... And when I step out of my rights to infringe upon another's rights, it is reasoned that I have given up my civil protection of expressing my inalienable rights within society. What right does my neighbor have to legitimately regulate me when I have done nothing wrong? What of two neighbors, three, ten-thousand, etc...? We've gone over this before, there is no arbitrary number wherein the majority may infringe upon the "inalienable" rights of the individual. It is merely a consequence to my inalienable right that protection comes may come in the form of a 9mm, an AR-15, or a grenade. When did we ever abdicate inalienable right of self-protection of the individual to the government? Robert, I just looked over the Constitution and found nothing (including the Amendments) that abdicated my right of self-protection to the government -- could you point me to that clause? Furthermore, Robert, could you tell me the place in the Constitution where the people are prohibited from carrying a gun? I seemed to forget that clause too -- hopefully you can find it, because if you can't, by virtue of the 9th and 10th Amendment, I automatically have the right. Looking at the news last night (and for the last 20 years), it didn't look like the police did all that great of a job "protecting" all the people that were innocently murdered because they didn't have the wherewithal to protect themselves. There was a time, however, a few year back, when a shooter went on a killing spree in a mall near my home; interesting enough, he kept killing until a civilian who was carrying his own legally carrying his own 9mm confronted and shot the shooter. Ironically, you hardly ever hear of a person who was murdered in his home when the homeowner protected himself with a firearm; however, sadly, you hear of occasions where armed robbers have civilly sued the homeowners for medical bills stemming from the homeowners self-defense of shooting said armed robber, and who WON their case against the homeowner. Ah, land of the free, what have we done to ourselves? Waffler, btw, (Republics vs. Democracy argument aside) history does not say that we are the "oldest" Democracy -- it is a highly debated topic in Political Science wherein many other countries have many legitimate claims to being "democratic" long before the United States (besides, there are several things the United States has even done domestically that has seemed to disqualify some international recognition of the US being continuously "democratic" since 1783). Just some food for thought.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Logan what logic does it make that an American national can have any weapon he deems necessary but yet the Iranian Nation or people cannot? You might be right about your history but as we know while the US went from one administration to another for 232 years now, the Eujropean countries from which we originally sprung have had individual dictatorships, party dictatorships, alternate republics vs. monarchy, civil wars etcetera. As in Italy, Germany, Russia, Poland, France and Spain. Given their history I think we should be thankful we have gotten along as we have. Your argument about inalienable rights to have anything we want sure does sound fine and convincing. It simply lacks any common sense. Name a society where one individual had more fire power than the rest of the individuals combined. If you find one then I am sure it was a dictatorship of one.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    The difference between an American national and the Iranian national is the premise of government. Heavily influenced Islamic states operate on a different set of understandings, beliefs, and fundamental outlooks in the way they administer and establish their "laws". Are we both men, the Iranian and the American? Yes. Should be both be allowed to protect ourselves in any possible way? I would argue, yes. Is there a difference in perceptions between our two civilizations are concerned? Yes. The American "experiment" was not merely concerning a government that ran its tasks by the voice of the people, so much as it was an experiment upon the ideology and philosophy of the Enlightenment. It was the movement of the Enlightenment that rejected the "divine rule of kings", dictators, and tyrants, and tried to instill a system of government wherein a type of the Grecian philosophy of a natural "polis" could be realized (by "polis" I do not purport a City-State system of government, but of the ideology behind the Greeks in believing a polis was a living, breathing, and natural entity that existed in nature as much as the trees, birds, water, and animals). We are still living the American experiment -- we are still trying to prove whether man is capable of being self-governing or if he needs absolute mandate and regulation. To purport regulation is to realign oneself to the ideology before the Enlightenment, which is fine -- just call it what it is. International and American civilizations have advanced far enough today, that there will probably never be a reverting back to the days of the "divine right of kings"; however, there are other more subtle philosophies that some people purport that would render back to government the same powers held by these kings (albeit these new rulers could very well be Democratically elected and be ruling despots by majority consensus), and reject the American experiment of man living completely free to move, act, and defend himself against anyone else. I argue that man can actually be self-governing fully, if given the ability, and can actually own every firearm known to man without being a public enemy (but being a public protectorate). The problem is that our society is moving towards an ideology wherein the individual is no longer trusted to be self-governing, but the innocent law-abiding citizens are being controlled. Ironically enough, this ideology most often serves to make the honest people honest, as these citizens give up their means of protection (guns, ammo, knives, etc.) when government laws prohibit them -- while criminals (who, by definition, are lawbreakers) reject the arbitrary "law" and retain their weapons to cause havoc. We have so far traveled the road of distrust of our neighbor, that we are regulating nearly everything at an alarming rate. It is impossible to enforce self-government -- this is why Machiavelli considered religion to be a necessary evil to any Republic, because, even in its most evil form, still conquered the soul of man wherein government could never touch.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Should the "militia" have guns? Robert thinks so. So what is the militia? According to the Code of Federal Regulations it is: TITLE 10 - ARMED FORCES Subtitle A - General Military Law PART I - ORGANIZATION AND GENERAL MILITARY POWERS CHAPTER 13 - THE MILITIA Sec. 311. Militia: composition and classes -STATUTE- (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard. (b) The classes of the militia are - (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    Very good Ken. So it is seen here that even the unorganized militia is part of and comes under the control of the Pentagon. None of these forces have any authorization to attack themselves, us, or the government. All force in this country is under the government.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    I am sorry to tell you, but the definition of a militia was coined some time after the founding fathers stated their position. Thus that definition is unconstitutional and illegal. The great men who created our country saw for themselves that a well-armed people, skilled in the use of those arms, are as a result, a free people. When the general public is armed, they form and are the militia. A people disarmed and dependent are surfs and SLAVES.
     -- Ken, Milford Pa     
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    I've got no problem working for the Pentagon, Waffler. I've been doing so for the last couple of decades and change and have found most everyone, active duty and civilian, to be good men and women who are there for more than just a paycheck. The unorganized militia certainly is part of the military reserves of the country and comes under the authority of the duly constituted government. However, just as is laid out in the Declaration of Independence, there can come a time when a government can lose its legitimacy through misbehavior and the militia must rebel. This was an extreme circumstance in our own history and was not, and should never be, taken lightly. The option and right must always be there for our own protection and the only way to retain that right is for the people to retain arms.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    Robert you are a fool.
     -- warren, olathe     
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     -- Anonymous, Texas      
    Robert, human nature has not changed. The quote is every bit as relevant today as the day it was uttered.
     -- Tony, Silver Spring, Md     
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    Some would think our nation was founded by sheep, quite the opposite, "Wolves divide the spoil in the night." Christian theologians who would preach otherwise, pervert the doctrines of Liberty, making their congregation as sheep easily led by/through temptation. Assets not liabilities are needed in defence of our Liberty and Freedom. Easily led are ignorant minds who wounder at What our Liberty and Freedom are. A well informed citizenry armed to the teeth, make the greatest asset against tyranny from within and abroad.
     -- Ronw13, OR     
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     -- robert, somewhere inthe USA      
    Hey, Robert, you said in a previous post today that you now carry a concealed weapon with license. Your previous comment (RobertSRQ) above seems to contradict. What happened? ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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