" 'The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.' The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the milita, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right."
1 Ga. (1 Kel.) 243, at 251(1846)
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Reader comments about this quote:
People here in new jersey should keep this mind for the next time they vote !!
 -- stephen r sowders, Bellmawr nj     
     -- Pedro Borrero, Yauco, Puerto Rico      
    And note that the statement here is that the end purpose is for the "rearing up and qualifiyihg a well regulated militia", not such that your drunk neighbor can carry her snub nose pearl handled pea shooter and acidentially shoot your child who is walking your dog...
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA, US     
    Every law abiding citizen should have the choice to carry a gun. It's what keeps us safe and free.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    I doubt that any "drunk neighbor" has shot a child walking a dog". Where guns are banned, crime always increases. I'll speak slowly so even Anonymous will get it. When guns are banned by the government the criminals keep their guns as law abiding, citizens turn theirs in. Then the only armed people are cops and criminals, and if you think the cops will protect you, think again. The cops will, however, make a report after you are shot or stabbed by an intruder who knows that you are unarmed.
     -- jim k, austin     
    Here's a thought: Gun Control is the absurd theory that a woman found dead in an alley, raped and strangled with her own panty hose is somehow morally superior to the woman explaining to the police how her attacker had his head blown off.~ Beat that gun grabbers!
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    WOW ! ! ! it doesn't get more clear than that. 2 of many states. . . "That no citizen of this state shall be compelled to bear arms, provided he will pay an equivalent, to be ascertained by law." (Article I, Section 28 Tennessee Constitution) "That every member of society hath a right to be protected in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and therefore is bound to contribute the member's proportion towards the expense of that protection, . . . nor can any person who is conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, be justly compelled thereto, if such person will pay such equivalent." (Chapter 1 Article 9 Vermont Constitution). Liberal Vermont is even in the process of registering all people that do NOT possess arms or other regulation so that they may be charged for the added burden. This court rendering also helps to distinguish which regulation may be possessed by the individual sovereign not under immediate charge (more than just pistols, shotguns, and rifles).
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    oops, a correction / clarification, Vermont is not in the process of registering but rather, in the process of considering a bill that would authorize registering.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Our weapons are our only way to keep our government in check!
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    The virtue of this statement is that is shows the indissoluble link between the (believed) necessity of a militia and the fact that no militia can possibly exist without citizens having weapons of their own at the ready. Justice Scalia's fantasy that the "original intent" of the 2nd Amendment is to make the right to bear arms independent of its relationship to the militia ignores the obvious original intent of the word "guns," which was specificly the flintlock musket or similar weapons which required a significant pause after each shot is fired to prepare the weapon to fire again. Today's military attack weapons, in the hands of citizens, would enable the sole rebel to eliminate an entire militia. In as much as the original militia has been totally absorbed in to the US Defense Department, the 2nd Amendment is now devoid of any practical utility whatsoever and should be, by amendment, removed from the Bill of Rights in order to avoid engendering the sense that every man should be an army of one. Our citizens are dying daily as our US weapons flood into Mexico (whose laws otherwise tightly restrict private ownership of guns) and are brought back north of the border by the infamous drug gangs that we have thus armed. Every home in which there is an adolescent with a psychiatric disorder (and there are millions) is placing a son or daughter in grave danger of suicide daily, and every home in which there are toddlers and other young children risks tragic deaths of children every day.Private ownership of firearms must be abolished immediately.
     -- Timothy Ray, Gainesville, FL     
    Sounds good but I personally know of individuals family and friends and indirectly know of millions who were perfectly good marksman, cannoneers and bayoneters who became highly quliefied milita men, soldiers, sailors and airmen whithout ever previously owning or using a gun, cannon or bayonet. The thesis of the purpose may be entirely flawed. He seems to say that we all need to play with guns in order to ever be serious about using them. I suggest that is not true. Most civilian citizen soldiers never had a gun before or after the wars but none the less were excellent warriors..That is not to say that Americans should not have a right to bear arms but I repeat it is not necessary to bear arms in private life in order to use professional in the service of the state miltia. History has shown that the leaders of the miltia are very good at training us.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    PS: In most villages and towns in history have kept the guns locked up in the Armory until needed. The citizenry did not need to play with them all of the time in order to be able to use them during an emergency. Come on guys start thinking outside of the box and quit being knee jerkers. You are not free nor living in liberty until you can think outside of the box and for yourselves.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    Excellent quotation. There is no ambiguity in the Second Amendment if its grammatical construction and the historical intent of the Founders are both understood. The colonists and earlier settlers before them could not have survived without firearms to provide both food and protection. Today anyone who thinks the police can always protect them has a bad case of unreality. Times haven't changes that much. Bad guys prey on the weak and defenseless.
     -- Joy, Hansville     
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