"Firearms, especially long guns, occupy a noble place in Canadian history since they are no doubt responsible for the exploitation of a vast and wild territory that had long remained untouched. From 1534 until 1979 (!), the importance of firearms remained uncontested. More than a simple tool of everyday life, they became truly a phenomenon of civilization. At all times and whoever he was, the Canadian was directly in contact with firearms, and he cannot be imagined otherwise. Even today, this symbol of liberty remains intimately related to wide, open spaces, and to a tolerant society. It is the distinctive mark of today's and yesterday's America. Here, in New France, let's repeat it, it is not only soldiers and nobles who have the possibility or privilege to bear arms. Century-old Canadian customs recognize equally to everybody the legal and moral right to acquire a firearm and to use it freely and noncoercively."
Les armes à feu en Nouvelle-France (Montréal: Éditions du Septentrion, 1999), p. 11.
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Reader comments about this quote:
He knows not that of which he speaks! Is he an undercover NRA advocate?
 -- Allan McLeod, New York, NY, USA     
    ...yet Canada is taking away firearms. A double standard, or socialist double-talk? As an NRA member, I believe in the Second Amendment and "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms..."
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
    "A big thumbs down"... not because what was written was so bad, but rather because it is and will be so badly misinterpreted... note the words "especially long guns" which says to me that he is not talking about revolvers and machine guns and granade launchers, but rather what would be known in the US as hunting rifles and hunting shotguns... personally I am so sick of hearing the gun lobby's false claims that these hunting tools are at risk and using that to oppose the control of the weapons that are distroying our cities. (Though a little control of access by our youth, as we do for other tools such as car access, would also go a long way to making us safer!) If folks want to play with automatic weapons, let them join the Army and/or National Guard!
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
    I think he is right on; free men own guns, slaves don't. It is unfortunate, however, that Canada has forgotten their history and birthright. You two who gave this a thumbs-down, did you stumble in here by mistake? This is Liberty quotes ... not Liberal quotes. If you don't have a taste for liberty, why don't you go back and sit in front of the TV for your daily programming.
     -- Mike, Mount Holly, NC     
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    Anon from Reston forgets history -- and the US Constitution. Americans have a right and a responsibility to join the State militia -- not federal or national armies. The whole point is to keep the power of firearms in the hands of the citizens, not the exclusive privilege of the ruling class. And this is an Englishman's right that is hundreds of years old. Arms are not just for hunting, they are for protection. In Switzerland, every man is armed with automatic weapons -- and they remain one of the last free republics in the world. The Nazis and communists disarmed the people, and we all know what happened since. Remember!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    I agree with Mike and Archer. When you take away the law abiding citizen's guns, the only people that will have guns are the criminals and the government. I don't trust either to protect me or my family. As a matter of fact, I'll go as far as to say that every law abiding citizen should at least be TRAINED to use a variety of firearms. It is a statistical fact that areas where citizens are allowed to carry concealed weapons have the lowest crime rates. Look at DC, guns are outlawed all together and the murder rate is one of the highest in the Nation!
     -- Anonymous, Raleigh, NC     
    I wouldn't object to the quote so much if the first word were removed. I might agree that "long guns occupy a noble place...", but "Firearms, especially long guns..." is too broad. There is nothing noble about killing people, or threatening to kill people. which is all hand guns are for.
     -- Jack Stanley, Green, OH     
    The second ammendment was intended to alllow citizens to protect themselves from their own despotic government if the need arises. If the government itself is the only one armed, then it becomes a dictatorship.
     -- Mike, KC     
    "There is nothing noble about killing people, or threatening to kill people. which is all hand guns are for." -- Jack Stanley, Green, OH. Jack, that is a very shallow-minded statement. There are evil people in the world. Good people need a means to protect themselves from evil people. Handguns are used all the time to SAVE innocent lives ... and not just by the police. There is nothing noble about me or my family dying at the hands of a criminal. I value life, but does that mean I should value the life of a criminal so much that I refuse to protect my life or the life of my family when threatened with violence?
     -- Mike, Mount Holly, NC     
    A, Reston does not forget history, he is a communist, he just rewrites it and refuses delivery on the truth. He thinks the founders can't tell what the word people means and thinks the bill of rights gives the states the power to maintain an organized militia which was already in the body of the Constitution. Apparently he also thinks also there is no threat to hunting arms but self defense arms can be forbidden, which leads to the conclusion the right to hunt is more important then the right to defend yourself. The fool would not know a logical fallacy if it was injected directly in his brain. Jack tell me what you said while someone is raping your wife or daughter. I will believe you believe it then.
     -- helorat, Milton     
    Back to the quote gentlemen, it is coming from a Quebecois, a group that could well take the province of Quebec out of Canada and make itself an independent nation. Without arms to enforce that decision by the People of New France, should they elect to go the route of independence, their vote would be shallow indeed. And I believe that the Canadian Government's policy of civil disarmament is more aimed at keeping the independence-minded French in check. Hardly a noble role for this esteemed government.
     -- Eric Engstrom, Wichita, KS     
     -- Anonymous, Harrison, Ark     
     -- Anonymous      
    Canadians should have had that right affirmed in a written constitution. Custom just doesn't quite do it.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
     -- Anonymous      
    It would seem to me that the only problem we have with guns are the ones the street gangs have that are smuggled up from the American border. We would be alot better without ANY guns.
     -- A proud Canadian, Small town Canada     
    The quote is absolutely correct. Canadians are statistically as well or better armed than Americans...and No, no one is taking any guns from any Canadians. The registry is dead and there is no shortage of rifles or ammunition here. Semi-Automatic rifles aren't even considered restricted and there is no waiting time. You can buy a thousand rounds of whatever you like and no one will bat an eye. Hope that clears a few things up for folks in the US. As for being better off without ANY guns...I wonder if the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto felt that way? Or the 20 million Russians murdered...or the 2 million Cambodians...or the 6 million Armenians...and on and on...I love Canada...I love that it's still a pretty free country.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Ken, Allyn, WA. Canadians have the right to self defense written into the British North America Act.
    It's just not advertised in the legal world.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    The right to freely keep and use arms without infringement is an inalienable right (no matter the localized societal structure - government). The noble being - man - is the same in Canada, U.S.A. and everywhere else on this planet. The natural law is the same yesterday, today, and will be for ever and is demonstrated over and over again. Arguments and actions against natural law always end in despotism, tyranny, and all else that is noxious, pernicious and anti-noble being. (Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin are all examples of right to bear arm infringement)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Allan McLeod, about what I'd expect from a New Yorker. I am not a hunter nor a gun collector, but thanks to your comment, I'm joining the NRA today.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
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