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"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 (more quotes by Cesare Beccaria or books by/about 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."
Courage, Crime, Justice, Knowledge, Politics, Power, Propaganda, Reason, Responsibility, Rights, Security, Terrorism, Truth, Tyranny