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|Quotes are organized by Name and Category.|
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|Edward Abbey||A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.|
|Lord Acton||Freedom degenerates unless it has to struggle in its own|
|John Adams||Arms in the hands of individual citizens may be used at individual discretion for the defence of the country, the over-throw of tyranny, or in private self-defence .|
|John Adams||Each individual of the society has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property, according to standing laws. He is obliged, consequently, to contribute his share to the expense of this protection; and to give his personal service, or an equivalent, when necessary. But no part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. In fine, the people of this commonwealth are not controllable by any other laws than those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent.|
|John Adams||Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs and life, but of my property, is an indisputable right of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society, and which perhaps, I could not surrender if I would. Nor is there anything in the common law of England inconsistent with that right.|
|Samuel Adams||If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.|
|Samuel Adams||And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless necessary for the defense of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers or possessions.|
|Samuel Adams||All might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they should.|
|Aesop||Any excuse will serve a tyrant.|
|Akhil Reed Amar||The ultimate right to keep and bear arms belongs to “the people,” not the “states.” As the language of the Tenth Amendment shows, these two are of course not identical and when the Constitution means “states” it says so. Thus, ... “the people” at the core of the Second Amendment are the same “people” at the heart of the Preamble and the First Amendment, namely Citizens.... Nowadays, it is quite common to speak loosely of the National Guard as “the state militia,” but ... the “militia” is identical to “the people” in the core sense described above.|
|American Bar Association||It is the duty of the officials to prevent or suppress the threatened disorder with a firm hand instead of timidly yielding to threats…. Surely a speaker ought not to be suppressed because his opponents propose to use violence. It is they who should suffer from their lawlessness, not he.|
|American Federation of Police||There are many Americans who fear for their lives. They know that at some point, they will have to protect themselves, their own families, and their own property. Should these people be disarmed? No, we don’t need to disarm our loyal citizens, our friends, and our neighbors.|
|Henri-Frédéric Amiel||Liberty, equality -- bad principles! The only true principle for humanity is justice; and justice to the feeble is protection and kindness.|
|Anonymous Gold Miner||All and everybody, this is my claim, fifty feet on the gulch, cordin to Clear Creek District Law, backed up by shotgun amendments.|
|Arkansas Supreme Court||What then, is he protected in the right to keep and thus use? Not every thing that may be useful for offense or defense, but what may properly be included or understood under the title of “arms,” taken in connection with the fact that the citizen is to keep them, as a citizen. Such, then as are found to make up the usual arms of the citizen of the country, and the use of which will properly train and render him efficient in defense of his own liberties, as well as of the State. Under this head, with a knowledge of the habits of our people, and of the arms in the use of which a soldier should be trained, we hold that the rifle, of all descriptions, the shot gun, the musket and repeater, are such arms, and that, under the Constitution, the right to keep such arms cannot be infringed or forbidden by the legislature.|
|John Ashcroft||To those who scare peace loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: your tactics aid terrorists for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America’s enemies and pause to America’s friends.|
|St. Augustine||Though defensive violence will always be 'a sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men.|
|Massad Ayoob||The whole subject of civilians carrying guns for self defense is discussed too much in the wrong places -- ACLU cocktail parties, gun club gatherings -- all placid atmospheres far removed from the terrifying reality of violent confrontation with the lawless. It should be discussed in prisons, where professional criminals are remarkably candid about their avoidance of armed citizens who can fight back. It should be discussed in rape crises centers. Ask a woman who has been raped, whether she ever wished she had a gun when it happened ... and whether she had bought one since. Her reply is likely to be “yes” to at least the first, and often to both. Talk to the bereaved who lost their loved ones to the streets. Talk to those who have been violated in their homes. Ask them how they feel about passive non-resistance. And when you have attuned yourself to the haunting fear that lives with them forever after their nightmare, you will be ready to talk with someone else who was in their place, but survived unscathed because they were armed. The contrast will be striking. These survivors don’t put notches on their pistols, and they don’t brag about what they had to do... The taking of a human life, no matter what the circumstances, is an unnatural act, an emotionally shattering experience that leaves its own scars forever. But none of those people regret what they did, and to a man, their first reaction was to go home to their wife and children and hug them, tightly and wordlessly.|
|Francis Bacon||Nay, number itself in armies importeth not much, where the people is of weak courage; for, as Virgil saith, 'It never troubles the wolf how many the sheep be.' |
|Sir Francis Bacon||A just fear of an imminent danger, though there be no blow given, is a lawful cause of war.|
|William Barclay||Self-defense is a part of the law of nature; nor can it be denied the community, even against the king himself.|
|Bertrand Barere de Vieuzac||The tree of liberty could not grow were it not watered with the blood of tyrants.|
|Frederic Bastiat||If every person has the right to defend -- even by force -- his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right -- its reason for existing, its lawfulness -- is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force -- for the same reason -- cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.|
|Frederic Bastiat||What, then, is the law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. ... since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force -- for the same reason -- cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individual groups. ... But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.|
|Frederic Bastiat||In short, is not liberty the freedom of every person to make full use of his faculties, so long as he does not harm other persons while doing so? Is not liberty the destruction of all despotism -- including, of course, legal despotism? Finally, is not liberty the restricting of the law only to its rational sphere of organizing the right of the individual to lawful self-defense; of punishing injustice?|
|David Bergland||The average taxpayer in Germany or Japan pays less for the defense of his country than the average taxpayer in America pays for the defense of Germany or Japan.|
|Georges Bernanos||Civilization exists precisely so that there may be no masses but rather men alert enough never to constitute masses.|
|Justice Hugo L. Black||The first ten amendments were proposed and adopted largely because of fear that Government might unduly interfere with prized individual liberties. The people wanted and demanded a Bill of Rights written into their Constitution. The amendments embodying the Bill of Rights were intended to curb all branches of the Federal Government in the fields touched by the amendments—Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.|
|Sir William Blackstone||And, lastly, to vindicate these rights, when actually violated and attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for redress of grievances; and, lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self preservation and defense.|
|Sir William Blackstone||[Self-defense is] justly called the primary law of nature, so it is not, neither can it be in fact, taken away by the laws of society.|
|Michael Boldin||Some people are calling for the federal government to restrict the right to keep and bear arms of people who are on the federal government’s terrorism watch list. This is not only unconstitutional, but sets an extremely dangerous precedent for all our rights. If the federal government can take away someone else’s right to defend themselves simply because it has unilaterally decided to place them on a secret, wildly inaccurate list that’s virtually impossible to be removed from, eventually, some bureaucrat is going to find some way to put you on that list for another reason.|
|Michael Boldin||Whatever power you give politicians and bureaucrats to use against other people will eventually be used by future politicians and bureaucrats against you.|
|Napoleon Bonaparte||If they want peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks that precede cannon shots.|
|Bernard J. Bordonet||If a state militia guarantee rather than an individual right of citizens to keep and bear arms were the purpose of the second Amendment, it would have been totally unnecessary and irrelevant to include any guarantee of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” since by its very nature a militia is necessarily an armed force and without arms it would be impossible to carry out its constitutional functions of suppressing insurrections and repelling invasions.|
|Boston Evening Post||[It is] a natural Right which the people have reserved to themselves, confirmed by the [English] Bill of rights, to keep arms for their own defense; and as Mr. Blackstone observes, it is to be made use of when the sanctions of Society and law are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.|
|James Bovard||Assault weapons laws resemble hate speech laws. Hate speech laws usually begin by targeting a few words that almost no one approves. Once the system for controlling and punishing “hate speech” is put into place, there is little or nothing to stop it from expanding to punish more and more types of everyday speech. Similarly, once an assault weapons law is on the books, there is little to prevent politicians from vastly increasing the number of weapons banned under the law. The main effect of banning assault weapons is to give government an excuse to arrest and imprison millions of Americans while doing little or nothing to reduce crime. America has a limited number of police, and politicians must decide who the real public enemies are. If Mr. Clinton signs an assault weapons ban, it could signal the start of an attack on gun owners’ constitutional rights that could far surpass all previous gun bans.|
|James Bovard||The first step in saving our liberty is to realize how much we have already lost, how we lost it, and how we will continue to lose it unless fundamental political changes occur.|
|B. Bruce-Briggs||[U]nderlying the gun control struggle is a fundamental division in our nation. The intensity of passion on this issue suggests to me that we are experiencing a sort of low grade war going on between two alternative views of what America is and ought to be. On the one side are those who take bourgeois Europe as a model of civilized society: a society just, equitable, and democratic; but well ordered, with the lines of responsibility and authority clearly drawn, and with decisions made rationally and correctly by intelligent men for the entire nation. To such people, hunting is atavistic, personal violence is shameful, and uncontrolled gun ownership is a blot on civilization. On the other side is a group of people who do not tend to be especially articulate or literate, and whose world view is rarely expressed in print. .... They ask, because they do not understand the other side, “Why do these people want to disarm us?” They consider themselves no threat to anyone; they are not criminals, not revolutionaries. But slowly, as they become politicized, they find an analysis that fits the phenomenon they experience: Someone fears their having guns, someone is afraid of their defending their families, property, and liberty. Nasty things may begin to happen if these people begin to feel that they are cornered.|
|James Burgh||No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people. The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave. He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion.|
|Edmund Burke||There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.|
|H. Sterling Burnett||Guns are used for self-defense somewhere between 800,000 and 3.6 million times per year .... Using firearm crime and defensive gun use figures most favorable to advocates for stricter gun control, ... the benefits from defensive gun uses exceed the cost of violent firearm crimes ... by between $90 million and $3.5 billion. Using the most credible estimate for defensive gun uses, the benefits range from $1 billion to $38 billion. Putting these dollar figures in more human terms: Guns save lives. The fact is that the best defense against violence is an armed response. For example, women faced with assault are 2.5 times less likely to suffer serious injury if they defend themselves with a gun rather than responding with other weapons or by offering no resistance. ... [P]ersons defending themselves with guns during an assault are injured only 12 percent of the time, compared to 25 percent for those using other weapons, 27 percent for those offering no resistance and nearly 26 percent of those who flee. ... [F]irearms are the safest, most effective way to protect oneself against criminal activity -- which is why American police officers carry guns rather than going unarmed or merely carrying knives.|
|Gaius Julius Caesar||When the swords flash let no idea of love, piety, or even the face of your fathers move you.|
|Charles I||Never make a defence or apology before you be accused.|
|Sir Winston Churchill||We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.|
|Sir Winston Churchill||I like a man who grins when he fights.|
|Marcus Tullius Cicero||There exists a law, not written down anywhere, but inborn in our hearts, a law which comes to us not by training or custom or reading, a law which has come to us not from theory but from practice, not by instruction but by natural intuition. I refer to the law which lays down that, if our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right.|
|Marcus Tullius Cicero||There exists a law, not written down anywhere but inborn in our hearts; a law which comes to us not by training or custom or reading but by derivation and absorption and adoption from nature itself; a law which has come to us not from theory but from practice, not by instruction but by natural intuition. I refer to the law which lays it down that, if our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right.|
|Marcus Tullius Cicero||When you have no basis for argument, abuse the plaintiff.|
|Claire Joly, Marie Latourelle, Maryse Martin, and Karen Selick||Les femmes sont tout à fait compétentes pour assurer leur légitime défense, pourvu que la loi ne les transforme pas en criminelles si elles emploient des moyens efficaces à cette fin." "Women are quite able to see to their own defence, as long as the law does not transform them into criminals if they take effective measures to do so.|
|John Louis Coffey||I join others who throughout history have recognized that an individual in this country has a protected right, within the confines of the criminal law, to guard his or her home or place of business from unlawful intrusions. ... Surely nothing could be more fundamental to the “concept of ordered liberty” than the basic right of an individual, within the confines of the criminal law, to protect his home and family from unlawful and dangerous intrusions.|
|Colorado Constitution||The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons.|
|Colorado Supreme Court||A governmental purpose to control or prevent certain activities, which may be constitutionally subject to state or municipal regulation under the police power, may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms. Even though the governmental purpose may be legitimate and substantial, that purpose cannot be pursued by means that broadly stifle fundamental personal liberties when the end can be more narrowly achieved.|