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“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” – Amendment II, The U.S. Constitution

The Second Amendment is perhaps one of the most straightforward Amendments in the Bill of Rights. Yet, it remains one of the most controversial, mostly due to the clause regarding “a well regulated militia” – a topic we've written about before.

While the freedom of association clause in the First Amendment is one of the most eroded in the Constitution, the Second Amendment is perhaps the most under attack. Few would argue in favor of repealing the First Amendment or even ignoring it because it is politically inconvenient. However, this is precisely what the champions of gun control advocate for – either radical abridgements of the Second Amendment or its direct repeal. Fortunately, there are also well-funded organizations fighting these forces in the American political sphere, but it is a tough and constant battle.

It’s not there for hunters. The Founders were very clear: The Second Amendment exists for citizens to protect themselves against tyranny.

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.”
– Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787

“I heard the bullets whistle; and believe me, there is something charming in the sound.”
– George Washington

“O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristrocratical, no longer a democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all?”
– Patrick Henry, Speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 5, 1788

“There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet an enemy.”
– George Washington

“It is a great mark of the corruption of our natures, and what ought to humble us extremely, and excite the exercise of our reason to a nobler and juster sense, that we cannot see the use and pleasure of our comforts but by the want of them. As if we could not taste the benefit of health, but by the help of sickness; nor understand the satisfaction of fullness without the instruction of want; not, finally, know the comfort of peace but by the smart and penance of the vices of war: And without dispute that is not the lest reason that God is pleased to chastise us so frequently with it.”
– William Penn

“Whenever governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.”
– Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, Spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, Annals of Congress, August 17, 1789

“A people who would stand fast in their liberty, should furnish themselves with weapons proper for their defence, and learn the use of them. It is indeed an hard case, that those who are happy in the blessings of providence, and disposed to live peaceably with all men, should be obliged to keep up the idea of blood and slaughter, and expend their time and treasure to acquire the arts and instruments of death. But this is a necessity which the depravity of human nature has laid upon every state. Nor was there ever a people that continued, for any considerable time, in the enjoyment of liberty, who were not in a capacity to defend themselves against invaders, unless they were too poor and inconsiderable to tempt an enemy.”
– Simeon Howard to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in Boston, June 7, 1773

“For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security.”
– Thomas Jefferson, Eighth State of the Union Address, 1808

“Men are also bound, individuals and societies, to take care of their temporal happiness, and do all they lawfully can, to promote it. But what can be more inconsistent with this duty, than submitting to great encroachments upon our liberty? Such submission tends to slavery; and compleat slavery implies every evil that the malice of man and devils can inflict.”
– Simeon Howard to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in Boston, June 7, 1773

“Always remember that an armed and trained militia is the firmest bulwark of republics – that without standing armies their liberty can never be in danger, nor with large ones safe.”
– James Madison, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1809

“In a general view there are very few conquests that repay the charge of making them, and mankind are pretty well convinced that it can never be worth their while to go to war for profit sake. If they are made war upon, their country invaded, or their existence at stake, it is their duty to defend and preserve themselves, but in every other light and from every other cause is war inglorious and detestable.”
– Thomas Paine, The Crisis, 1778

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We believe arming our fellow Americans – both physically and philosophically – helps them fulfill our Founding Fathers' intent with the Second Amendment: To serve as a check on state power.
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