Argument: Framers of the Constitution upholding an individual right to bear arms

Issue Report: Right to bear arms in the US

Supporting quotes

  • George Washington – “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s teeth and keystone under independence.”[1]
  • Thomas Jefferson – “The constitutions of most of our States that all power is inherent in the people; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.”[2]
  • Benjamin Franklin – “Those that give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety, and shall find neither.”[3]
  • John Adams, defense attorney for the British soldiers on trial for the Boston Massacre – “Here every private person is authorized to arm himself, and on the strength of this authority, I do not deny the inhabitants had a right to arm themselves at that time, for their defense, not for offence….” –L. Kinvin Wroth and Hiller B. Zobel, ed., Legal Papers of John Adams (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1965), 3:248
Commenting on Marchamont Nedhams’s Quote, “That the people be continually trained up in the exercise of arms, and the militia lodged only in the people’s hands,” Adams Stated “[T]he rule in general is excellent:” –John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of the Government of the United States of America 3:471 (1788)