The Founding Fathers were clear in their intent: an armed population makes good government, because it can restrain those seeking to abuse power. Numerous quotes from the revolutionary era show how much these key figures agreed on the 2nd Amendment— that individuals were meant to keep and bear arms for the protection of the country and the defense of its Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Preamble to the Bill of Rights explicitly states that these amendments to the Constitution were put in place to restrain the federal government and discourage abuse. Ratified Dec. 15, 1791, it reads: "THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution. " -One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic. - Joseph Stalin -The Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms. --Samuel Adams -Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man gainst his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. -Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American... -- Tench Coxe 1788. -"The Constitution preserves "the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation." (James Madison, The Federalist, No. 46) -The only real power comes out of a long rifle. -Joseph Stalin -The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed. --Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers "It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government." - Thomas Paine -"When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson -Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who didn't. -- Ben Franklin -A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government. -- George Washington -Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. --Patrick Henry. -Are we at last brought to such an humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? -- Patrick Henry -If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government... -- Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist (#28) . -To disarm the people is the best and most effective way to enslave them. -- George Mason -The balance of power is the scale of peace. - Thomas Paine, July 1775. - "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." - Mao Zedong, 1938. - To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them. - Richard Henry Lee, 1778 - The right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible. - Hubert Humphrey, 1960 - The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. - Adolf Hitler (April 1942) - If gun laws in fact worked, the sponsors of this type of legislation should have no difficulty drawing upon long lists of examples of crime rates reduced by such legislation. That they cannot do so after a century and a half of trying . -Orrin Hatch - After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. I sure as hell wouldn't want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military. -William S. Burroughs, 1991 - "The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." - George Washington - 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.