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US Constitution
2nd Amendment
Ratified 15 December 1791


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.

Constitution of Pennsylvania
28 September 1776

A DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE COMMONWEALTH OR STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA

Section 21.
The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned


 

What the Framers said about our
Second Amendment

"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials."
George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788

"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."
Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-188

"That the said Constitution shall never be 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 ... "
Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 86-87 (Pierce & Hale, eds., Boston, 1850)

"No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
Thomas Jefferson, Proposal Virginia Constitution, 1 T. Jefferson Papers, 334,[C.J. Boyd, Ed., 1950]

" ... to disarm the people - that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 380

"The great object is, that every man be armed ... Every one who is able may have a gun."
Patrick Henry, Elliot, p.3:386

"The militia is the natural defense of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpation of power by rulers. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of the republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally ... enable the people to resist and triumph over them."
Joseph Story, Supreme Court Justice, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, p. 3:746-7, 1833

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