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
DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE COMMONWEALTH OR
STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA
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
"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
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,
"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
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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