"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."
―Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
"The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious, if it were capable of being carried into execution.
A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice.
It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it...
Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped;
and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year."
―Alexander Hamilton, Federal No. 29, 1788.
"The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops."
―James Madison, Federal No. 46, 1788.
"The whole proletariat must be armed at once with muskets, rifles, cannon and ammunition, and the revival of the old-style citizens' militia, directed against the workers, must be opposed... Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary."
―Karl Marx and Fedrick Engels, Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League, 1850.
"I have another objection, and that is, it is unjust that I should suffer such a penalty. Had I interfered in the manner which I admit, and which I admit has been fairly proved (for I admire the truthfulness and candor of the greater portion of the witnesses who have testified in this case,) had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of their friends, either father, mother, brother, sister, wife or children, or any of that class, and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right. Every man in this Court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment."
―John Brown, Address to the Court, 1859.
"Individual right to bear arms; armies. A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, for lawful hunting and recreational use, and for any other lawful purpose; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be tolerated, and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power."
―Section Four of the Kansas Bill of Rights.
"Even as it stands, the Home Guard could only exist in a country where men feel themselves free. The totalitarian states can do great things, but there is one thing they cannot do: they cannot give the factory-worker a rifle and tell him to take it home and keep it in his bedroom. THAT RIFLE HANGING ON THE WALL OF THE WORKING-CLASS FLAT OR LABOURER'S COTTAGE, IS THE SYMBOL OF DEMOCRACY. IT IS OUR JOB TO SEE THAT IT STAYS THERE."
―George Orwell, Evening Standard, 1941.
"The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an 'equalizer.' Egalite implies liberte. And always will. Let us hope our weapons are never needed -- but do not forget what the common people of this nation knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny."
―Edward Abbey, Abbey's Road, 1979.