"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 U.S. Constitution
"The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age..." -Title 10, Section 311 of the U.S. Code.
"The right of the people to keep and bear...arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country..." -James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434 (June 8, 1789)
"We should not forget that the spark which ignited the American Revolution was caused by the British attempt to confiscate the firearms of the colonists." - Patrick Henry
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined." —Patrick Henry
"The Constitution shall never be construed...to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms." —Samuel Adams
"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
"...arms...discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. ...Horrid mischief would ensue were (the law-abiding) deprived the use of them." -Thomas Paine
"The Constitution of most of our states assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed." -Thomas Jefferson
"And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms....The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -Thomas Jefferson
"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -Thomas Jefferson
"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. the supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States." -Noah Webster, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the federal Constitution (1787) in Pamphlets to the Constitution of the United States (P. Ford, 1888).