The Second Article to the Amendments of the Constitution of the United States of America provides: 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.
President George Washington: "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American peoples libertys teeth and keystone under independence...From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable...The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil intereference- they deserve a place of honor with all that is good."
Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. ...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.--Thomas Jefferson
Tench Coxe, of Pennsylvania:"The militia, who are in fact the effective part of the people at large, will render many troops quite unnecessary. They will form a powerful check upon the regular troops, and will generally be sufficient to over-awe them." -- An American Citizen, Oct. 21, 1787 "Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American . . . . The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." -- The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788 "As the military forces which must occasionally be raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article (of amendment) in their right to keep and bear their private arms." -- Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789
Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia: "A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves . . . and include all men capable of bearing arms. . . To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms... The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle." - Additional Letters From The Federal Farmer, 1788.
Thomas Jefferson, of Virginia:"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."