Obama says that Americans should not be allowed to own rifles, which he calls weapons of war. He has it exactly backwards.
In government hands, rifles are indeed weapons of war. By contrast, in civilian hands rifles are an extremely effective deterrent against tyranny – and they make the possibility of war almost implausible .
“[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
–James Madison, The Federalist Papers, No. 46
“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
“And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress … to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms…. “
That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided, as dangerous to liberty; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.