The Constitutional system of checks and balances in the US has all but collapsed. The only thing between us and tyranny now is the Second Amendment.
” … to disarm the people – that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.“
– George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 380
“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in 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 band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.”
–Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).
“[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]
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.
Virginia Bill of Rights
“What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”
– Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787. ME 6:373, Papers 12:356
“The great object is, that every man be armed … Every one who is able may have a gun.”
– Patrick Henry, Elliot, p.3:386
“O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone …”
– Patrick Henry, Elliot p. 3:50-53, in Virginia Ratifying Convention demanding a guarantee of the right to bear arms