"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."
"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself! They are the American people’s Liberty Teeth and keystone under Independence. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere, restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good!"
—President George Washington, in a speech to Congress. 7 January, 1790"