“I Advise The Gun”–Thomas Jefferson

“I Advise The Gun”–Thomas Jefferson

The following is a quote from the Founders Quote Daily

I have encountered this quote from Thomas Jefferson numerous times in my various readings–and I like it.  In my view the Second Amendment is a cornerstone of our freedom.  Therefore, I am please to present it to you on my blog.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, 12/15/09


“A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, 1785


Another quote from Founders Quote Daily that relates more directly to the Second Amendmant is the following:

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 band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.” –Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787

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13 Responses to ““I Advise The Gun”–Thomas Jefferson”

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  8. Frank Fujita Says:

    This is my argument. The 2nd amendment, properly interpreted, would allow individual citizens to possess fighter jets and atomic bombs. You (and I) agree that this proper interpretation would be a disaster for our current society. So, my point is that while we both agree that the proper interpretation of the 2nd amendment would be bad, you speak about “not compromising” on the 2nd amendment when many compromises have already been made.

    I on the other hand, think that if we want to preserve the right to individual rifles (with or without full auto fire) and pistols (with or without teflon coated bullets) then we should create language that would do just that — and amend the constitution. Because if you are depending on the 2nd amendment — then you have no choice but to compromise.


    • vtmawhinney Says:


      Yours is an elegant argument. My only problem is that I currently do not trust my government to amend the second amendment, or any other amendment for that matter, to produce better rules to live by. At a practical level, and that is where I wish to reside, the second amendment seems to be working just fine.

      However, it is necessary to vigorously defend the legal right for law abiding citizens to posess small arms for hunting, sport or self-defense. The radical left is constantly pressing to confiscate these rights.



  9. Frank Fujita Says:

    I believe that the 2nd amendment was written to allow citizens to overthrow the government whenever they wanted to do so. However, I’m not sure that you (or I) want people in the streets with guns with the ability to defeat the national guard. That would require APCs, strike helicopters, and jet fighters in the hands of individual citizens. Is this another one of those areas where it is morally wrong to compromise — and yet, we should accept all of the compromises that have been made in the past?


    • vtmawhinney Says:


      I do believe that the 2nd amendment was written to allow citizens to overthrow a tyrannical government. You have argued in the past that the day is gone when armed citizens could overthrow our military. We would agree that jet fighter planes and A bombs for citizens would be ridiculous.

      On the other hand, God forbid such a thing, an armed citizenry (stating with only handguns and rifles) could indeed cause a great deal of trouble for a tyrannical government, and it is doubtful that this nation’s governmental soldiers would wish to fight their brothers and sisters to sustain an undemocratic and dictatorial government. In my mind, this is a nonsense issue. I trust that you, and others who know me, know that armed insurrection is NOT what I am advocating…NOT AT ALL!

      Our Constitution provides American citizens with peaceful ways to overthrow an increasingly tyrannical government. This, of course, can be done at the ballot box and that IS exactly what I am advocating. In fact, I am advocating a ballot box overthrow now of all elected conservative and liberal liers, cheats and scoundrels now and in at the next presidential election.

      Back to the other matter. The designers of the 2nd amendment also intended that law abiding citizens be able to retain their rifles and handguns for hunting, for protection from wildlife in the woods and for protection from two-legged predators that will forever prey on the weak and unarmed.

      Many still hunt and they actually feed their families with what they kill. As the economy continues to tank under the current administration, many more may return to this traditional way of feeding themselves and their families.

      Regarding two legged predators, law abiding men and women have a moral right to protect themselves from predation by the human beasts that prey upon the weak and defenseless. Based upon our personal relationship, which I cherish, I know that you know and respect that.

      This human right to protect one’s self and loved ones from predation is also something that the second amendment protects. For law abiding citizens, I hold that right protected by the 2nd amendment to be sacrosanct.

      It is true that this is an issue that I will not compromise on.

      Warm regards,


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