Quotes on Gun Control

Politicians

Bill Clinton, Former President of the United States

“Only the police should have handguns.”

“When personal freedom’s being abused, you have to move to limit it. That’s what we did in the announcement I made last weekend on the public housing projects, about how we’re going to have weapon sweeps” 1

Fact:  Wang Jun – son of the late Chinese President Wang Zhen – who is chairman of the China International Trade and Investment Company and President of Polytechnologies Corp., attended a White House coffee with Clinton in February 1996 and was granted a meeting with Commerce Secretary Ronald Brown the next day.

He was also connected to more than $600,000 in illegal campaign contributions to the Democrats, the report said. Polytechnologies is an arms-trading company indicted for trying to smuggle 2,000 Chinese AK-47 assault rifles into the United States and it is the largest of the corporate structures owned by the People’s Liberation Army. 2

V.I. Lenin

“One man with a gun can control 100 without one. … Make mass searches and hold executions for found arms.”

Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senator from California

“Banning guns addresses a fundamental right of all Americans to feel safe.” 3

“If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them; “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ’em all in,” I would have done it.” 4

“The National Guard fulfills the militia mentioned in the Second amendment. Citizens no longer need to protect the states or themselves.”

Joseph Stalin

“If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.”

Frank Lautenberg, U.S. Senator from New Jersey

“We have other legislation that all of you are aware that I have been so active on, with my colleagues here, and that is to shut down the gun shows.” 5

Adolf Hitler

“The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.” 6

Gisela Kallenbach, German member of the European Parliament

“We in Europe … do not consider the freedom to buy weapons a human right.” 7

Howard Metzenbaum, former U.S. Senator

“No, we’re not looking at how to control criminals … we’re talking about banning the AK-47 and semi-automatic guns.”

Charles Pashayan, U.S. Representative from California

“All of this has to be understood as part of a process leading ultimately to a treaty that will give an international body power over our domestic laws.” 8

Pete Stark, U.S. Representative from California

“If a bill to ban handguns came to the house floor, I would vote for it.” 9

William Clay, U.S. Representative from Missouri

” …we need much stricter gun control, and eventually should bar the ownership of handguns”

Joseph Biden, Vice President of the United States

“Banning guns is an idea whose time has come.”

John Chafee, Former U.S. Senator from Rhode Island

“I shortly will introduce legislation banning the sale, manufacture or possession of handguns (with exceptions for law enforcement and licensed target clubs)… .  It is time to act.  We cannot go on like this.  Ban them!” 10

Jan Schakowsky, U.S. Representative from Illinois

“I believe…..this is my final word……I believe that I’m supporting the Constitution of the United States which does not give the right for any individual to own a handgun….” 11

Major Owens, U.S. Representative from New York

“We have to start with a ban on the manufacturing and import of handguns. From there we register the guns which are currently owned, and follow that with additional bans and acquisitions of handguns and rifles with no sporting purpose.”

Bobby Rush, U.S. Representative from Illinois

“My staff and I right now are working on a comprehensive gun-control bill.  We don’t have all the details, but for instance, regulating the sale and purchase of bullets.  Ultimately, I would like to see the manufacture and possession of handguns banned except for military and police use.  But that’s the endgame.  And in the meantime, there are some specific things that we can do with legislation.” 12

Ferdinand E. Marcos, Former President/Dictator of the Philippines

President Marcos declared Martial Law by virtue of Proclamation No.1081 on Sept.21, 1972 and on the following day issued General Order No. 6 declaring that no person shall keep, possess or carry any firearms with penalties ranging up to death. The Philippines was under his dictatorship for the next 14 years.

Acts of violence committed by members of gun control organizations

  • Barbara Graham, speaker at the “Million Mom March” in 2000, was convicted of shooting and paralyzing for life a man she mistook as one who had killed her son. 13
  • In Fort Collins, a woman who opposes the right of self-defense struck a member of the Tyranny Response Team with a clipboard. 14
  • At a rally in Boulder early in 2000, Robert Howell, vice president of the anti-gun Boulder Bell Campaign, attacked Shariar Ghalam, bloodying his nose. (Ghalam was carrying a concealed handgun but never drew it, not believing his life was in danger.)
  • In the summer of 2000, supporters of the anti-gun Million Mom March stole supplies from the Second Amendment Sisters and vandalized SAS property. 15
  • Ari Armstrong, a pro-civil rights activist in Colorado, received threatening telephone calls allegedly from members of S.A.F.E (an anti-gun group) after Ari appeared on television promoting firearm freedoms. 16

Anti-freedom political activists

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

“It is our aim to ban the manufacture and sale of handguns to private individuals.” 17

“We will never fully solve our nation’s horrific problem of gun violence unless we ban the manufacture and sale of handguns and semiautomatic assault weapons.” 18

Nelson T. “Pete” Shields, Chairman Emeritus, Handgun Control, Inc. 19

” …. the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors — totally illegal.” 20

“Yes, I’m for an outright ban (on handguns).” 21

“We’ll take one step at a time, and the first is necessarily – given the political realities – very modest.  We’ll have to start working again to strengthen the law, and then again to strengthen the next law and again and again.  Our ultimate goal, total control of handguns, is going to take time.  The first problem is to slow down production and sales.  Next is to get registration.  The final problem is to make possession of all handguns and ammunition (with a few exceptions) totally illegal.” 22

Sarah Brady, Chairperson for Handgun Control, Inc. (now the Brady Campaign)

“…I don’t believe gun owners have rights.” 23

“We would like to see, in the future, what we will probably call needs-based licensing of all weapons. …Where it would make it much more difficult for anybody to be able to purchase handguns….” 24

“To me, the only reason for guns in civilian hands is for sporting purposes.” 25

Jim Brady

“[Handguns] For target shooting, that’s okay.  Get a license and go to the range.  For defense of the home, that’s why we have police.” 26

Elliot Corbett, Secretary, National Council for a Responsible Firearms Policy

“Handguns should be outlawed.”

Bernard Parks, Chief of Police, L.A. California

“We would get rid of assault weapons. There would not be an assault weapon in the United States, whether it’s for a show or someone having it in a collection.” 27

Josh Sugarmann, Executive Director of the Violence Policy Center

“ … immediately call on Congress to pass far-reaching industry regulation like the Firearms Safety and Consumer Protection Act … [which] would give the Treasury Department health and safety authority over the gun industry, and any rational regulator with that authority would ban handguns.” 28

Patrick V. Murphy, former New York City Police Commissioner

“We are at the point in time and terror where nothing short of a strong uniform policy of domestic disarmament will alleviate the danger which is crystal clear and perilously present. Let us take the guns away from the people.” 29

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

“We urge passage of federal legislation … to prohibit … the private ownership and possession of handguns.” 30

Rosie O’Donnell, TV talk show hostess

“I think there should be a law — and I know this is extreme — that no one can have a gun in the U.S.  If you have a gun, you go to jail.  Only the police should have guns.” 31

“I don’t care if you want to hunt, I don’t care if you think it’s your right. I say, sorry, you are not allowed to own a gun, and if you do own a gun I think you should go to prison.” 32

Violence Policy Center (VPC)

“[gun] Licensing systems are very expensive to administer … licensing and registration in America would have little effect on the vast majority of gun violence.”

“[We are] the largest national gun control advocacy group seeking a ban on handgun production.” 33

Alan M. Dershowitz, Lawyer and Frankfurter Professor of Law

“The Second Amendment has no place in modern society.” 34

Brooks Brown, SAFE Colorado

“It was worth lying to him or deceiving him …” 35

The media

Michael Gardner, President of NBC News

“There is no reason for anyone in this country … to buy, to own, to have, to use a handgun …The only way to control handgun use in this country is to prohibit the guns.” 36

“In fact, only police, soldiers — and, maybe, licensed target ranges — should have handguns. No one else needs one.” 37

Editorial, Los Angeles Times

“Why should America adopt a policy of near-zero tolerance for private gun ownership?  Because it’s the only alternative to the present insanity.  Without both strict limits on access to new weapons and aggressive efforts to reduce the supply of existing weapons, no one can be safe.” 38

“…The Times supports a near-total ban on the manufacture and private ownership of handguns and assault weapons, leaving those guns almost exclusively in the hands of law enforcement officials.” 39

Jack E. White, Time Magazine national correspondent

“Why not just ban the ownership of handguns when nobody needs one?  Why not just ban semi-automatic rifles?  Nobody needs one.” 40

Gary Wills, syndicated columnist

“Every civilized society must disarm its citizens against each other.” 41

The media in general

A two-year study by the Media Research Center concluded that television reporters are overwhelmingly opposed to Second Amendment rights.  For broadcasts from major networks from July 1, 1995 to June 30, 1997, covering 244 gun policy stories:

  • The ratio of anti-gun to pro-gun bias was 16:1.
  • Anti-gun spokespeople (Sarah Brady, etc.) were given three times the number of sound bites than pro-gun spokespeople (NRA, etc).

The American government

The following exchange is from the appeal of the case of U.S. vs. Emerson in the Fifth Circuit Court.  Meteja was the attorney for the U.S. Government.

Judge Garwood: [to federal lawyer] “You are saying that the Second Amendment is consistent with a position that you can take guns away from the public? You can restrict ownership of rifles, pistols and shotguns from all people? Is that the position of the United States?”

Meteja: [federal lawyer] “Yes”

Garwood: “Is it the position of the United States that persons who are not in the National Guard are afforded no protections under the Second Amendment?”

Meteja: Exactly.

Meteja then said that even membership in the National Guard isn’t enough to protect the private ownership of a firearm. It wouldn’t protect the guns owned at the home of someone in the National Guard.

Garwood: Membership in the National Guard isn’t enough? What else is needed?

Meteja: The weapon in question must be used in the National Guard.

George Napper, Atlanta public-safety commissioner

“If I had my druthers, the only people who would have guns would be those who enforce the law.” 42

Janet Reno, former U.S. attorney general

“The most effective means of fighting crime in the United States is to outlaw the possession of any type of firearm by the civilian populace.” 43

Marion Barry, former mayor, Washington D.C.

“Our neighbors in Virginia are just as responsible for these killings as the criminals are because they won’t pass strong gun [control] legislation.” 44 (Ed: The claim being that citizens of Virginia were responsible for murders committed in Washington D.C.)

Gun Control Opponents

John F.  Kennedy, President of the United States

“Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom.”

“By calling attention to ‘a well regulated militia,’ the ‘security’ of the nation, and the right of each citizen ‘to keep and bear arms,’ our founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy.  Although it is extremely unlikely that the fears of governmental tyranny, which gave rise to the Second Amendment, will ever be a major danger to our nation, the Amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic civilian-military relationships, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country.  For that reason I believe the Second Amendment will always be important.” 45

Mahatma Gandhi, Peaceful Revolutionary

“Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.”

Aristotle

“Those who have the command of the arms in a country are masters of the state, and have it in their power to make what revolutions they please. [Thus,] there is no end to observations on the difference between the measures likely to be pursued by a minister backed by a standing army, and those of a court awed by the fear of an armed people.”

The Dalai Lama

“If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” 46

George Orwell

“The totalitarian states can do great things, but there is one thing they cannot do: they cannot give the factory-worker a rifle and tell him to take it home and keep it in his bedroom.  That rifle, hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or laborer’s cottage, is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.” 47

Hubert Humphrey, former U.S. Senator and Vice President of the United States

“Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms…. The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against tyranny… “ 48

John Adams, President of the United States

“Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs, and life, but of my property, is an indisputable right of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society, and which perhaps, I could not surrender if I would.” 49

“Here, every private person is authorized to arm himself, and on the strength of this authority, I do not deny the inhabitants had a right to arm themselves at that time, for their defense, not for offense…” 50

St. George Tucker, American Revolution Major and Post Revolution Judge

“In America we may reasonably hope that the people will never cease to regard the right of keeping and bearing arms as the surest pledge of their liberty.” 51

Walter Mondale, Former Vice President and U.S. Ambassador to Japan

“Gun bans don’t disarm criminals, gun bans attract them.” 52

Thomas Jefferson, author of the American Declaration of Independence

“No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms (within his own lands or tenements).” 53

“What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance.  Let them take arms.” 54

“The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that… it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.” 55

“One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them.” 56

“I learn with great concern that [one] portion of our frontier so interesting, so important, and so exposed, should be so entirely unprovided with common fire-arms. I did not suppose any part of the United States so destitute of what is considered as among the first necessaries of a farm-house.” 57

“None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army. To keep ours armed and disciplined is therefore at all times important.”

James Madison, American founding father

“[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.”

Oliver Stone, movie director

“I like automatic weapons. I fought for my right to use them in Vietnam.”

Patrick Henry, American founding father and catalyst for the Bill of Rights

“The great objective is that every man be armed … Everyone who is able may have a gun.”

Machiavelli

“The Swiss are well armed and enjoy great freedom” 58

“From this we plainly see the folly and imprudence of demanding a thing, and saying beforehand that it is intended to be used for evil; … For it is enough to ask a man to give up his arms, without telling him that you intend killing him with them; after you have the arms in hand, then you can do your will with them.” 59

Tench Coxe, Revolutionary Era Writer

“As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.” 60

“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 government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people” 61

Malcolm X, American Black Civil Rights Activist

“It is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks. It is legal and lawful to own a shotgun or a rifle. We believe in obeying the law.” 62

“… I must say this concerning the great controversy over rifles and shotguns. The only thing I’ve ever said is that in areas where the government has proven itself either unwilling or unable to defend the lives and the property of Negroes, it’s time for Negroes to defend themselves. Article number two of the constitutional amendments provides you and me the right to own a rifle or a shotgun. It is constitutionally legal to own a shotgun or a rifle.” 63

Samuel Adams, Member of the Continental Congress

“That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of The United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms…” 64

William Rawle, Post-revolution U.S. Attorney

“The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to Congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretense by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.” 65

Thomas Paine, American Revolution Political Philosopher

“Arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe and preserve order…”

Mafia informant Sammy “The Bull” Gravano

“Gun control? It’s the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I’m a bad guy, I’m always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You will pull the trigger with a lock on, and I’ll pull the trigger. We’ll see who wins.”

Richard Henry Lee, Member of the Continental Congress

“[W]hereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them;” 66

Alexander Hamilton, Author of the Federalist papers

“The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.” 67

Zachariah Johnson, member of Virginia Constitution Ratifying Convention

“The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.” 68

Timothy Dwight, Army Chaplain during the American Revolution

“To trust arms in the hands of the people at large has, in Europe, been believed…to be an experiment fraught only with danger. Here by a long trial it has been proved to be perfectly harmless…If the government be equitable; if it be reasonable in its exactions; if proper attention be paid to the  education of children in knowledge and religion, few men will be disposed to use arms, unless for their amusement, and for the defense of themselves and their country.” 69

Charles Krauthammer, syndicated columnist

“The Brady Bill’s only effect will be to desensitize the public to regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation.” 70

“Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic, purely symbolic move. … Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation.” 71


Notes:

  1. Enough is Enough, MTV, March 22, 1994
  2. CNN May 24, 1999
  3. Associated Press, November 18, 1993
  4. 60 Minutes, CBS, February 5, 1995
  5. Press conference on March 1, 2000
  6. Hitler’s Secret Conversations, trans. Norman Cameron and R. H. Stevens, Signet Books, 1961, 403
  7. EU legislators push together gun controls, International Herald Tribune, November 29, 2007
  8. United Nations Conference on Small Arms, 2001
  9. Town Hall Meeting, June 1999, Fremont, California
  10. In View of Handguns’ Effects, There’s Only One Answer: A Ban, Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 15, 1992, at 13A
  11. Tape recorded on June 25, 2000 by Matt Beauchamp at the Chicago Gay Pride Parade
  12. Chicago Tribune, December 5, 1999
  13. Mother Convicted in Shooting, Washington Post, February 2, 2001, Page B01 – Woman Goes on Trial In Ambush Shooting, January 24, 2001, Page B01
  14. New gun laws by force, Boulder Weekly, August 24, 2000
  15. Million Mom Marchers ransack pro-gun display, WorldNetDaily, August 1, 2000
  16. Compiled and reported by the Boulder Weekly, August 24, 2000
  17. Recruiting flyer, 1996
  18. Jeff Muchnick, Legislative Director, USA Today, December 29, 1993
  19. It is interesting to note that HCI was originally named National Council to Ban Handguns
  20. The New Yorker, July 26, 1976
  21. 60 Minutes interview
  22. New Yorker Magazine, June 26, 1976, pg. 53
  23. Handguns in America, Hearst Newspapers Special Report, October 1997
  24. Sarah Brady speech to the Women’s National Democratic Club, Sept. 21, 1993
  25. Tampa Tribune, Oct 21, 1993
  26. Parade Magazine, June 26, 1994
  27. Reuters, June 9, 2000
  28. Houston Chronicle, Nov. 5, 1999
  29. Testimony to the National Association of Citizens Crime Commissions
  30. Board of Directors in September 1976 – see national ACLU policy #47
  31. Ottawa Sun, April 29, 1999
  32. The Rosie O’Donnell Show April 19, 1999
  33. Politics, paranoia fuel war of words over guns, The Times Union, October 18, 2004
  34. The Crimson Daily, April 9, 2003
  35. SAFE Colorado Says Washington Stunt Was Irresponsible, The Denver Channel, July 26, 2001, discussing an attempt to influence a congressman on a gun control bill
  36. USA Today, January 16, 1992
  37. The Wall Street Journal,  January 10, 1991
  38. Taming the Monster: Get Rid of the Guns, Dec. 28, 1993
  39. Taming the Monster: The Guns Among Us, Dec. 10, 1993
  40. Washington Times, May 8, 1999
  41. Philadelphia Inquirer, May 17, 1981
  42. U.S. News and World Report
  43. Addressing a 1984 B’nai B’rith gathering in Coral Gables, Florida, per affidavit written by Fred Diamond of Miami
  44. This Week With David Brinkley, ABC TV, March 19, 1989
  45. Know Your Lawmakers, Guns Magazine, April 1960, Page 4
  46. Dalai Lama urges students to shape world, Seattle Times, May 15, 2001
  47. Don’t Let Colonel Blimp Ruin the Home Guard, Evening Standard, , Jan 8, 1941
  48. Know Your Lawmakers, Guns Magazine, Feb 1960, Page 6
  49. Boston Gazette, Sept. 5, 1763
  50. Legal Papers of John Adams, Butterfield and Zobel; 1965, opening statement as defense counsel for British soldiers on trial for the Boston Massacre in 1770
  51. American Blackstone, 1803
  52. April 20, 1994
  53. Draft Virginia Constitution (with his note added), Thomas Jefferson, 1776. Papers 1:353
  54. Letter to James Madison, Dec. 20, 1787, in Papers of Jefferson, ed. Boyd et al.
  55. Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824. Millennium Edition of The Writings of Thomas Jefferson 16:45
  56. Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796. Millennium Edition of The Writings of Thomas Jefferson 9:341
  57. Thomas Jefferson to Jacob J. Brown, 1808. Millennium Edition of The Writings of Thomas Jefferson 11:432
  58. In Switzerland, males age 20 to 42 serving in the army are required to keep rifles or pistols at home
  59. Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius, Niccolò Machiavelli
  60. Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution under the pseudonym ‘A Pennsylvanian’ in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789 at 2 col. 1
  61. Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788
  62. Statement to the press, March 12, 1964
  63. Malcolm X Speaks, Merit Publishers, 1965
  64. Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 86-87
  65. A View of the Constitution 125-6 (2nd ed. 1829)
  66. Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican, at 21,22,124
  67. The Federalist Papers at 184-8
  68. Debates in the Several State Conventions, Jonathan Elliot, 646
  69. Travels in New England and New York, 1823
  70. The Washington Post, April 5, 1996
  71. The Washington Post, April 5, 1996