Joyce Lee MalcolmJoyce Lee Malcolm, (1941-) American professor of law, historian, and Constitutional scholar

Joyce Lee Malcolm Quote

β€œThe right of ordinary citizens to possess weapons is the most extraordinary, most controversial, and least understood of those liberties secured by Englishmen and bequeathed to their American colonists. It lies at the very heart of the relationship between the individual and his fellows, and between the individual and his government.”

Joyce Lee MalcolmJoyce Lee Malcolm
~ Joyce Lee Malcolm

To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994), p. IX

Ratings and Comments


Joe, Rochester, MI

Don't let anyone take your right to own and carry arms.

L. Hanson, Edmonton, Canada

Here in Canada we have 35% to 40% long-gun owners. I can show you pictures and accreted facts of black bears and grisly bears coming on peoples property; I'm sorry at this point I need a gun, Not a fag gun like a .22 but a real gun like a .30-06 or a .303; something's that going to kill these if they are going to start coming at me; you wanna fuck around with bears like in the Toyota ad; go ahead. His next step is your liver; he's not hugging you; he;s assessing.This is an animal that will kill you in 3/10 s of a second. DO YOU UNDERSTAND? THESE ARE NOT PLAYMATES. THESE ARE DANGEROUS WILD ANIMALS!

Waffler, Smith

This is a great and balanced, thought provoking quote. It is not taking a position on the issue but just stating the facts of the right and of the controversy. Yes generally we have the right to use and bear arms but are also are required by customs and law to do so responsibly. In many places, National Forests for example there are signs that read, "Firearms May Only Be Fired In An Emergency". This sign obviously does not disallow the carine or bearing of arms but does place a prohibition upon there use. I suggest that such a prohibition exists by custom and law throughout our society. Now when you choose to use a firearm you may be called in to court to prove the existence of an emergency. So that is the dichotomy of an absolute right to bear arms versus a limited right to use them.

Mick, Pleasant Hill
  • Reply
Mick, Pleasant Hill Waffler, Smith 7/23/18

After any shooting in a home or neighborhood there is an investigation if that preliminary investigation clearly shows it was in self-defense no further action need be taken. No arrest, indictment or trial is necessary.

But then enters the influence of a political agenda to disarm the American people aided by the anti-Second Amendment and self-defense narratives of the leftist the media to demonize the tool used instead of the individual's actions. It's a propaganda campaign aimed at the ignorant to manipulate them into advocating the incremental destruction of probably the most important right our founders wanted protected for obvious reasons. Not for hunting or sport shooting but as a means to resist tyranny as the founders themselves proved to be sometimes necessary.

jim k, Austin,Tx

Resist the "Brady Bunch", they are after your guns and they never rest.

J Carlton, Calgary

The right to keep and bear arms is universal...no truly "free" person can be disarmed without a fight. The ability to hunt and provide for yourself is also a natural right and the government has no business...NONE...trying to regulate this right.

cal, lewisville, tx

Our guns prevent dictatorship in America. We must never give them up.

J Carlton, Calgary

The "here in Canada" quote above has a grain of truth to it but unfortunately it openly displays the ignorance and crudity of the author. Most of the hunter`s and sportsmen I know in Canada are actually able to express themselves without foul language and sexual references. Clean it up Dude! Or no one will ever take you seriously.

Publius, USA

The 2nd Amendment says "...the right to bear arms shall not be infringed." The word "infringed" means to limit, undermine, or encroach on. The government is not only prohibited from outlawing firearms, it doesn't even have the constitutional right to regulate their ownership. It is true that, out of necessity, firearms must be prohibited in schools, courthouses, etc. but the emergency only provision proposed by Waffler, while not abandoning the right, is indeed an infringement. Also, we learn how to safely and effectively operate firearms through practice. If their use were stricken to emergency only situations, no one would know how to use them, making them more dangerous and effectively useless.

Carol, Georgia

"A gun, like any other source of power, is a force for either good or evil, being neither in itself, but dependent upon those who possess it." I do not know the attribution of this quote, but it is a jewel in defense of our right to keep and bare arms. Accolades for comments from Carlton and Publius.

Anonymous, Columubia, MO

It's ashamed that so many Americans are oblivious to the origins of our rights and freedoms. Its this lack of knowledge of our own history and concern for our freedoms that very well may cost us our freedoms. I pray that that day never comes. - Monkin -

Kennedy Hansen, Edgerton, NE

Wonderful Quote!

Elaine, atlanta

Remember Suzanna Gratia Hupp from Texas? She lost both her parents in a Restaurant shooting in Texas as she described as a mad man. She was arguing for the 2nd amendment. After stating she had taken her gun out of her purse and left it in the car because of gun laws at the time. At the end of her statement she told the Congress that the real reason for the 2nd amendment was for the people waving at those behind her and pointing from one side to the others at those in front of her (the House) while stating it is so we can protect all of ourselves from you. She told them the 2nd amendment wasn't written for duck hunting or any kind of hunting but to defend ourselves from tyranny. She did not say those exact words, but the cocky look on Schumer's face was a picture to behold in time.

Vedapushpa, Bangalore - India

It is better for the Nations to ensure for themselves a well disciplined and sensitive and above all an Impartial Police Force - with well equipped trigger and trnsport rather than go 'empowering the individual citizens' - whom no Nation can control.

Patrick Henry, Red Hill

The unconstrained right of self defense cannot be decoupled from the unalienable rights of Life and Liberty.

A right inestimable to the law abiding and peace loving and formidable to tyrants and tyrants-in-waiting only.

E Archer, NYC

Just substitute the word 'weapons' with 'power.'  This is really what we are talking about.  The Bill of Rights was a prohibition on the regulating of POWER of the citizen.  On the contrary, the Constitution is the regulation of governmental power β€” We the People are the regulators of government, not the other way around. 

Power checks power, period.  The people were never expected to transfer their power to the government!  By doing so, the people become subservient wards of the state β€” called 'subjects' in monarchical societies.  Keeping the populace in poverty (powerlessness) is the goal while empowering the ruling class.  It's the same old racket for 10,000 years.  It really does take an enlightened people to live free.

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