Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson, (1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President

False Thomas Jefferson Quote

“No free man shall ever be de-barred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson
~ Thomas Jefferson

[Falesly attributed] While the first sentence is found in the proposed Virginia Constitution, the second sentence is not found. The quote is not found in any of his speeches, personal correspondence, or diaries. Nor has the quote ever been cited in law journals by Second Amendment legal scholars.

Ratings and Comments

Bob, Eugene, OR

This is, roughly paraphrased, something that Hubert Humphrey said during floor debate on the gun control act of '68.

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

Can anyone verify whether the source is: from a letter written by Jefferson in Paris to his nephew and ward Peter Carr, *found in* Foley, ed., Encyclopedia of Thomas Jefferson, p. 318. - ?

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

If you can't source it, it doesn't exist...

David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood

Jefferson was not the only founder to voice such an opinion. Whether he actually said this or not makes no difference. It remains true.

Joe, Rochester, MI

It does exist ... here it is! Since there is doubt as to the authenticity of this quote, I won't rate it, but I still like it.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Agreed with David... there are too many quotes that could be pulled from the founding fathers that look exactly like this one shock.. ..gasp.. It's amazing, the people who worked together, fought together, bled together, and gave their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor together - They actually KNEW the principles of protecting SELF-government in a Republic and all agreed to the 2nd Amendment - I'd be willing to pay serious money if someone could find a founding father AGAINST the 2nd Amendment... Liberty Quotes, what-do-ya-got?

Editor, Liberty Quotes

We endeavor to find the source of all our quotes, and if we find that a quote is false, we document it as such for future reference. People can still comment on it, though. Whether it was said or not by the speaker in question, the content is still worth considering (sometimes).

David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood

Sarah Brady, Arms quote: "Our task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed."

Robert, Sarasota

I agree conjecture has been the food of most evil - yes Editor the comment is worth considering (sometimes) but alas the chasm is too great between the opposing parties to gather any meaningful dialogue.

A HREF="" title="  " target="_tab", Vancouver, GVRD(Paine Cnty), Coastal Lwr Mainland BC(State of Neo Sumer), U.S. of Eh!

A scared government is a free people. Politicians have too many guards and individuals have lesser and lesser arms; when they speak of National Security they speak of Politicians and other Elite; cowardly people; they never speak of the individual and their freedom or security and safety to be placed in other words.

Editor, Liberty Quotes

David Rosenthal: FYI, the Sarah Brady quote you referred to is also false.

Tom, Denver, CO

I don't know if "false" is a completely accurate label. It is partially correct, but I cannot find the second sentence anywhere. That's not to say that Jefferson didn't (or wouldn't have) completely agree with the sentiment, but it does not appear to be an accurate quote. "No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms (within his own lands or tenements)." --Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution (with his note added), 1776. Papers 1:353 according to

camrie, California

The Bill of rights was given to the American people to protect themselves against the government, should they infringe upon our rights as Americans.

  • Reply
    Anonymous    9/18/09

    "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." - Truth! Found on Page 51 of the Jefferson cyclopedia. Note: The entire quote reads: "No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands]." PROPOSED Virginia CONSTITUTION. FORD ED., ii, 27. (June, 1776.)

    Editor, Liberty Quotes

    Thanks, everyone for your research. The validity of the first half of the quote has been confirmed with minor changes:


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