John Norton Pomeroy Quote

“The object of this clause [the right of the people to keep and bear arms] is to secure a well-armed militia.... But a militia would be useless unless the citizens were enabled to exercise themselves in the use of warlike weapons. To preserve this privilege, and to secure to the people the ability to oppose themselves in military force against the usurpations of government, as well as against enemies from without, that government is forbidden by any law or proceeding to invade or destroy the right to keep and bear arms.”

~ John Norton Pomeroy

An Introduction to the Constitutional Law of the United States 239, at 152 (New York, Hurd & Houghton 3d ed., rev. & enl. 1875).

Ratings and Comments

J Carlton, Calgary

"that government is forbidden by any law "

jim k, Austin, Tx

All past and present tyrants have first disarmed the populace.

E Archer, NYC

We should remember that there is no such thing as the '2nd amendment right to bear arms' -- the right is natural-born, it is not granted by any government dictate. The second amendment is a prohibition on Congress to make any law that abridges the inalienable right. Whether one is American or not, our natural born rights are not granted by government -- however, not all governments respect the natural rights of man, including in America. We need more to enforce our prohibitions upon government than 'defend' our rights to arms and every other right.

Mary - MI
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Mary - MI    5/13/13

Bravo to your statement E. Archer, NYC

Mike, Norwalk

Some of the quote is misleading such as "To preserve this privilege," It is an inalienable right inherent to the being man while is NOT to the malefactor to preserve or otherwise but to hinder or deny. Other than those few glitches and the overall - ABSOLUTELY ! ! !

E Archer, NYC

True, Mike, but for me I consider even life itself a privilege and an honor. I do not even feel entitled to liberty -- the burden is mine. ;-)

John Shuttleworth, New York City

For 11 years I served "under arms" in the so-called defense of this country. My military specialty and rank aside: EVERY marine is a rifleman. EVERY marine qualifies once a year with the standard issue weapon (rifle) and whatever other weapon his specialty requires. (Those are individual weapons about which I speak.) In my subsequent experience the police forces of this country are NOT sufficiently trained to use weaponry. The "average gun owner" (I care little about what he/she thinks of him/her self.) is not qualified in the sense that he/she lacks the discretionary discipline to own, and use a weapon of deadly force. ARROGANCE COMPOUNDED BY FEAR AND IGNORANCE YIELDS MINDLESS SELF RIGHTOUS ANGER LEADING TO UNJUSTIFIED DEATHS.

Mike, Norwalk

Archer, I agree with you - I did not mean to imply otherwise. To me, life is a right with other absolute rights as a faculty of birth. I also accept such as a gift with great gratitude and honor. I guess where we differ is I believe liberty to be an expression of natural law; not so much an entitlement but rather, as natural expressions of existence. The burden is also mine to preserve liberty for immediate family, the family of man and myself.

Mick, Manchester

The right to bear arms had historical justification but autistic adherence to the the 2nd amendment is a grossly dysfunctional attachment and a denial that things change. It has also led uniquely to a situation in the U.S. where high school shootings are a twice weekly occurrence. This outdated right does not promote safety and security but threatens the safety and security of vulnerable children. The right to life supersedes all and anything that threatens it can have no justification.

Mike, Norwalk

Mick, you are attempting to transfigure the meaning or definition of a “right” into a justifiable theological dogma to make your argument. A right is intricately inherent to the being, timeless, inalienable to the individual and endows personal liberty. A right cannot be enlarged to a multiple of individuals or justified or condemned, like a rock or a natural law – a “right” just “IS”. Rights end where crimes begin; while, victimless crimes / prevention of rights are criminal enactments - in and of themselves. From inception, the single greatest philosophical and jurisdictional issue between the States united and the rest of the world was, the U.S. was based on individual sovereign rights, liberty and natural law while, the rest of the word was more concerned with promoting safety, security and carnal dogmas of power and control. As Helen Keller said it so well: “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.”

The heinous murders of recent experience have far, FAR less to do with implements of destruction than the demented social motivation. The more socialism violates the being, the more mental illness and violence there will be (as evidenced by the raise of Antifa, BLM, etc.). By way of example; El Salvador and Switzerland have approximately the same size and population. El Salvador is one of the most gun-restricted countries on the planet while Switzerland is just the opposite. If the tool (gun) was the problem, there should have been a Swiss genocide long ago.

E Archer, NYC

Firstly, let's remember what the 2nd Amendment is. It is a prohibition against the US government from making any laws prohibiting the common citizen the possession and use of military-grade arms. Why? Because arms are to remain a 'civil' power -- that is to say, the powers of self-determination and deadly defense have been and remain in the hands of the People. Their servant government has no power to disarm them. Let me tell you something, the 2nd Amendment will NEVER be repealed. Therefore, every attempt is made to twist the meaning and intent of the Bill of Rights from a prohibition of government to a granting of rights by the government. The gun grabbers do not acknowledge the MILLIONS upon millions of law-abiding gun owners that every day do not abuse the responsibility.

And THAT is the key here -- RESPONSIBILITY! Guns, knives, spears, rocks are not responsible for their use, people are. The left constantly reneges on any responsibility, but instead blame guns and the NRA. The left uses victimhood as currency. Strangely enough, most of these mass shooters are die-hard liberals and ingesting government-issued psychotropic medication. Cultural Marxism is becoming the new liberal, embracing victimhood and robbing/disempowering all as a justification. Of course, this lifts up no one but the socialist aristocracy and knocks down the middle-class as far down as they are willing to go before outright revolution.

Mick, Manchester

I believe in certain inalienable rights Mike, I do not belive that the right to posess firearms is one of them and its elevation to this status robs the debate of any context or historical relevance. As I said ‘autistic’ adherence to what you believe ‘is’ leading to dysfuntional attachment. Just out of cuiriosity, do you draw a line anywhere on the civil ownership of military hardware? Rocket Launcher, flame thrower, etc

E Archer, NYC

Mick, the right to bear arms used to be regarded highly in England -- but slaves were never permitted to have them. American colonists also respected and observed that 'right' of self-defense and possession of weapons. Being knowledgeable about history, the founders noted that disarming the people was one of the first acts of a tyrant. So, the amendment was made to specifically reserve the right to bear arms for the people -- the government may not make legislation prohibiting/restricting their use. You have a great many un-enumerated rights, Mick -- at least in America they were to be respected.


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