Passed by Congress September 25, 1789.

Ratified December 15, 1791.

The first 10 amendments form the Bill of Rights

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

"A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined..."

- George Washington

First Annual Address, to both House of Congress

January 8, 1790

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."

- Thomas Jefferson

Virginia Constitution Draft 1


"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country."

- James Madison

I Annals of Congress 434

June 8, 1789

"The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."

- Samuel Adams

Massachusetts Ratifying Convention


"The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."

- Thomas Jefferson

Letter to John Cartwright

June 5, 1824

"To disarm the people... is the most effectual way to enslave them."

-George Mason

Referencing advice given to the British Parliament by Pennsylvania governor Sir William Keith, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution

June 14, 1788