The recent debates over the meaning of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution have raised many questions. But when the amendment says, “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,” it’s not ending the discussion there.

The Founding Fathers had much more to say outside of the amendment, especially Thomas Jefferson. Here’s some of their best lines collected by Buckeye Firearms Association:

“A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined…”
– George Washington

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
– Thomas Jefferson

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
– Benjamin Franklin

“I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”
– Thomas Jefferson

“To disarm the people…[i]s the most effectual way to enslave them.”
– George Mason

“The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
– Thomas Jefferson

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”
– William Pitt (the Younger)

“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

“I enclose you a list of the killed, wounded, and captives of the enemy from the commencement of hostilities at Lexington in April, 1775, until November, 1777, since which there has been no event of any consequence … I think that upon the whole it has been about one half the number lost by them, in some instances more, but in others less. This difference is ascribed to our superiority in taking aim when we fire; every soldier in our army having been intimate with his gun from his infancy.”
– Thomas Jefferson

“For it is a truth, which the experience of ages has attested, that the people are always most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion.”
– Alexander Hamilton

Enough said.