Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

The Arms Of The People Should Be Taken Away

Tuesday, March 21, 2000

The Arms of the People Should Be Taken Away

Following the armed conflict between American colonists and British forces at Lexington and Concord on April 19, l775, Gen. Thomas Gage, commander of British forces and the royal governor of Massachusetts, demanded that Boston`s citizens deposit their arms at Faneuil Hall under the care of a Selectman before being permitted to leave the city, then under siege by the colonial militia. After obtaining 1778 muskets, 634 pistols and 36 blunderbusses from citizens, the governor had an armed guard mounted over their arms and refused to permit their owners to depart from the city.
Illustrated for American Rifleman by Harry Lloyd Jaecks

As we celebrate the Bicentennial of the Bill of Rights, evidence has been discovered that shows the Second Amendment was prompted by British plans to disarm each and every American.
BY STEPHEN P. HALBROOK, Ph.D., J.D.

In 1777, William Knox, Under Secretary of State in the British Colonial Office, circulated a proposal entitled "What is Fit to be Done with America?" Knox advocated the creation of a ruling aristocracy loyal to the Crown, establishment of the Church of England throughout the colonies and an unlimited power to tax. To keep them servile, Knox offered the panacea of disarming all of the people and relying solely on a standing army:

The Militia Laws should be repealed and none suffered to be re-enacted, & the Arms of all the People should be taken away, & every piece of Ordnance removed into the King`s Stores, nor should any Foundry or manufactory of Arms, Gunpowder, or Warlike Stores, be ever suffered in America, nor should any Gunpowder, Lead, Arms or Ordnance be imported into it without License; they will have but little need of such things for the future, as the King`s Troops, Ships & Forts will be sufficient to protect them from any danger.`

It all began in September 1768, when rumors of an impending occupation by British troops, allegedly to suppress riots and collect taxes, inflamed Boston. A group of the freeholders led by James Otis and John Hancock met at Faneuil Hall and passed several resolutions, including the following:

WHEREAS, by an Act of Parliament, of the first of King William and Queen Mary, it is declared, that the Subjects being Protestants, may have Arms for their Defence; it is the Opinion of this town, that the said Declaration is founded in Nature, Reason and sound Policy, and is well adapted for the necessary Defence of the Community.
And Forasmuch, as by a good and wholesome Law of this Province, every listed Soldier and other Householder (except Troopers, who by Law are otherwise to be provided) shall always be provided with a well fix`d Firelock, Musket, Accoutrements and Ammunition, as in said Law particularly mentioned, to the Satisfaction of the Commission officers of the Company; . . . VOTED, that those of the Inhabitants, who may at present be unprovided, be and hereby are requested duly to observe the said Law at this Time.2

A convention of Boston and several other towns met to consider the resolutions, and then petitioned the royal governor. When the governor rejected the petition, a patriot "A.B.C." (probably Samuel Adams) wrote:

"But there are some
persons who would. . . perswade the people never to make use of their constitutional rights. . ."


Samuel Adams
Boston,
February 1769

It is reported that the Governor has said, that he has Three Things in Command from the Ministry, more grievous to the People, than any Thing hitherto made known. It is conjectured 1st, that the Inhabitants of this Province are to be disarmed. 2d. The Province to be governed by Martial Law. And 3d, that a Number of Gentlemen who have exerted themselves in the Cause of their Country, are to be seized and sent to Great Britain.
Unhappy America! When thy Enemies are rewarded with Honors and Riches; but thy Friends punished and ruined only for asserting thy Rights, and pleading for thy Freedom.3

Two days later, the British troops landed in Boston and took over key points, including Faneuil Hall.4 However, only one report could be found that the inhabitants were being disarmed:

Advices, so late as the 10th of October, mention
That part of the troops had been quartered in the castle and barracks, and the remainder of them in some old empty houses.
That the inhabitants had been ordered to bring in their arms, which in general they had complied with; and that those in possession of any after the expiration of a notice given them, were to take the consequences.5

It is difficult to imagine much compliance with such an order, especially since such reports were not widespread with extensive protests. However, disarming the colonists was clearly being contemplated. From London, "it is said orders will soon be given to prevent the exportation of either naval or military stores, gun powder, & c. to any part of North-America. "6

In an article he signed "E.A.," Samuel Adams recalled the English Bill of Rights as explained by Sir William Blackstone:

At the revolution, the British constitution was again restor`d to its original principles, declared inn the bill of rights; which was afterwards pass`d into a law, and stands as a bulwark to the natural rights of subjects. "To vindicate these rights, says Mr. Blackstone, when actually violated or attack`d, the subjects of England are entitled first to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law--next to the right of petitioning the King and parliament for redress of grievances--and lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence." These he calls "auxiliary subordinate rights, which serve principally as barriers to protect and maintain inviolate the three great and primary rights of personal security, personal liberty and private property": And that of having arms for their defense he tells us is "a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression. "--How little do those persons attend to the rights of the constitution, if they know anything about them, who find fault with a late vote of this town, calling upon the inhabitants to provide themselves with arms for their defence at any time; but more especially, when they had reason to fear, there would be a necessity of the means of self preservation against the violence of oppresslon.7

" . . upon the inhabitants lodging their arms in Faneuil Hall . (they) may depart . . . from the town. . .

Gen. Thomas Gage
Boston,
April 22, 1775

Adams made clear that private citizens could use arms to protect themselves from military oppression. He went on to point out that the same persons who opposed the ri

TRENDING NOW
Biden’s Anti-gun Lies are Too Much Even for Legacy Press Fact Checkers

News  

Monday, April 19, 2021

Biden’s Anti-gun Lies are Too Much Even for Legacy Press Fact Checkers

With President Joe Biden securely in office and the 2024 presidential election 43 months away, the mainstream press has determined it an acceptable time to expose the frequent fibber’s most flagrant falsehoods.

Hunter Biden Memoir Among Mounting Evidence of Federal Gun Law Violations

News  

Monday, April 19, 2021

Hunter Biden Memoir Among Mounting Evidence of Federal Gun Law Violations

As President Joe Biden and his Department of Justice concoct new firearm restrictions for ordinary law-abiding Americans, 

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

In New Executive Gun Control Push, Biden Seems to Throw Obama, and Himself, Under the Bus

News  

Monday, April 12, 2021

In New Executive Gun Control Push, Biden Seems to Throw Obama, and Himself, Under the Bus

At Biden's recent Rose Garden ceremony, where he announced his latest assault on the Second Amendment, he lied a number of times, and garbled the name of the federal agency tasked with enforcing federal gun ...

New Jersey: Gov. Murphy Announces Drastic Gun Control Agenda

Thursday, April 15, 2021

New Jersey: Gov. Murphy Announces Drastic Gun Control Agenda

Thursday morning, Gov. Phil Murphy held a press conference to unveil yet another gun control package in the Garden State.  

Louisiana: Senate Committee Passes Constitutional Carry Legislation

Monday, April 19, 2021

Louisiana: Senate Committee Passes Constitutional Carry Legislation

Today, Senate Judiciary C Committee passed Constitutional Carry legislation, Senate Bill 118, by a 3 to 2 vote.  

North Carolina: House to Hear Pistol Permit Repeal Language

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

North Carolina: House to Hear Pistol Permit Repeal Language

Today, at 3:00PM, the House Judiciary 4 Committee is going to hear an amendment to House Bill 398, to add language legalizing acquiring handguns without having to first apply for a permit.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Nevada: Assembly Passes Ban on Home-Built Firearms

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Nevada: Assembly Passes Ban on Home-Built Firearms

Yesterday, the Assembly voted 26-16 to pass an amended version of Assembly Bill 286, to end the centuries old practice of making firearms for personal use.

H.R. 127 – A Bill Designed to Express Hostility Toward Law-Abiding Gun Owners

News  

Thursday, February 11, 2021

H.R. 127 – A Bill Designed to Express Hostility Toward Law-Abiding Gun Owners

All gun control bills share the same basic goal: a world in which fewer people own firearms. Some bills simply ban certain types of firearms or ammunition outright. Others place obstacles in the path of ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.