Illinois state legislator says he stands by bogus Thomas Jefferson quotation about guns
Debunking phony quotations, especially those attributed to any of our Founding Fathers, is among my favorite pastimes.
And now an uncommonly delicious opportunity to indulge this hobby has arisen in the form of a challenge from a politician who actually welcomes efforts to disprove a quotation he attributes to Thomas Jefferson.
But first, a little background is in order.
As I’ve noted here on several previous occasions, there’s a notion among some firearms enthusiasts these days that the Second Amendment is intended mainly as a safeguard against an oppressive government.
I’m not talking about ordinary gun-owners or sportsmen or ladies with cute little pistols in their purses. I’m talking about the beady-eyed, armed-to-the-teeth zealots who have claimed for years that their personal arsenals are a hedge against a tyrannical government. Some of these guys have sounded almost hopeful in declaring themselves latter-day Minutemen dedicated to warding off Barack Obama and his gun-grabbing, jackbooted government thugs.
Some of these folks love to pretend that the Founding Fathers themselves viewed the Second Amendment as a safeguard against excesses on the part of the government they had created.
Accordingly, today’s would-be militiamen frequently trot out quotations falsely attributed to the likes of George Washington, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.
Which brings us to the case of Illinois State Rep. Jim Sacia (above), a Republican from Pecatonica. Sacia’s no militia nut himself, but he seems to subscribe to the nutty theory about the Second Amendment as a hedge against a tyrannical American government.
To wit, Sacia wrote THIS on his Web site the other day:
As your State Representative I have a responsibility to work hard for you which I take very seriously, and if I write or speak, to be very factual.
I do find it humorous that when people resent the fact I’m sucking up good air, they will go to great lengths to discredit me. So be it. When individuals challenge my facts, it would seem only fair that their correction of my facts be correct. Recently my facts were challenged. It is no secret that I strongly support the 2nd Amendment and I’ve written often about it. I’ve given credit to honorable, notable individuals who are like minded.
I quoted from one of our founding fathers and third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, who stated, “The strongest reason for the people to retain the rights to keep and bear arms is as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” I stand by it and I challenge you, my readers, to debunk it. Searching far and wide I found far more sources supporting it than denying that he said it. He also said it in many different ways at different times.
You see, the anti-gun folks will go to great lengths to challenge that quote. Jefferson’s comment really gnaws at them.
Well, I’m not a gun-grabber. Nor do I have to rely on any gun-grabbers to refute Sacia’s bogus Jefferson quotations.
Rather, I will link to a pro-gun — repeat: pro-gun — Web site (HERE) that warns against using bogus quotations.
The site has a whole section devoted to bogus quotes attributed to the nation’s Founding Fathers. One example is this passage alleged to have been written by George Washington:
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. The church, the plow, the prairie wagon, and citizen’s firearms are indelibly related.
From the moment the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable.
Every corner of this land knows firearms, and more than 99 99/100 percent of them by their silence indicate they are in safe and sane hands.
The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference; they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.
When firearms go, all goes; we need them every hour.
And then there’s this one attributed to James Madison:
The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned.
And, of course, there’s the one Jim Sacia attributes to Thomas Jefferson:
The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
As we see HERE, a truly authoritative source on Jefferson quotations says the one touted by Sacia appeared in print for the first time just 24 years ago in a newspaper piece written by some guy name Charley Reese. Soon therafter, gun nuts all over the place were attributing the quotation to Jefferson.
If this blog post comes to Sacia’s attention, I eagerly await his response to my acceptance of his challenge.