he was familiar with the frequent misusernof guns. Writing to his grandson ThomasrnJefferson Randolph, he emphasized thernnecessit)’ ofrnnever entering into dispute or argumentrnwith another. I never saw anrninstance of one of two disputantsrnconvincing the other by argument.rnI have seen many, on their gettingrnwarm, becoming rude, & shootingrnone another.rnIf the widespread presence of guns inrnJefferson’s Virginia led to needless deathsrnover petty arguments (just as it would onrnthe 19th-eentury American frontier, or inrnthe 20th-century inner city), how couldrnJefferson still champion the right tornarms? The answer is simple: He recognizedrnthat a disarmed people would not,rnin the long run, remain an independent,rnresponsible, and free people. The pricernof trying to save fools from their follyrnwould be the loss of liberty for all.rnIn June 1776, three weeks before thernDeclarahon of Independence, Jefferson’srndraft constitution for Virginia set forthrnthe first constitutional proposal in humanrnhistory to provide for a right to arms.rn(The 1689 English Bill of Rights includedrnsuch a right, but that measure was on-rnK’ a statute.) Jefferson’s proposal that “Nornfreeman shall be debarred the use ofrnarms within his own lands or tenements”rnwas not adopted that year. But the Jeffersonianrnintellectual revolution was onlyrnbeginning. Writing in 1824 to the greatrnEnglish Whig John Cartwright, Jeffersonrncould observe: “The constitutions ofrnmost of our States assert, that all power isrninherent in the people;. . . that it is theirrnright and duty to be at all hmes armed.”rnA few days before his death on July 4,rn1826—the 50th anniversary of the Declarationrnof Independence—Jefferson couldrnsee that the revolution he had helped tornspark was burning throughout the world:rnAll eyes are opened, or opening, tornthe rights of man. The generalrnspread of the light of science has alreadyrnlaid open to every view thernpalpable truth, that the mass ofrnmankind has not been born withrnsaddles on their backs, nor a favoredrnfew booted and spurred,rnready to ride them legitimately, byrnthe grace of God. These are therngrounds of hope for others. Forrnourselves, let the annual return ofrnthis day forever refresh our recollectionsrnof these rights, and anrnundiminished devotion to them.rnThis Fourth of July, take some timernout from baseball, hot dogs, apple pie,rnand Chevrolet, and ponder what the holidayrnreally commemorates: the AmericanrnPassover, the beginning of a long nadonalrnjourney toward freedom, founded onrnthe truth that God created man to bernfree. What will you do to nurture thernlegacy of freedom and responsibilit)’ bequeathedrnto you by Thomas Jefferson?rnDave Kopel is an adjunct professor ofrnlaw at the New York University Schoolrnof Law and research director with thernIndependence Institute.rn•:MAIN STREET:-rnTHE MAIN STREET SPEAKERS BUREAUrn/narcho-Tyranny, the Balkans, Bullfighting,rnCrime, the Culture War, Defense, Education,rnP^ederalism, Fertility, Gambling, Greek, Guns,rnHomo Economicus, Immigration, the InterstaternHighway Svstem, Islam, Judicial Tyranny, Kosovo,rnLatin, Lyric Poetry, Marriage and Family, MiddlernAmerican Rebels, Nationalism, the Old West,rnPolities, Private Justice, Quantum Mechanics,rnRevenge, School Consolidation, Subsidiarity,rnthe Tenth Amendment, Trade, the UnitedrnNations, Vouchers, Welfare, the X-Files, Yugoslavia,rnzlioning . . ,rnIs there anything Chronicles editors can’t speak on?rn(Okay, we’re still looking for a physicist.)rnit (SI Si %4-5Slrn48/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn