‘It Will Not Be Needed Until They Try And Take It’ — Did Thomas Jefferson Say This Quote About The Second Amendment?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims that founding father Thomas Jefferson once said, “The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try and take it.”

Verdict: False

There is no evidence that Thomas Jefferson wrote or said this expression.

Fact Check:

Social media users frequently attribute quotes to Jefferson and the other founding fathers to make points in political discourse. (RELATED: Did Thomas Jefferson Say, ‘The Government Will One Day Be Filled With Liars And The People Will Flock To The One Who Tells The Truth?)

Though Jefferson is often credited with this quote about the Second Amendment, there is no record of the third president ever using this expression. The Daily Caller searched the Papers of Thomas Jefferson but didn’t find any matching or similar phrases. It doesn’t appear in the collection of quotes and letters curated by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation either.

In fact, his estate at Monticello includes the saying on its running list of “spurious quotations.”

Anna Berkes, a research librarian at Monticello, found the earliest instance of the quote in Matt Carson’s 2007 book “On a Hill They Call Capitol: A Revolution is Coming.” The book also contains several other quotes erroneously linked to Jefferson.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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