By Bob Jamison

          In fact, Thomas Jefferson (l743-l826), the third president of the United States, said a lot with his self styled epitaph on his tombstone. “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, of the statute of Virginia for religious freedom and father of the University of Virginia.”

          His modesty had shown through this simple statement relating to his treasured achievements; but there was much more, to say the least. Surely, the words of Ben Franklin must have resounded throughout that building in Pennsylvania when they were about to sign that declaration which was to be one of the most famous documents in American history. He said, “Gentlemen, we must hang together or surely we will hang separately.” But that didn’t deter Jefferson or all the rest as indicated by their signatures.

          Jefferson attended William and Mary College and subsequently practiced law and served the public for ten decades. His offices were numerous including a magistrate, member of the House of Burgesses and then member of the Continental Congress. In l776 he was chosen to author the Declaration of Independence.

          After that he returned to Virginia to serve in the legislature. Then in l779 he was elected governor of Virginia. Public service led him to France on behalf of the United States. He became President of the United States in l800 where he achieved the phenomenal effort to establish the Louisiana Purchase and supported the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

          A great believer in proper education, he founded his beloved University of Virginia at age 76. During this period he sold his vast collection of books for the purpose of establishing the Library of Congress.

          An adamant believer in the Constitution of the United States as amended, he particularly applauded, but not limited to, The First Amendment: Freedom of Religion. The Second Amendment: The right of citizens to bear arms. This was finally tested by the United States Supreme Court and upheld the Second Amendment by a 5-4 vote. All of the amendments are recognized by the Bill of Rights.

          Somewhat of a pessimist regarding some of the “wisdom” of the congress, Jefferson was quoted as saying, “The natural progress of things for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

          Gun control was passed in Washington, D.C., to virtually no avail. Crime continued and became the test case in the Supreme Court. New York City passed equally strong gun controls with a similar result.

          When our forefathers were called to defend this country in their fight during the American Revolution they were required to bring their own guns. Or they could buy one for $l5.00 to fight for our country. If those persons or movements continue to attempt to take away the rights for which many have fought and some died, then it will again be up to each and every one of us stand as they did and maybe with our own guns in hand. Jefferson said it and I believe it.