As long as they sound good, right?
A gun-rights bill introduced at the Capitol on Friday includes six quotes from America’s Founding Fathers about the importance of guns to democracy.
The problem is, half of those quotes are fake.
The measure, sponsored by state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, would create penalties for public officials who block people from owning or buying guns. About one page of the four-page bill is dedicated to quotes from the Founding Fathers on gun ownership.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
But at least three of the quotes – attributed to Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton – aren’t real.
“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty, teeth, and keystone under independence,” is one quote that House Bill 2975 attributes to George Washington.
Nope, say researchers at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate.
“This quotation does not show up in any of Washington’s writings, nor does any closely related quote,” the Mount Vernon researchers note, including it among a list of “spurious quotations.”
Also included in the bill’s long introductory section is a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow for those who do not.”
Wrong again, say researchers at Monticello, on a page including quotes commonly misattributed to the nation’s third president.
A quote the bill attributes to Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist Papers also appears to be something Hamilton didn’t really exactly say. Both left-leaning sources (Gawker) and more conservative ones (The Federalist Papers Project) say Hamilton didn’t say, “The best we can help for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.”
Other quotes in the bill have problems, too. One combines the words of Thomas Paine, the author of “Common Sense,” with other statements the pamphleteer never wrote or uttered.
It actually was Patrick Henry who said, “The great object is that every man be armed! Everyone who is able may have a gun.” Not Paine.
Sorry, Rep. Shea.
A staffer speaking on Shea’s behalf Friday said the representative is happy to amend the legislation, if necessary, to ensure it includes only accurate information.
Another part of the bill seems to prove Godwin’s rule of Nazi analogies, which says that the longer an online discussion (or a bill?) goes on, the more likely it is to bring up Hitler.
“... The world has witnessed six million Jews murdered by Adolf Hitler, fifteen million Russians slaughtered by Joseph Stalin, and an estimated sixty million Chinese murdered in communist China, none of whom were allowed to possess firearms,” the bill says.