These words of Thomas Jefferson’s are inscribed at the Jefferson Memorial in Panel 4 out of four that surround his statue:
I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
Especially for my Libertarian type friends who really value TJ’s seemingly prescient wisdom, please back off the 2nd Amendment arguments when it comes to your semi-automatic guns. He’d have recognized the difference between the flintlock and the AR-15 and seen the need for us to “advance… to keep pace with the times.”
The quote, in the context of Sandy Hook is still slightly ironic however; although discovery and progress are enlightened, guns that kill 20 children in the span of mere minutes are anything but.