Quotations of Jeff Cooper

John Dean "Jeff" Cooper (May 10, 1920 - September 25, 2006) is known as father of the "Modern Technique" of handgun shooting. Most firearm professionals consider him to be one of the 20th century's leading experts on the use and history of small arms.

Col. Cooper is noted for his no-nonsense quotations about guns and personal defense. If you know of a gun quote from Col. Cooper not listed here, send it to us. (But make SURE it's not already listed. Okay?)

Back to the main Famous Gun Quotes page.


"One cannot legislate the maniacs off the street ... these maniacs can only be shut down by an armed citizenry. Indeed bad things can happen in nations where the citizenry is armed, but not as bad as those which seem to be threatening our disarmed citizenry in this country at this time."

"Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician."

"Remember the first rule of gunfighting ... have a gun."

"The police cannot protect the citizen at this stage of our development, and they cannot even protect themselves in many cases. It is up to the private citizen to protect himself and his family, and this is not only acceptable, but mandatory."

"The will to survive is not as important as the will to prevail ... the answer to criminal aggression is retaliation."

"Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands."

"All the people constitute the militia - according to the Founding Fathers. Therefore every able-bodied man has a duty under the Constitution to become part of the 'well-regulated' militia, specifically to understand and perform well with the individual weapon currently issued to the regular establishment .... Thus one who has not qualified himself with the M-16 may not be considered to be a responsible citizen."

"Already a couple of the faithful have sent in checks for a foundation memorial to the innocents who perished at the hands of the ninja at Waco ... I have been criticized by referring to our federal masked men as 'ninja' ... Let us reflect upon the fact that a man who covers his face shows reason to be ashamed of what he is doing. A man who takes it upon himself to shed blood while concealing his identity is a revolting perversion of the warrior ethic. It has long been my conviction that a masked man with a gun is a target. I see no reason to change that view."

"One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that 'violence begets violence.' I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure — and in some cases I have — that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy."

"The purpose of the pistol is to stop a fight that somebody else has started, almost always at very short range."

"Bushido is all very well in its way, but it is no match for a 30-06."

"A free man must not be told how to think, either by the government or by social activists. He may certainly be shown the right way, but he must not accept being forced into it."

"The conclusions seem inescapable that in certain circles a tendency has arisen to fear people who fear government. Government, as the Father of Our Country put it so well, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. People who understand history, especially the history of government, do well to fear it. For a people to express openly their fear of those of us who are afraid of tyranny is alarming. Fear of the state is in no sense subversive. It is, to the contrary, the healthiest political philosophy for a free people."

"Hoplophobia is a mental disturbance characterized by irrational aversion to weapons, as opposed to justified apprehension about those who may wield them."

"The media insist that crime is the major concern of the American public today. In this connection they generally push the point that a disarmed society would be a crime-free society. They will not accept the truth that if you take all the guns off the street you still will have a crime problem, whereas if you take the criminals off the street you cannot have a gun problem."

"In the larger sense, however, the personal ownership of firearms is only secondarily a matter of defense against the criminal. Note the following from Thomas Jefferson: The strongest reason for the people to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against the tyranny of government. That is why our masters in Washington are so anxious to disarm us. They are not afraid of criminals. They are afraid of a populace which cannot be subdued by tyrants."

"The 1911 pistol remains the service pistol of choice in the eyes of those who understand the problem. Back when we audited the FBI academy in 1947, I was told that I ought not to use my pistol in their training program because it was not fair. Maybe the first thing one should demand of his sidearm is that it be unfair."

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary by Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, John Lott, and other opinion leaders. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Click here for more information.

Enter your email:      
 

Privacy Policy: Your email address is kept confidential. We do not reveal your information to anyone for any reason.

Mission

Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.

Help us fight for your rights.