"It's better to carry a gun ten years and never need to use it than to want it one minute and not have it." George A. Smith (1817-1875), Mormon Pioneer and Apostle
I can't find this quote. Could you tell me where he's cited saying this?
GeneticsDave, I first found this quote on the the Ol' Buffalo Gun Control Page (http://www.three-peaks.net/gun_control.htm
search for "better to carry" on that page) and I really liked it. I wanted to find the real reference. I own a copy of the LDS Library 2006 software and found it in there. It was in the 1889 Periodical - The Contributor Volume 10. It was talking specifically of protection from Indians attacks on those pioneers that were settling Parowan, Utah at the time. Apostle George A. Smith led the first bad of settlers into Iron County. A brief excerpt from the whole paragraph says:
"Col. Smith understood this trait of Indian character and reiterated most positive orders that no man should leave the fort without arms. No man was permitted to go to the caon for wood, to hunt his cattle upon the range, nor go to his labor in the field without a gun or pistol for defense in case of need. He said it was better to carry a gun ten years and never need to use it than to want it one minute and not have it.
In obedience to this wise counsel the settlers of Iron County for years always went armed, and in time of trouble even took their guns with them to their Sabbath meetings. Often has the writer attended public worship in Parowan when every man sat with his rifle between his knees; so that, should the savages make a sudden attack, they would find no arms to steal into the dwellings with which to shoot down their inhabitants. In time of danger, when men wanted firewood, for instance, a strong party went together, and while one half of the men loaded their wagons the rest stood guard around them. In returning to the fort, one man drove two teams, and the men thus released from driving served as front and rear guard for the party."
Notice that the Ol' Buffalo page has it as twenty years and the actual reference has it as ten. I went with what I thought was more accurate. I know from this short paragraph that it looks like some guy, Colonel Smith, was saying it but reading the whole chapter you understand that he was quoting George A. Smith's policies and instruction.
I hope that helps.
(1:36 AM - I got a lot on my mind and am an insomniac tonight)