The Second Amendment Is About Rifles Not Racism

Below is my column on academic work claiming that the Second Amendment is a relic of slavery. The reframing of the debate follows a familiar pattern in academia. Indeed, the same type of sweeping (and unchallenged) generalities was used recently to declare Olympic surfing a relic of American imperialism. The framing of such claims often precede any search for the facts. However, academics know that there is an eager and unquestioning audience for such publications. Conversely, those academics challenging such claims risk isolation and shunning in today’s intolerant environment. What is most striking about this latest claim is that it is directly and comprehensively contradicted by historical sources. Yet, there are relatively few academics who have publicly challenged the claims as media heralds the theory as a type of breakthrough publication. As discussed earlier, the theory is neither new nor well-founded.

Here is the column:

Racism seems to be the most common denominator of today’s political controversies. Issues long debated over other grounds — the Senate’s filibuster rulevoter ID laws, even standardized testingmathstatistics and meritocracy — have all been reframed as a choice between racism and equality.

The reframing of such issues in racial terms removes any need to respond to other issues — and it relieves advocates of defending the racism charge. It may be the ultimate conversation stopper — but that advantage is precisely its weakness, particularly when racist roots are less than evident.

The latest example comes from the American Civil Liberties Union, which posted a discussion of how the Second Amendment is a product of racism. Supporting commentary explained how “Anti-Blackness determined the inclusion of the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, and has informed the unequal and racist application of gun laws.”

Some media and legal commentators have fawned over a new book, “The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America,” by Dr. Carol Anderson, chair of Emory University’s Black Studies Department. Anderson claims the Second Amendment “was designed and has consistently been constructed to keep African Americans powerless and vulnerable.” In interviews with media outlets like CNN and NPR, her theory was not challenged on the Second Amendment’s history or purpose, despite overwhelming (and largely ignored) evidence to the contrary. Instead, NPR breathlessly billed its interview as “Historian Carol Anderson Uncovers The Racist Roots Of The Second Amendment.”

Slavery was a matter discussed both at the Declaration of Independence and during the Constitutional debates. However, the suggestion that it was a primary motivation for the Second Amendment is utter nonsense.

States opposed to slavery, like Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island, had precursor state constitutional provisions recognizing the right to bear arms. In his famous 1770 defense of Capt. Thomas Preston in the Boston Massacre trial, John Adams declared that British soldiers had a right to defend themselves since “here every private person is authorized to arm himself.” His second cousin and co-Founding Father, Samuel Adams, was vehemently anti-slavery and equally supportive of the right to bear arms.

Guns were viewed as essential in much of America, which was then a frontier nation, needed for food — but also to protect a free people from tyranny and other threats. (The Minutemen at Concord, after all, were not running to a Klan meeting in 1775.) Law enforcement was relatively scarce at the time, even in the more populous states — but, of course, some writers today claim the first police departments were products of slavery, too, used to enforce that system and to recapture escaped slaves.

The latest claim is reminiscent of the controversy over “The 1619 Project” produced by New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who claimed the American Revolution was motivated in large part to preserve slavery. Hannah-Jones clearly came up with her framing before looking at the facts, which directly contradict her claim. While at least one historian objected during the fact-checking process, it was published and only later corrected, along with other errors.

The Second Amendment claim is equally unfounded, but the argument allows for advocates to argue that this original “antiblackness” continues to shape “the unequal and racist application of gun laws.” This argument is maintained despite the fact that a quarter of African Americans are gun owners (compared with 36 percent of whites) and gun sales have been increasing in the African American community. Some African Americans have long viewed guns as an equalizer, including escaped slave and famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who, in an editorial, heralded the power of “a good revolver, a steady hand.” Gun ownership has a long, fiercely defended tradition in the Black community. Indeed, Ida B. Wells, one of the most prominent anti-lynching activists, declared: “The Winchester Rifle deserves a place of honor in every Black home.”

For decades, the meaning of the Second Amendment wallowed in a debate over whether the right to bear arms is an individual right. Gun-control advocates lost that debate before the Supreme Court in 2008. Now, however, critics can dispense with such long-standing arguments by claiming the amendment is a relic of slavery and a tool of racism. That instantly converts any Second Amendment defenders into advocates not of freedom but of anti-blackness and oppression. It simplifies the argument and silences opposing views.

Indeed, in today’s standard, it is not enough to be non-racist, you must prove yourself to be anti-racist. Yet it is hard to establish yourself as anti-racist if you are defending rules or amendments or countries already decried as being racist. Moreover, if you are trained to view everything through an anti-racist lens, it can become the only discernible option — like the old military adage that “if you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

It is even dangerous today to observe that any given legal problem is not a problem of racism. Some are; many are not. But if everything is a product or relic of racism, the “racism” label becomes less notable or less imperative to address.

There is no need to rewrite history. Racism permeates our history, including a war in which hundreds of thousands of many races died to end slavery in this country.

We have continued that struggle through the Civil Rights period and into the current day. But those efforts are hampered, not advanced, by converting all political disputes into zero-sum fights over racism, which leaves little room for debate and even less room for persuasion.

The resulting silence is not evidence of consensus but of intimidation. Racism is real, but it cannot be defeated if it is reduced to a political trump card.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

109 thoughts on “The Second Amendment Is About Rifles Not Racism”

  1. The Second Amendment was about diversity [dogma] (i.e. class-based affirmative discrimination). The Bill of Rights was generally about mtigating left-wing (i.e. authoritarian, totalitarian, State) progress to violate the American charter: Pro-Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

  2. The Second Amendment is essentially talking about today’s National Guard. So that means your state Governor and President Biden are in command of the government’s deputized militia. The Founding Fathers’ definition of “Militia” isn’t referring to a bunch of anti-government guys trying to subvert the constitutional democratic process. Back then there were no sizable police departments and no airplanes to transport military troops, so citizens had to provide their own short term security until the cavalry arrived.

    Individual gun rights like hunting, target shooting, etc. are also protected under the Ninth Amendment. The Ninth Amendment also protects many freedoms that Democrats and Liberals love also.

    Bottom Line: short of amending both the Second and Ninth Amendments, gun owners will always have a right to own guns in America.

  3. Slaves were prohibited from having a firearm. Look at countries like Cuba, North Korea, Iran, etc. Dictatorships do not allow average citizens to own a firearm. As George Washington reputedly said: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence-it is force!” An armed citizenry is a bulwark against oppressive government.

  4. The second amendment: The best defense against bullying that there ever was. And yet, the Dems who give lip service about being anti-bulling, hate it.

  5. Even if the hypothesis were true, who care? God bless the founding fathers for putting in an amendment that allows us to protect ourselves from the govt. and others.

        1. Slaves were private property that could be bought and sold as they pleased. The right to be free to pursue happiness and liberty includes the right to run a business with slaves. Plus only property owners had rights.

            1. Independent Bob,

              It was not actually stated that individuals had a right to bear arms. It was implied as the late justice Scalia claimed in his opinion.

              So a right being implied is perfectly consistent with the idea that having slaves was a right. Remember, slaves were property, not people.

  6. “That instantly converts any Second Amendment defenders into advocates not of freedom but of anti-blackness and oppression. It simplifies the argument and silences opposing views.”

    Only for the people with a platform that get heard. Most of us have no problem defending the second against any kind of stupid argument such as racism.

  7. Marxist academics know they can reframe historical fact and the proletariat will believe after having been indoctrinated in a public education system that stopped teaching critical analysis many years ago.

  8. A gun is an equalizer. When a crowd of Democrat Klansmen wearing white while carrying crosses and a match surround a black person’s door, that gun became an equalizer. I’ll bet those KKK members thought twice about setting fires to the crosses with a rifle pointed at their heads.

    1. Alan, KKK mobs were not about to let some Black with a gun stare them down. The Tulsa Massacre was triggered when Black veterans of WW I armed themselves to prevent a lynching.

      1. That is your opinion. Generally, the Democrat KKK rabble is cowardly, so even a mob gets scared. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but I would rather have the gun and take my chances when dealing with what occurred. Many Blacks wanted and had guns, but you think you know better and that you have the right to tell them what to do.

        They are individuals, not your chattel.

        1. Gray Anonymous, your coming from a time warp. White Southerners today are Cristian Conservative Republicans.

          1. You climb the ladder to success by pulling people down, not by raising yourself. We see this when you say Blacks have disadvantages. Your argument tells us your opinion that they aren’t smart enough to do what most people with common sense do. In other words, you believe they need your brains to help them and tell them what they can or cannot do. In the case of a legal gun, I would trust others to use it properly more than I would trust you.

    2. “ I’ll bet those KKK members thought twice about setting fires to the crosses with a rifle pointed at their heads.”

      Ah, but what makes anyone think that those klansmen are not armed themselves OR that many were also police officers who can later justify shooting that black man for breaking the law. Right?

      Never mind that retribution was common the hoody klansmen. Heck it often led to completely legal lynchings too. That “great equalizer” came with some pretty serious caveats.

      1. “Ah, but what makes anyone think that those klansmen are not armed themselves”

        So what? Many are willing to risk being punched in the face, but won’t take the chance of being shot dead.

        SM

        1. S. Meyer,

          You miss the point entirely. No black individual at the time when klansmen were burning crosses and torching homes ever got away with such a thing. There was always retribution that involved killing at the end which makes your “great equalizer” argument pretty pointless.

          If was far more dangerous for them to do something like that than just let klansmen burn a cross in their yards.

          It’s easy to say all they had to do was point their shotgun from their door. When doing so brought the consequences of being killed any other time. That is not freedom. It’s oppression from a constant threat, one not even the police back then would do anything about it because most police belonged to the KKK.

          1. Svelaz, you have no credibility. You make up facts to suit your argument just like you did with CRT, where you used a link you didn’t read, knew nothing about, a link that disagreed with you on some crucial points, and a juvenile link written by a student. Even after I posted what the bio said, you refused to believe the writer was a student.

            Guns helped blacks during the civil rights movement and before. One example, Jonesboro, but there are others. In Jonesboro, where the KKK earlier had marched through terrorizing people, leaders notified the police they had guns and would use them. The KKK never came back. So much for the nonsense, you write.

            You have to be one of the most ignorant people I believe has had an education that I have ever encountered.

            SM

            1. S Meyer,

              One example doesn’t change the fact that racism is still systematically imbued in the legal system and the constitution.

              You’re just a clown who wants to pretend to know things.

              “ You make up facts to suit your argument just like you did with CRT, where you used a link you didn’t read, knew nothing about, a link that disagreed with you on some crucial points, and a juvenile link written by a student. ”

              S. Meyer, nope. You just gave up when you couldn’t articulate a coherent argument using the article’s complex argument. Then you profess to “know” I didn’t read it when I did, because you couldn’t bring yourself to articulate what you read. You just latched on to one phrase that barely supported one of your rants without the benefit of including its context.

              You’re just a clown. A mildly amusing one when you actually make sense.

              1. “Racism is still systematically imbued in the legal system and the constitution.”

                Then you should be able to easily demonstrate that.

                  1. Anyone who thinks Svelaz read what he linked to probably has a lower IQ than Svelaz. Svelaz needs the comic book version in large print.

                    LOL

              2. “One example doesn’t change the fact that racism is still systematically imbued in the legal system and the constitution. You’re just a clown who wants to pretend to know things.”

                Svelaz, I provided one example, so now you want two, and if I provide two, you will want three. The examples exist. You are making yourself into a clown because I have proven what I have said. I also proved that the writer of your CRT link was a student by showing you his bio, but you needed it to be shown twice, … slow learner.

                Since you think “racism is still systematically imbued in the legal system and the constitution.” I will simply copy John’s answer. “Then you should be able to easily demonstrate that.” But you can’t because you are ignorant of history, the Constitution and everything else discussed on this blog.

                Next, referring to our previous discussion regarding CRT, you say: “S. Meyer, nope. You just gave up when you couldn’t articulate a coherent argument using the article’s complex argument.”

                That is a lie that anyone who followed the argument knows. You ran away without responding to several postings of mine that included quotes from the article you said you read but didn’t. You were trapped and couldn’t answer, so I copied at least one of my postings again, which you didn’t respond to either. Then under another topic, I reposted a previous post again, and you ignored it.

                The conclusion was that you didn’t know what you were talking about. If you wish, we can finish our discussion on CRT and the paper written by the student. Since you refused to respond multiple times, I don’t think that is in the cards.

                Stop lying. You made a fool of yourself on CRT and, more recently, on the second amendment and Scalia’s interpretation. You get dribs and drabs from the left-wing sites, but you don’t have the intelligence to integrate them accurately into an argument, much less understand them.

                “You just latched on to one phrase ”

                It was more than one, but I provided an answer to which you could not respond. You are ignorant.

                SM

                1. S. Meyer,

                  LOL! Didn’t run away. Just ignored you because you couldn’t handle a deep discussion on the subject. You gave up when it got too complicated and decided to make up your own arguments. Can’t have a decent discussion when you’re already frothing at the mouth trying to pretend to know what you’re talking about. You made it easy to ignore you.

                  1. In other words Svelaz, you can’t figure out a legitimate excuse. Say what you wish but the proof is on the blog. I keep laughing that I had to tell you that a student wrote the paper you linked to and you disagreed even after I showed you his bio.

                    You look like a fool. You sound like a fool. You are a fool.

  9. “ Gun-control advocates lost that debate before the Supreme Court in 2008.”

    Ah yes, the infamous Heller ruling. Turley, you conveniently left out the sad fact that the late justice Scalia’s opinion was badly flawed. Scalia, a constitutional originalist, betrayed his own philosophy due to the fact that it would have forced him to recognize that the 2nd amendment was never about an individual right to bear arms.

    Scalia deliberately ignored the intent of the 2nd amendment’s author. He didn’t bother to dive into his intent because it contradicted the very belief of what the 2nd amendment is interpreted today.

    Scalia relied solely on the text, arbitrarily dividing the Amendment into two parts. The first , “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State”, he called the prefatory clause. The second part, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” he called the operative clause. Claiming that second part was all that really mattered; Scalia discarded as irrelevant that inconvenient reference to a “state militia.”

    Scalia didn’t want to delve into Madison’s intent. Because it would undermine his own view of the 2nd amendment. So he chose to do what many originalists oppose. Interpreted the constitution as a living document.

    1. You know not much about what a Militia is….and how it is armed and equipped.

      Those Minutemen of History were a Militia and supplied their own weapons, ammunition, and equipment.

      You are entitled to your opinion but you certainly are entitled to your own false facts.

      1. Ralph Chappell,

        The general idea of what militias were is often glamoured up as serious outfits. The reality was most were largely disorganized groups of unreliable volunteers with little to no real military training.

        It took real military veterans of the time to organize them into competent militias. But that only lasted as long as there was a need for them. Most of the time training and even attendance was sporadic at best.

        Militias, especially those on the south had a dual purpose, to protect the interests of the state and to quell slave rebellions which were become more common. This is well known to real serious historians.

        There’s more to militias than just being fighting forces against the British. They were also used to clear out “savages” from their lands. They were needed to help expand state territory from the natives.

    2. Fractured Fairy Tales.

      Svelaz, Virtually every sentence is wrong either by commission or omission.

      Example: “Scalia didn’t want to delve into Madison’s intent. ”

      If you wish to call Scalia an originalist (not accurate), then delving into Madison’s intent is not the pertinent factor. Originalism involves the meaning of provisions at the time they are adopted, not when they are conceived.

      Based on the inaccuracies inherent in what you write, you cannot be trusted and should be disregarded.

      { I wait for your corrections regarding CRT. }

      1. S. Meyer, Scalia WAS a constitutional originalist.

        In the context of United States law, originalism is a concept regarding the interpretation of the Constitution that asserts that all statements in the constitution must be interpreted based on the original understanding “at the time it was adopted”.

        The phrase “at the time they were adopted” means what it’s authors intended. James Madison didn’t pen the final draft of the 2nd amendment. It was changed by committee.

        “ If you wish to call Scalia an originalist (not accurate)”

        Actually it IS accurate.

        “ The main danger in judicial interpretation of the Constitution,” Justice Antonin Scalia said in a 1988 lecture explaining why he is an originalist, “is that the judges will mistake their own predilections for the law.”

        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vox.com/platform/amp/21497317/originalism-amy-coney-barrett-constitution-supreme-court

        Scalia WAS a fervent originalist. Meaning he was of the view that the constitution was to be interpreted by what the founders intended. He didn’t do that in the Heller case because he knew that Madison’s intent wasn’t what he wanted the 2nd amendment to mean. He ignored his own philosophy in order to use his own personal interpretation.

        What is obvious S. Meyer is that you have no clue about what you try to argue. Perhaps you should bone up on some real history before you embarrass yourself.

        1. “S. Meyer, Scalia WAS a constitutional originalist. ”

          More accurate would be to say he was a textualist/originalist or visa versa. You referred us to what Madison thought when the amendment was written, but that is in error, for if Scalia was an originalist, then when the amendment was written didn’t count. An originalist tries to figure out what it meant when it was adopted. (I take note that you finally looked something up to get that detail straightened out.)

          I have heard Scalia referred to as a textualist and an originalist. He spoke about both of them. If I remember correctly, when he researched his decisions, he checked old dictionaries to get the exact meaning of the words used at the time the words were written.

          SM

          1. S. Meyer,

            “ S. Meyer, Scalia WAS a constitutional originalist. ”

            More accurate would be to say he was a textualist/originalist or visa versa. ”

            It’s the same thing dumba$$. You said it wasn’t accurate and I proved you wrong. Just say, “yes it was accurate I was wrong”. It’s not hard. I wouldn’t have held it against you. But you insisted on proving yourself a dumba$$.

            You said. “ If you wish to call Scalia an originalist (not accurate)”

            Then YOU said, “ More accurate would be to say he was a textualist/originalist or visa versa.” Saying visa versa means either or. So it WAS accurate to say Scalia was constitutional originalist.

            You basically proved yourself wrong, that’s why you’re a dumba$$.

            1. “textualist/originalist “: The words have similarities but are not the same. Then again, we know that a simpleton doesn’t have an adequate vocabulary, so he misuses words. You are the simpleton in question.

              “Saying visa versa means either or.”

              You don’t know the meaning of vice versa, which in this context means you can reverse which word comes first. You keep proving yourself more and more ignorant.

              SM

              1. S Meyer,

                LOL!! “ textualist/originalist “: The words have similarities but are not the same.”

                But you said it was not accurate to say Scalia was an originalist. Then you proved he was by admitting he was a “textualist/originalist”. As being similar.

                Textualist; a person who adheres strictly to a text, especially that of religious scriptures.

                Originalism; a type of judicial interpretation of a constitution (especially the US Constitution) that aims to follow how it would have been understood or was intended to be understood at the time it was written.

                Scalia was a huge advocate for originalism. You were wrong.

          2. S. Meyer,

            “ You referred us to what Madison thought when the amendment was written, but that is in error, for if Scalia was an originalist, then when the amendment was written didn’t count.”

            Madison’s first draft of the 2nd amendment and consequent discussions with those who wanted a more general version pointed out that Madison, the author of the 2nd amendment, made clear his intent. BECAUSE Scalia WAS an originalist he IGNORED Madison’s true intent. Scalia states in his opinion that he didn’t “need” to follow Madison’s intent which made his opinion one of a clear hypocrite. His philosophy would have forced him to admit thr 2nd amendment was never about an individual right.

            1. Madison had his own views as did most people that voted for the Bill of Rights. A single personal view doesn’t count. Intent is the intent of those that legally voted for the second amendment and what the second amendment said at that time,

              Scalia considered the intent of those that passed the law. You still don’t get it. Madison was only one of many. I am not sure what you are ascribing to Madison so I won’t comment on what you think his opinion was.

              SM

  10. Face it, race is a weapon being used by leftists to dismantle the United States and make it subject to Maoism. As for the Second Amendment, it’s not about rifles, it’s about military forces at the state and local level to defend against a tyrannical government. This was commonly taught until leftists took over education and started linking it to the National Guard, which didn’t exist prior to the Twentieth Century.

  11. Critical race theory insists that racism is present in all interactions and the task is not to determine if it is there (it always is), but to identify how it manifests itself. So get used to a lot more bizarre interpretations of not only history but of current events, as well, as otherwise clever but fanatical believers torture history, facts and logic in order to reach ill-founded conclusions that are in line with that ideology.

    Commenter Svelaz, here, is a great example of that. Svelaz finds minor facts or factoids and then tortures them to reach sweeping conclusions that do not even follow from his/her own logic. Comment at 9:34am good case in point–Madison’s original formulation was to exempt those with religious objections, such as Quakers, from having to arm themselves and serve in the militia–it has nothing to do with racism, but Svelaz takes that clause and leaps to find racism where is it obvious none existed.

    Racism was and is a terrible thing, it is real and we should all be aware of its existence and oppose it where it appears. But, it is not EVERYTHING, any more than “The Jews” were the cause of everything wrong in Germany as Hitler said, or all the problems of the Russian countryside were the fault of the kulaks, per Stalin. And I make those comparisons knowing full well what I am saying.

    1. Mhjsnsn,

      Your interpretation of what I said is incorrect. The basis for putting the 2nd amendment in the constitution has multiple reasons. One which does involve racism. The only reason why so many have never heard of this perspective is precisely because of how it has been told thru the eyes of those who created it and those who wanted it did other reasons besides protecting themselves from British government tyranny. The 2nd amendment was NOT solely based on racism, but it was a significant reason that was obscured by years of sugar coating for mostly patriotic bravado.

      Too many people wrongly believe that just acknowledging the possibility of some aspects of our core history regarding its racist beginnings are somehow responsible or are targeted for blame. That is certainly not the case. The only people pushing that idea are the real racists, those who cannot reconcile the fact that may be true. Just as it was the reaction of those who couldn’t accept the idea that Barack Obama became president. The very same people who promoted birtherism to discredit the president’s citizenship was because he was black. It reinforced the idea that because he was black he couldn’t possibly be a citizen and therefore president. Many say that’s not true, but no other president had his birth questioned in the manner that Obama was. Those critical of CRT are the same people who followed and spread the birther movement. The idea that to this day racism and current situation of the black and other minorities are the after effects of past and present racism embedded in our legal and political system.

      1. The only reason that I know that the 2nd amendment is racist is because some left wing loon said so.

    2. “Svelaz finds minor facts or factoids and then tortures them.”

      …And tortures us in the process. Many of Svelaz’s paragraphs would be excellent teaching devices. Present a child with one of his statements and have the child write what is wrong and why. It would be a great exercise. If there is more than one child, it could be a good competition with the winner finding the most errors.

  12. Turley is certainly entitled to his opinions, but not his own facts.

    Citing one historian objecting to ONE issue is not proof that the 1619 project’s general point is not true. In fact the very same historians he claims criticize the project point out that they all agree the 1619 project does indeed merit discussion and it’s general ideas are valid. Only a few issues are objectionable. However this is just a couple of historians among many. And many don’t disagree with the premise of the 1619’s premise.

    Turley cited states that opposed slavery as having state constitutions having rights to bear arms. What Turley leaves out is the fact that all with the exception of Pennsylvania had constitutional amendments dealing specifically with militias, not individuals. Only Pennsylvania had a specific constitutional right for individuals to bear arms. The other states had poor and often unreliable militias and the need for states to regulate them more uniformly was the reason why they had their constitutions include the right of militias to bear arms.

    Southern states had the same issues, BUT they also had the ADDITIONAL problem of dealing with slave revolts which militias were more often employed for instead of fighting the British at the time. The south had more incentives to trade with the British than they did with the north. Hence the relatively little attention the British had for southern states.

    This isn’t a reframing of history as Turley wants to characterize this. It’s a more truthful view of our history which has always been dressed in the most patriotic view possible and sweeping the ugly realities of what it really was about. Keeping the slave trade alive. This is way we had a civil war. Because many in the south stood to lose a lot if the slave trade were to cease being an economic benefit.

  13. The Framers were dyslectic and when the printed version of the Second Amendment came out they did not correct the sentence.

    “The right to arm bears”. Not: “The right to bear arms.”

    Bears were recruited into the militias in those days. They were given weapons. The Brits complained. So did some Indian tribes.

  14. “ There is no need to rewrite history. Racism permeates our history, including a war in which hundreds of thousands of many races died to end slavery in this country.

    We have continued that struggle through the Civil Rights period and into the current day. But those efforts are hampered, not advanced, by converting all political disputes into zero-sum fights over racism, which leaves little room for debate and even less room for persuasion.”

    This where Turley’s point touches on what CRT has brought up. Racism being an integral part of the creation of this nation.

    When one delves deeper into the history that shaped this country it is inescapable that slavery and the racism that comes with it played a crucial part in the creation of the constitution when it was first ratified. The slave trade was indeed big business, so much so that it played a significant role in building this country. The south was heavily dependent on slavery to keep its economy afloat. Slavery was indeed very much a part of the north too. But, in the north the notion of keeping another human being as property became more and more immoral and unnecessary. In the south that sentiment was seen more of a threat to their way of life.

    The 2nd amendment was a guarantee that southern states, who were reliant upon slave labor, had the independent ability to keep their slave population in check. Nothing was more frightening to southern slave owners than a rebellion and the increasing population of slaves posed a threat to their own interests if they had no real means to squash these rebellions. The first sentence in the amendment “ a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” was geared towards these states dependent on slavery.

    Now I’m not saying that there was no concern about the British coming to take weapons. That certainly was an important issue as well, but the real reason for the 2nd amendment was because of the need to keep slave rebellions at bay. The British were moving away from the slave trade and the notion of slavery in general and states that were still dependent on it were afraid their source of labor was going to be threatened. To ensure it was not the 2nd amendment was included in the constitution.

    1. Once again, another revisionist speaks. Lincoln did not invade the seceded states to “end slavery,” he wanted to preserve the union. It wasn’t until it became obvious that support for the war was waning that he made slavery an issue. Even then, it was purely a military proclamation with no basis on law and was designed to deprive the South of a source of labor. Remember that no slaves were freed in states that hadn’t seceded or in Tennessee, which was under the control of a puppet government.

    2. but the real reason for the 2nd amendment was because of the need to keep slave rebellions at bay
      Go back and read the post about confusing correlation with causation.
      The Bill of Rights was added, after the Constitution was delivered to the states for ratification. The NEED arose because the people, had lived for generations as independent states. Self governing, and fighting with the King of England for freedom to live their lives. The idea of swapping a tyrant, with limitless power across the Ocean, to a home grown all powerful Federal Government, was a non starter.
      What, the people asked, would keep the newly formed federal government from taking over where the King left off? The framers looked at the abuses of the King and knew the way to protect the people is enumerate actions that were outside the power of the new government.
      Welcome the birth of the Bill of Rig. hts. The people feared the govt established religion would rule like the Church of Englland, they feared the govt would shut down printing presses like the King had done, They feared the govt would follow the King and strip guns from the people, and rule with the army. They feared the new government army would roam across the land and “quarter” at farms, using their feed for their horses and animals for the meals.
      This is all part of the historical record

      Expert and all knowing Constitutional scholar B.H. Obama says its filled with “negative” rights. Things the federal CAN’T do.

      He fails to note it does identify activities and freedoms the people have a God given, inalienable right to exercise,

      1. “ The Bill of Rights was added, after the Constitution was delivered to the states for ratification. ”

        The only way states that relied on slavery would ratify the constitution was if they had a guarantee that the federal government wouldn’t be able to take away their militias. They needed those militias to keep slave rebellions in check.

        “ He fails to note it does identify activities and freedoms the people have a God given, inalienable right to exercise,”

        Except for the slaves. They didn’t have that.

        1. God, you are ignorant of history.

          Absolutely southerners were affroad of slave uprisings.

          That is why the 2nd amendment is worded as it was. Southern states did NOT want an individual right to bear arms.
          Northern states did.
          Militias were a much bigger deal in the north than the south.

          Regardless the individual right to bear arms is actually created by the 14th amendment as part of the priviledges and immunities clause.

          Read the debates by reconstruction republicans who drafted the the reconstruction amendments.
          They explicity intend to assure that individual blacks could have guns to defend themselves in the south.

          As to your core claim – it is nonsense. Our founders never envisioned a federal government with the powers you claim.

          There is no general police power in the constitutiion. Our founders would not have conceived of the federal government banning guns – because that was not a power the federal government had.

          To the extent that most of the rights specified in the bill of rights could be infringed on they would be infringed on by the STATES not the federal government.

          1. John say, so you agree with my position.

            “ Absolutely southerners were affroad of slave uprisings.

            That is why the 2nd amendment is worded as it was. Southern states did NOT want an individual right to bear arms.”

            The 2nd amendment was worded the way it is so that southern states would be able to join in ratifying the constitution.

            John say, the author of the 2nd amendment didn’t intend for individuals to have the right to bear arms. His first draft actually included exceptions. As you say southern states didn’t want the right to bear arms to be individual rights because it would have applied to freed slaves.

            “ Regardless the individual right to bear arms is actually created by the 14th amendment as part of the priviledges and immunities clause.”

            Which parts are you referring to?

            “The amendment authorized the government to punish states that abridged citizens’ right to vote by proportionally reducing their representation in Congress. It banned those who “engaged in insurrection” against the United States from holding any civil, military, or elected office without the approval of two-thirds of the House and Senate. The amendment prohibited former Confederate states from repaying war debts and compensating former slave owners for the emancipation of their enslaved people. Finally, it granted Congress the power to enforce this amendment, a provision that led to the passage of other landmark legislation in the 20th century, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Congress required former Confederate states to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment as a condition of regaining federal representation.“

            https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/14thAmendment.htm

        2. Correct slaves did not have certain rights – anywhere in the world at the time.

          The US was not unfortunately the first country to eliminate slavery. But it was actually one of the first.

          In the late 19th century the US and UK with the rare assistance of France sought to end the african slave trade – which continued into the early 20th century.

          Legal slavery was not ended throughout the world until late in the 20th century, and actual slavery still continues.

          Long after the civil war black africans were being enslaved by other blacks and sold into slavery arround the world – primarily into the mid-east.

          Slavery is as old as humanity and not tied to race.

          1. JS: Good points. And a minor correction:

            “In the late 19th century the US and UK with the rare assistance of France sought to end the african slave trade . . .”

            That U.S. effort started in the *early* 19th century.

            — In 1807, President Thomas Jefferson signed into law a bill approved by the Congress: An Act to prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the 1808 Transatlantic Slave Trade Act) and made it unlawful to import or bring into the United States or territories thereof from any foreign kingdom, place or country, any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, with intent to hold, sell, or dispose of such. . .as a slave, or to be held to service or labour. (Yes, that Thomas Jefferson.) (https://www.congress.gov/110/plaws/publ183/PLAW-110publ183.htm)

            — Congress then passed the 1820 Piracy Law. Included under “piracy” was this provision: attempting to confine, deliver, or sell a negro or mulatto (similarly qualified as not held to service, etc.) was also declared piracy punishable by death.

            — As a result of Jefferson’s and Congressional efforts to eradicate slavey: From 1819-1861, the U.S. Navy patrolled the coast of Africa (and elsewhere). The Navy captured some 100 slave ships, punished their captains, and freed the would-be slaves. The Navy’s African Slave Trade Patrol ceased when it was redeployed to fight in the Civil War. Here is the Saratoga’s captain describing one such effort:

            “For some time the American ship Nightingale of Boston, Francis Bowen, master, has been watched on this coast under the suspicion of being engaged in the slave trade. Several times we have fallen in with her and although fully assured that she was about to engage in this illicit trade she has had the benefit of the doubt. A few days ago observing her at Kabenda, I came in and boarded her and was then induced to believe she was then preparing to receive slaves. Under this impression the ship was got under way and went some distance away but with the intention of returning under cover of the night; which was done and at 10 P.M. we anchored and sent two boats under Lieut. Guthrie to surprise her and it was found that she had 961 slaves on board and was expecting more. Lieut. Guthrie took possession of her as a prize and I have directed him to take her to New York.”

            (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_Slave_Trade_Patrol)

          2. John say,

            “ The US was not unfortunately the first country to eliminate slavery. But it was actually one of the first.”

            It was in fact one among the last to abolish slavery in the emerging states.

            Mexico abolished slavery in 1829

            Britain abolished slavery in 1833

            Spain abolished slavery in 1867

            Upper Canada abolished slavery in 1793.

            The U.S. abolished slavery in 1865

            “ Slavery is as old as humanity and not tied to race.”

            It was here, after the two countries who had significant commerce with the US abolished slavery and only the southern states were left with the practice. Race played a significant role in justifying it in the south.

            1. Once again, Svelaz has difficulty understanding the meaning of common words.

              I have to check out the accurate dates, but the law abolishing slavery in the British Empire didn’t mean an end to slavery. I don’t think the British government expected the law to end slavery immediately. I would have to check, but I guess slavery didn’t end in the British colonies until near the end of the century. American slavery ended with the Civil War.

              One always has to fact-check everything Svelaz says because it is rare that he is correct. Again, I am not sure, but pretty sure Spain didn’t abolish slavery in Puerto Rico until after our Civil War.

              Mexico was not a country. It was part of Spain. Slavery ended during the revolution, so Mexico never engaged in slavery.

              You are dumber than sh!t, Svelaz.

              SM

              1. S. Meyer,

                “ Mexico was not a country. It was part of Spain. Slavery ended during the revolution, so Mexico never engaged in slavery.”

                Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821. It was an independent country when it abolished slavery in 1829. Slavery was legal in Mexico for 8 years.

                Slavery was abolished long before the Mexican revolution started which was in 1910 it ended in 1920.

                1. I had to look up Mexico. Like in other countries slavery persisted even after anti-slavery laws were passed.

                  From the left-wings favorite quick answers at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_abolition_of_slavery_and_serfdom”

                  “Independence leader Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla proclaimed the abolition of slavery three months after the start of the Independence of Mexico from Spain.”

                  The official anti-slavery law was as you said. I only remembered Hidalgo proclaiming the abolition of slavery during the revolution in 1810. To sort out more of the facts I would need more than a minute to research. Hidalgo was considered the father of Mexico.

                  SM

    3. Svelaz writes: “The British were moving away from the slave trade and the notion of slavery in general and states that were still dependent on it were afraid their source of labor was going to be threatened. To ensure it was not the 2nd amendment was included in the constitution.”

      Follow the timeline:

      Constitution signed 1787
      Bill of Rights Adopted 1789

      The BritishSlavery Abolition Act 1833

      Svelaz, stop with your Fractured Fairy Tales. It makes us look bad.

      (signed) Bullwinkle and Rocky

      SM

      1. S. Meyer, you confirmed my point.

        The civil war started in 1861.

        “ The British were moving away from the slave trade and the notion of slavery in general”

        According to YOUR timeline. The British abolished slavery in 1833. Meaning they were already abandoning the practice which left the southern states more isolated in keeping the slave trade alive.

        Thanks for confirming my point S. Meyer.

        1. There were only 15,000 blacks in all of England in 1800 – and few if any were slaves.

          The english – like most europeans had vast slave holdings – IN THEIR COLONIES. Not in europe itself.

          slavery has existed for all of human history – through today.
          Legal slavery continued until the end of the 20th century.
          Illegal slavery continues today.

          Further you make the mistake of equating slavery with racism.

          While there was a thriving african slave trade – with blacks abducting and selling other blacks into slavery, slavery has been independent of race for most of human existance.

          Powerful nations captured slaves from their vanquished enemies without regard to race.

          The US in the early 19th century is a tiny part of the history of world slavery.

          1. John say,

            “ Further you make the mistake of equating slavery with racism.”

            Slavery is based on racism. The reason why one considers another a slave is because one seems the other racially inferior, the view that those who are racially inferior are not worthy of being deemed equal as people. Therefore they are treated as if they were a commodity, expendable beasts of burden, etc. of course slavery can be equated with racism.

        2. Svelaz, you don’t seem to recognize what your argument was.

          You said: “ The British were moving away from the slave trade and the notion of slavery in general”

          The second amendment passed with the rest of the Bill of Rights in 1789. The British didn’t pass the British Slavery Abolition Act until 1833. The act was not intended to stop slavery suddenly. Slavery in the empire probably coexisted with our Civil War and perhaps until the end of the century. Therefore, the British movement away from slavery had little or nothing to do with the need for the second amendment.

          I don’t know how you can think I confirmed your point.

          SM

  15. Being a member of a black studies, women’s studies, ethnic studies, etc. department is like saying that you couldn’t get a degree or a job in a real science or humanities department, so you brushed up on your lefty lingo and landed a position in one of those less credible, easy-going niches where you can ignore data and simply regurgitate the rhetoric. And only naive and pandering “news” outlets like NPR, or even more discredited ones like CNN would attempt to give you the credibility you so obviously lack. In fact, CNN is the perfect outlet for an interview with this ignorant academic, because CNN specializes in factless dissemination of liberal nonsense (“mostly peaceful protests” as fires raged in the background is only the most photogenic). Liberals have created their own “fact-free” echo chamber where they never have to confront reality.

  16. In a perverse way calling everything racist until the term no longer has any meaning may ultimately end race as an issue anyone takes seriously. It will make it impossible to address any real cases of racism.

  17. I read this, it’s spot on. The second Amendments about the right to defend and obviously was targeting the disarming of civilians by British troops, the idea being if our people are armed the govt won’t be so quick to oppress, i get that. Not sure why its such a difficult concept. Today of course it’s meaning pales in comparison to colonial times when Muskets were the order of the day, and owning small arms doesn’t really give a huge advantage to a govt with Apache attack copters, M1 Abrams and tactical nukes, but yea, that was the obvious intent.

    But as for defeating racism, how does one regulate thought? Honestly and I know I will catch crap for this but as much as I despise racism, and I do, I hate it when a man looks at someone and thinks because they are of a race they must be a certain way, but that being said, its America, right? Doesn’t freedom include the right to be racist. I mean I know lots of people who are racist and don’t like black people, or Mexican people, and I know black people who don’t like white people. I disagree with their thinking but I believe they have a right to think it. We can’t wage “war” on peoples thoughts, instead maybe just learn to all get along a little better and live with the fact that there may be people living in the same country, city and town as you that doesn’t think the same way as you.

    We definitely can restrict the right to discriminate based on race, but we can’t really wage a war on how people think. And doing so will just reinforce those feelings, not remove them.

    I think the real problem is too many people with nothing to do these days, worrying about what someone else is thinking, maybe if people just focused on working more then they’d find those things that drove them crazy sitting up all night tapping on their phones, suddenly don’t mean as much and they can turn their attention to developing their lives, gifts and talents and enjoying their families. We spend far too much time worrying about making sure everyone “thinks” the right way these days and not enough time addressing our own lives and families and careers. You can’t regulate thought, and you can’t wage a war on how people choose to think. Any such struggle is a losing battle.

    1. owning small arms doesn’t really give a huge advantage to a govt with Apache attack copters, M1 Abrams and tactical nukes, but yea, that was the obvious intent.

      You have never read history, or is seems care enough about current events to know what is happening today.
      Afghanistan must be the most powerful military power on the planet because the well known largest most powerful military powers have all left the nation as losers.

      But the far more basic question must be answered. Would the military violate the constitution and operate on US Soil? Would that Apache Attack Helicopter pilot strafe his home town?

    2. Well said Chris Weber.
      Too many people concerning themselves with what others think, and trying to mandate what they think by turning everyday words into an offense.

  18. “Tribalism” may be the real harm Americans should be concerned about. Instead of “Team USA” many are “Team GOP”, “Team Democrat”, white, black, straight or LGBT.

    Political parties were never designed into the American system and many of the Framers of the Constitution would only support European style political parties if they created “healthy competition” that benefitted the nation. Parties have divided not united Americans and most other nations.

    Seems to me that patriotic Americans should embrace everyone from Rednecks to LGBT Americans, instead of hating our fellow citizens. It’s healthy to hear different vantage points, even ideas we don’t agree with.

    1. I don’t usually respond to comments in here especially with fake names on them and am not going to make a habit of it but I read this comment and its so well stated and so spot on that it needs to be recognized. This is exactly the problem as I’ve pointed out many times as well. This. Not one word being uttered by either liberals or conservatives in here along party lines matters. All that’s white noise designed to keep the two sides arguing and the media raking in the dough, the government maintaining control by keeping a people divided. It’s old school, dates back to Julius Caesar “divide et impera” or “divide and rule”, its how govts keep opposing factions from rising. By dividing the population a ruler can keep them arguing, keep “their side” fighting their points for them and keep the people from collectively reflecting on any oppressive measures or skullduggery behind the scenes. If republicans or democrats really cared about the country, they’d wake up and realize they are being played. Played like a cheap plastic banjo.

      If they want to do something for the country, they’ll take off their partisan blinders and start figuring out how to live with each other again and stop following the news channels, CNN, FOX, MSNBC until they start producing news again and not editorialized party line dogma. Our nations being torn apart alright but its not one side or the other. Its both, because people apparently these days are too stupid to know when they’re being played.

      Like I said I don’t usually respond to any comments on this site, don’t usually have the time or inclination but this morning I am home and read this, and I don’t know who you are but I hope you keep saying this over and over and shouting it from the rooftops. This is what people need to hear. Right there. What you said.

      You said it right.

    2. “The Second Amendment is essentially talking about today’s National Guard.”

      AZ, No, it isn’t. The national guard didn’t exist at the time, so you can’t equate the two. You cannot use today’s definitions to interpret yesterday’s meanings.

      That being said, I agree with what follows: “Seems to me that patriotic Americans should embrace everyone from Rednecks to LGBT Americans”

      We are a nation of individuals, not groups. Each individual is entitled to life, liberty and happiness. The left would like to make us all into angry tribes, without any individuality, that fight one another. That isn’t good.

  19. The Second Amendment is about empowerment.

    Minorities, the physically frail, the oppressed, are all strengthened by the Second.

    Only those who have the power fear an armed citizen.

    Once again, Lefties are claiming that up is down.

    One more reason that people with common sense cannot relate to Lefty academics.

    1. If anyone really researched why the second amendment was created one would come to realize it really does have its roots in racism, particularly slavery.

      The 2nd amendment as we know it was not the original. It was one of several drafts.

      Here is Madison’s first draft of the Second Amendment:

      “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, a well-armed and well-regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.”

      James Madison’s intent was not what we commonly know as the 2nd amendment today. His draft was modified by committee not by Madison himself.

      It was so that southern states would be able to maintain militias to quell slave rebellions. They were afraid the federal government wouldn’t support their need for slaves if they had a federal military. The southern states WANTED the ability to keep slaves in check by using militias. The infringement portion of the amendment was to prevent the federal government from disbanding such militias. It wasn’t about an individual right to bear arms. Free slaves were not allowed to bear arms. If it was indeed an individual right those freed slaves would have had a right to bear arms too.

      1. There were many reasons why the various states in colonial America adopted the 2nd Amendment. To reduce this complexity to “racism” is ridiculous. But that seems to be the agenda of the lunatic left — reduce everything to a common denominator because complexity makes their heads explode.

        1. Giocon1,

          “ There were many reasons why the various states in colonial America adopted the 2nd Amendment. To reduce this complexity to “racism” is ridiculous.”

          It may seem ridiculous, but it’s also true. The British was not the only reason why the 2nd amendment was created. It was one of several. It may be an inconvenience to many that racism does have a heavy hand in its creation. The fact of the matter is the historical record supports it.

          We learn of history by learning it like learning about the Bible using the children’s version and believing it to be THE correct version only to learn that the more gruesome and brutal details of the real Bible don’t conform to the history one learned by reading the children’s version. You wouldn’t know about the incestuous marriages and cruel truths about beloved characters in the children’s version.

          Clearly Turley suffers from just such naïveté about why he doesn’t see racism as a fundamental component of our national history.

      2. “T]he second amendment . . . really does have its roots in racism, particularly slavery.”

        That’s not true. But suppose it is.

        Does that mean, then, that individuals today do *not* have a right to own a gun?

        Your argument is that there is no such right, because the premise for it was (allegedly) wrong? That there is no correct premise for that right?

    2. Gun control was a major part of Jim Crow laws in the post reconstruction South. Limiting the ability of freed slaves and their descendants to defend themselves was and is still racist.

    3. Monumentcolorado,

      “ Only those who have the power fear an armed citizen.

      Once again, Lefties are claiming that up is down.”

      That statement is right, HOWEVER. You also have the inconvenient fact that a majority of the constitution’s framers were slave owners too. As you do aptly stated, “only those who have power fear an armed citizen”. Slave owners also feared armed slaves. Freed slaves or any black individuals living in the north had no right to bear arms. They were specifically forbidden from owning arms. Many people don’t realize that just because former slaves were free in the north they were not allowed to have arms by law. Many who joined the Union army in the beginning were not allowed to carry arms. Their jobs involved being drummers or flag bearers, they were only there to do menial labor such as digging trenches and clearing up the dead. In July 1862, Congress passed a law permitting black men to enlist at a pay rate of $10 per month ($3 less than the pay of a white private). But Congress left it up to the president to determine the duties of black volunteers. Lincoln decided that any blacks enlisting into the army were to be used only as laborers and not trained as combat soldiers.

      Ironically it was in Louisiana where black confederate regiments were first created. But soon after they joined the Union in fighting the south.

      1. Women were denied the right to vote. Blacks were denied the right to carry arms. Babies were aborted for social progress. True in some, select jurisdictions. Generally handmade tales that are repacked as sociopolitical myths.

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