Anytime there is a sudden loss of life due to gun violence in this country, the debate over sensible gun control begins again, usually in vain. Those in favor of more controls on who can purchase and own a gun rightly note that we require drivers to get a driver’s license and purchase insurance, yet we allow just about anyone to buy a weapon of mass death because that’s supposedly what the Founding Fathers intended.
Those opposed to any kind of gun control say the Second Amendment was placed into the Constitution for an important purpose: To protect the citizenry from a tyrannical federal government. But that’s simply not the real reason for the amendment. It was written and placed in the Constitution to protect slave owners.
Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were deeply concerned about this government’s possible ability to usurp the power of individual citizens to protect and regulate their property. And the most valuable property of all at the time was a man’s slaves.
In 1755 and 1757, legislation was passed in the colony of Georgia which required that all white males between the ages of 18 and 45 patrol as members of a slave policing militia. These militias were designed specifically to keep slaves in check, and even went as far as to muster once a month and inspect the living quarters of all slaves in their specified jurisdiction. Militia members were also instructed to keep an eye out for signs of any possible slave uprising.
Dr. Carl T. Bogus wrote this in the 1998 University of California Law Review:
“The Georgia statutes required patrols, under the direction of commissioned militia officers, to examine every plantation each month and authorized them to search ‘all Negro Houses for offensive Weapons and Ammunition’ and to apprehend and give twenty lashes to any slave found outside plantation grounds.”
Patrick Henry in particular was terrified that slavery-perpetuating militias in the South might be disbanded if their existence wasn’t spelled out in the Constitution, writing:
“[T]hey will search that paper [the Constitution], and see if they have power of manumission. And have they not, sir? Have they not power to provide for the general defence and welfare? May they not think that these call for the abolition of slavery? May they not pronounce all slaves free, and will they not be warranted by that power?
“This is no ambiguous implication or logical deduction. The paper speaks to the point: they have the power in clear, unequivocal terms, and will clearly and certainly exercise it.”
When is freedom just a word? When it doesn’t apply to everyone.
So the next time some NRA ammosexual says the Second Amendment is meant to protect us from the government, remind them that we outlawed slavery a long time ago and now people are just clinging to guns as a way to compensate for their own inadequacies.
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