Thursday, February 21, 2013 • 2:52 PM Comments (21)

The Second Amendment and Slavery

posted by James Heflin

Never heard this argument before. Thom Hartmann:

The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says "State" instead of "Country" (the Framers knew the difference - see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia's vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too.

In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the "slave patrols," and they were regulated by the states.

In Georgia, for example, a generation before the American Revolution, laws were passed in 1755 and 1757 that required all plantation owners or their male white employees to be members of the Georgia Militia, and for those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state. The law defined which counties had which armed militias and even required armed militia members to keep a keen eye out for slaves who may be planning uprisings.


It's the answer to the question raised by the character played by Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained when he asks, "Why don't they just rise up and kill the whites?" If the movie were real, it would have been a purely rhetorical question, because every southerner of the era knew the simple answer: Well regulated militias kept the slaves in chains.

I'm not agreeing or disagreeing, just passing this one along.

It's always seemed to me that the colonial militias were about rudimentary national defense in a rudimentary age ("security of a free state"). But the entirety of context is easily forgotten 200-plus years later, too.

Got to have a little froth or it's not a cappuccino.

Comments (21)
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"Why don't they just rise up and kill the whites?" If the movie were real, it would have been a purely rhetorical question, because every southerner of the era knew the simple answer: Well regulated militias kept the slaves in chains.


Or because they had no right to have a firearm to resist the tyranny. When two guys have a gun, it's tough for either to enslave the other.

Posted by k on 2.21.13 at 16:38

Quiz time: What's the common characteristic of every population to be oppressed throughout human history?

Posted by k on 2.22.13 at 7:19

Kev - Why was some a-hole able to oppress them?

(btw - in your scenario... neither guy was enslaved.)

(ps. And by that comment I'm clearly suggesting every human be armed and shoot each other asap)

It's cute how you guys won't admit that every poplation to fall victim to despots and tyranny was unarmed.

Posted by k on 2.22.13 at 14:46

Also, Kev - Why don't you send me an example of the endless statistics showing more crime in conceal/carry areas than in "gun free" zones.

Posted by k on 2.22.13 at 16:47

Oh boy... You want in on this argument, Kev?

1- Are you telling me the indians were forced to desert their land because they were well armed and able to fight back successfully?

2- Yes, they lost to better armed people. This is simple math here.

.... and go.

- List me an example of a well armed population that fell to a tryannical government.

- List examples of higher crime as the result of conceal carry laws.

Posted by k on 2.22.13 at 19:08

Kev -

Your WWII example fails. I'm not talking about countries losing a war - happens all the time. I'm talking about a populace that becomes ruled by a dictator. I'm waiting for your examples of well armed people (citizens) falling to that fate.

As to your logic comment... Yes, they lost to better armed people... and they were also greatly outnumbered. US citizens are not outnumbered by our gov't or military. Second - our military would break down if it ever came to that critical point... they would not all go along with unconstitutional orders to fight citizens.

The second amendment implies a level of parity in weaponry. I think someone said wisely that a good measure would be to allow citizens the weapons used by law enforcement. That level of parity ensures that we can resist tyranny - not defeat our government in a "war" but enough to resist.

What don't you guys get? Chris Dorner put a portion of our nation on high alert in a manhunt..... ONE GUY WITH A GUN. Yet you guys refuse to admit that tens of millions of well armed citizens would pose a serious problem for a gov't wishing to convert to a dictatorship.

All of that said.... gun free zones have proven to be mass shooting zones and you can't site any statistics showing that conceal/carry makes crime more prevalent.

Your turn.

Posted by k on 2.23.13 at 10:23

that's the most retarded anti 2a piece I've ever read.

Torturing history and logic that way earns you a special place in hell, or at least it should.

A bunch of revolutionaries who JUST won a war... yeah, slave patrols, that was there motivations.

Didn't seem to bother Dr, King, gun owner who was denied a permit to carry by racists.

The real racsim= gun control that denies people of color their 2a rights. See Chicago. Note that violence there eclipses the mass shootings of white kids ever single year, but no one cares... I wonder why.

Seriosly, this is shameful James.

Posted by nobodygood on 2.23.13 at 16:04

Kev - Not asking you to do research for me... asking you to back up your argument. We can agree that mass shootings take place in "gun free" zones. Give evidence that turning them into conceal carry zones would cause more crime.

"More guns equals more bullets in the air. Which equals more people shot."

This statement has no empirical evidence to back it up. Prove me wrong.

Posted by k on 2.24.13 at 20:11

Kev - This isn't complicated and your outrage is adorable.

Conceal carry is allowed in certain areas of the United States. If your logic is SO obviously correct, why can't you give me any evidence that conceal carry causes more gun crime?

Posted by k on 2.25.13 at 12:28

He wont because he can't. FBI crime reports show that. They also show that violence, gun or otherwise, has absolutley nothing to do with the implement used to commit it. If the antis want to be logical the best they can do is say it's better to be stabbed than shot or something else inane (in which case, we are off to a good start as there are far more stabbings than shootings with a rifle). Instead they retreat to pointing out things higher a higher murder via firearm in this country, ignoring overall crime rates in other countries .. and the fact that most of that crime committed with guns comes from virtual gun free zones like Chicago. They bring up Australia and leave out the fact they they had very strict gun laws before they completley disarmed, then cherry pick the current data to exclude things like home invasions. They talk about how violence went down during the AWB in this country, leaving out that is was going down before and continues to decline after overall, notable exceptions in places like Chicago. They talk about tyranny and berate you for not running out in the street with your rifle while they plan to take that rifle away....

The best theory I've heard yet for the anti is that they have a lack of self control. The anti fears that he or she would shoot a neighbor, spouse, etc. and their ego postulates... well, if I would shoot Bob who lets his dog crap on my lawn... then anybody would shoot Bob!

Posted by samediego on 2.25.13 at 12:42

Good point samediego. The "I wouldn't trust myself with a gun in the house and therefore wouldn't trust anyone else" aspect of the gun control argument is interesting.

Posted by k on 2.25.13 at 13:11

FBI stats for 2011 and the past 50 years, DOJ report on the effectiveness of the last AWB, and the CDC report of same. Use google. <-- stats that back up the pro stance, as impartial as it gets. If you read it and your honest with yourself, you will see that pro gun laws or rather lack or weird anti civil rights bullshit, do not increase violence.

Tyranny is a process, and there are moments in that process, historically almost every time in fact, when a gun ( a lot of them) is used. See Syria, right now. See the American revolution, etc. I can't believe you made that arguement, it's inane. It's not like you live in a constitution republic at night and someone hits "complile" and in the morning, bam = tyranny!

Guns are awesomely lethal, but it's not the law abiding gun owners, the ones you cowards want to screw with, that are causing mayhem with them. Legal gun owners are responsible less than 1% of the crime you speak of. As the vast majority of us are not murderers, we want our inalienable right to defense from tyranny in any form, gov or that of "wicked men" to quote a famous line, intact.

The number of gun deaths, again, falling for the ast 20 years and only really high in places where guns are banned (see FBI report, 2011) will continue to fall whether or not ignorant cowards succeed in making bad guys take a half second to reload or not.

Insuating that pro gun owners do not mind the fact that people are murdered is insulting and a cheap shot, not as weak as the 2a founded in slavery drivel, but weak. Where was your outrage last year when the number of blacks kids murdered in Chicago went triple digits btw?

Gun owners have been under fire by those that seek to control them since 1822, enough is enough.

Posted by Sam Diego on 2.25.13 at 20:25

"A note to "nobodygood":

Just want to reiterate that I am not taking a position regarding Thom Hartmann's piece."


Posting that garbage on an obviously anti 2a blog is absolutely taking a position. Saying "don;t shoot the messenger" is a cop out.

Posted by samdiego on 2.26.13 at 5:57

Kev - Conceal carry is law throughout the country and you can't provide any evidence that it causes more gun crime? So you're basically saying you refuse to backup your argument?

"My claim is as obvious as it gets."

If that were true, wouldn't the passage of conceal carry laws increase gun violence? Not to jump topics but this "obvious as it gets" argument reminds me of other liberal ideas that are unfounded in reality.

Posted by k on 2.26.13 at 6:26

Switzerland has more guns per capita than the United States yet has less gun crime.

"Gun free" zones have failed to prevent mass shootings.... they have even become a welcome target for them.

There are many conceal carry areas in the United States yet you can't cite one study claiming it causes an increase in gun crime.

Michigan became a shall-issue state in 2001:

More Concealed Weapon Permits Has Not Led to More Violence

Florida became a shall-issue state and, despite predictions like yours, did not see an increase in gun crime.

* 221,443 concealed carry licenses were issued in Florida between October of 1987 and April of 1994. During that time, Florida recorded 18 crimes committed by licensees with firearms. (15)

Take a look at these Texas reports and look at "CHL" crimes in relation to total crimes.

These are just a few examples showing that conceal carry holders are FAR less likely to commit crime with a gun than the general population.

Kev - why does impirical evidence not matter to you? (And I'm still waiting for evidence that converting gun-free zones into conceal carry zones would cause an increase in gun crime).

Until you can do that, you lose the argument. Sorry.

Posted by k on 2.26.13 at 9:52

You left out the word justifiable. Justifiable homicades, meaning that people who would have been screwed for defending themselves are now not being screwed, rose. This is not a bad thing. The authors "suspect" motive at the end, but there is no evidence that the "suspions" they present mean anything.

Nice try though.

Posted by samdiego on 2.26.13 at 10:43

Hoekstra says they see three distinct possibilities that might account for the increase.

"One theory is that these are in some sense legitimate self-defense killings that just don't meet the strict definition of justifiable homicide," he says. "On the other hand, it could be that the increase in homicide is due to criminals escalating," say by carrying and using weapons more. "So one possible response to castle doctrine is for criminals to carry and use guns more frequently, for example. We could be picking up the effect of that. The third possibly is that otherwise non-lethal conflicts turn deadly because of castle doctrine. It's really, really difficult to distinguish between those three possibilities."

You are the one using a small subset of violence related data to attack the entirety of the 2a, and I'm the wall?

Read the above, note the bold (mine), and who wrote it.

Your failure is complete.

Posted by samdiego on 2.26.13 at 12:03

I don't have to explain it, the explaination is right there in the words you type.

Again with the cherry picking. TIL it's more acceptable to you and Piers Morgan to be stabbed than shot.

We have more deaths by gun, makes sense, we have more guns, but we have less overall violence than the UK. No idea about Japan other than that comparing our cultures is like comparing the specs of a porsche to a "smart" car.

Additionally, and you ignore this over an over, our increased rate of gun homicde mostly occors in gun free zones, like DC and Chicago, and it's not committed by licensed gun owners. McCarthy, C.O.P. in Chicago, admits the same.

... but keep doing what your doing, if you can sleep better being a fan of racist anti civil rights policies that have been proven to do nothing beneficial, go for it.

Posted by samdiego on 2.26.13 at 14:21

There is no cart or horse, I'm talking about cause of death, not survivable woundings.

The anti gun policies in those places came about because of fear mongering and hysteria, same as the ones here. Violence is a sypmton cultrural and economic injustice, not innanimate objects.

You anti's will never be able to keep guns out of the hands of bad guys. look at your drug war, look at your immigration policies, all failures.

As far as red herring racism, look up at the article we are responding under. I'm not the one creating gun laws that make it hard for people of color to exercise a civil right.

Don't much care if you like me or not.

I'm sick of peopel with personal issues best sorted in private attempting to make themselves feel better by imposing their emotionally based beliefs on others.

Posted by samdiego on 2.26.13 at 16:01

The NRA has offfered education, training, suggested armed guards at schools (many have them already, they need not be swat teams) and countless other safety and training programs for youths, women, etc.

The one thing all guns deaths (and I take it you mean murders, not accidents or suicides) have in common is that a human being was willing to destroy another human beings life.

That is where we differ, and that is why "gun" control has a record of failure.

Posted by samdiego on 2.26.13 at 18:09

Kev - Did you provide empiricle evidence that conceal carry causes more gun crime yet? Why is it so hard?

Posted by k on 2.26.13 at 19:28



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