Just know we need a change and don’t know what that is. I am not anti gun by any stretch. But I am asking.. what if we are wrong about the Second Amendment? It sure sounds like we are here. And it’s based on historical facts…
“In 1998, Roger Williams University School of Law professor Carl T. Bogus published a research paper that revealed the true purpose of the Second Amendment, and it was, indeed, meant to keep the federal government from disbanding state militias — and from using such means as a backdoor method of eliminating slavery — rather than from going door to door and grabbing guns.
“In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the ‘slave patrols’ and they were regulated by the states,” Thom Hartmann wrote in 2013. “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,” Hartmann pointed out, quoting Bogus to emphasize his point:
“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.”
In her book, Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas, Sally E. Haden writes that, with the exception of students, judges, legislators, and other “men in critical professions,” nearly every white southern male between 18 and 45 was required to serve on a slave patrol — the state militia — at some point in their lives. While slave rebellions were rare, they were an all-consuming fear to white people in the South.
Hartmann writes that the possibility that the North would disband the militias or invite slaves into military service then emancipate them “worried southerners like James Monroe, George Mason (who owned over 300 slaves) and the southern Christian evangelical, Patrick Henry (who opposed slavery on principle, but also opposed freeing slaves).” At the ratifying convention in Virginia in 1788, Henry was very blunt about his concerns:“If the country be invaded, a state may go to war, but cannot suppress [slave] insurrections [under this new Constitution]. If there should happen an insurrection of slaves, the country cannot be said to be invaded. They cannot, therefore, suppress it without the interposition of Congress . . . . Congress, and Congress only [under this new Constitution], can call forth the militia.”
“In this state,” he said, “there are two hundred and thirty-six thousand blacks, and there are many in several other states. But there are few or none in the Northern States. . . . May Congress not say, that every black man must fight? Did we not see a little of this last war? We were not so hard pushed as to make emancipation general; but acts of Assembly passed that every slave who would go to the army should be free.”
Mason was also fearful that the slave-grabbers would be rendered useless. “The militia may be here destroyed by that method which has been practised in other parts of the world before; that is, by rendering them useless, by disarming them,” he said. “Under various pretences, Congress may neglect to provide for arming and disciplining the militia; and the state governments cannot do it, for Congress has an exclusive right to arm them [under this proposed Constitution] . . . “
But our Caucasian friends of the South were simply paranoid, James Madison pointed out. “I was struck with surprise,” Madison said, “when I heard him express himself alarmed with respect to the emancipation of slaves. . . . There is no power to warrant it, in that paper [the Constitution]. If there be, I know it not.”
“So Madison, who had (at Jefferson’s insistence) already begun to prepare proposed amendments to the Constitution, changed his first draft of one that addressed the militia issue to make sure it was unambiguous that the southern states could maintain their slave patrol militias,” Hartmann writes.
The Second Amendment originally read “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 [emphasis Hartmann’s]: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.” This was not good enough for Henry, Mason, and all others who wanted to maintain their stranglehold on their “property,” who wanted to ensure their slave patrols were independent from the federal government. So, Madison changed the word “country” to “state,” leading to the familiar version of the Second Amendment that conservatives partially quote when supporting their “right” to stock up on weapons and ammunition: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State [emphasis mine], the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Those who insisted that slave patrols be protected under the Constitution surely had no idea that the NRA would militantly fight so hard for individual gun ownership, nor had they any idea that the words of the Second Amendment would be perverted so much as to allow suspected terrorists to buy guns with impunity. They simply wanted to continue to own people.
As terrible and racist as are the roots of the Second Amendment, no one at the time could imagine the horrors that their insistence that the Constitution protect the “right” to own slaves would cause once the ammosexuals of the United States got creative.
No matter what, the Second Amendment is archaic and unnecessary and it is time we examine it more thoroughly.