The Founding Fathers and Gun Violence

By Schuyler Barnum

One of the most common arguments made by anti-gun people who want to abrogate the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights is essentially, "Our Forefathers couldnít have seen the danger of firearms today!" Looking at history, I would have to say that earlier times were in a relative sense more dangerous than today. There are reasons for this:

  1. The police were not armed with firearms until the 1850ís. Therefore anyone with a gun, even a Kentucky rifle, would be better armed than the policemen arrayed against him. Stopping armed and violent criminals was the job of the traditional militia (that is, armed citizens), just as the depredations of the James/Younger Gang was finally stopped by the armed citizens of Northfield, Minnesota in 1876.

  2. People were easier to convince. An uneducated populace is far more dangerous than an educated one. Uneducated persons can more easily be convinced to follow a cause, hence why most revolutions start with the lower class. In this day and age, two shooters in a single situation is a rarity outside of organized crime.

    One of the best examples of where people went on a rampage was Nat Turnerís slave rebellion in 1831, where Turner ("Kill all whites!") and his followers butchered all of the Caucasian people that they could find, regardless of sex or age, with knives, hatchets, axes, and clubs. Before Turner and his followers met resistance at the hands of a citizen militia, 55 men, women and children had been murdered. This makes even Virginia Tech look small by comparison. And they didnít even use guns!

Like all of the anti-gun arguments, the argument that the Founding Fathers couldnít have seen the effect of guns just doesnít work.

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Copyright 2007, 2016 by Schuyler Barnum. All rights reserved.