A Fordham professor folds, spindles, and mutilates colonial-era history to claim that the Founding Fathers supported stringent gun control laws.
One of my Facebook friends was delighted to come across an article from an American History professor at Fordham trumpeting that the Founding Fathers loved gun control, and interpreted the Second Amendment to mean that gun ownership should be subject to draconian government restrictions. According to Saul Cornell, the Founders:
- Required weapons registration
- Prohibited public carry
- Limited stand-your-ground laws to the home
- Mandated safe storage
- Required loyalty oaths to protect weapons
As Cornell sums up his own conclusions, heavy-duty gun regulation was the name of the game for the Founders:
The framers and adopters of the Second Amendment were generally ardent supporters of the idea of well-regulated liberty. Without strong governments and effective laws, they believed, liberty inevitably degenerated into licentiousness and eventually anarchy. Diligent students of history, particularly Roman history, the Federalists who wrote the Constitution realized that tyranny more often resulted from anarchy, not strong government.
I have been researching and writing about the history of gun regulation and the Second Amendment for the past two decades. When I began this research, most people assumed that regulation was a relatively recent phenomenon, something associated with the rise of big government in the modern era. Actually, while the founding generation certainly esteemed the idea of an armed population, they were also ardent supporters of gun regulations.
This sounded wrong to me, since I’ve read verified quotations from the Founders that see individual arms’ possession as an important bulwark against tyranny. If you give the nascent tyrant preemptive control over arms, you’ve vitiated that principle — and encouraged the road to tyranny.
Still, I haven’t done any in-depths studies about the Revolutionary Period so I could be wrong. I therefore turned to my friend and fellow blogger, who knows more about the Revolutionary Period than any person I’ve ever met. For Professor Cornell, as for most academics, Revolutionary history is a job. For Wolf Howling, it’s an overriding passion. I’d trust him on the subject before I’d trust anyone else. Here’s what he wrote me when I put Cornell’s article before him: [Read more…]