Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

The Founders, Not The NRA, Originated The "Myth" ...By Stephen P. Halbrook

Monday, September 11, 2000

Historian Michael Bellesiles has recently attempted to revise history by claiming that few people owned guns at the time the Constitution was written. Basing his work on probate records in limited areas, he then concludes that since few people owned guns the founding fathers couldn`t have intended the Second Amendment to be an individual right. Attorney Stephen P. Halbrook responds to this claim.

Stephen Halbrook is a respected attorney who has successfully argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has written numerous articles and books on the Second Amendment and is a tireless campaigner for the individual right to bear arms. For more information about Halbrook and his writings visit his website at www.stephenhalbrook.com/.

So, argues Michael Bellesiles in Arming America, it was the Great Satan NRA which invented the myth that the Founders were armed and free, when in reality almost no one in those days owned a firearm. For a reality check, what the Founders actually said is superior to inferences piled upon inferences from probate records.

Charles Lee, the influential Revolutionary patriot, wrote in an article published throughout the colonies in 1775: "The yeomanry of America besides infinite advantages over the peasantry of other countries, are accustomed from their infancy to firearms; they are expert in the use of them. Whereas the lower and middle people of England, are, by the tyranny of certain laws, almost as ignorant in the use of a musket, as they are of the ancient Catapulta." (Halbrook, A Right to Bear Arms, Greenwood Press, 1989, p. 11.)

John Zubly`s Great Britain`s Right to Tax . . . By A Swiss (1775), an influential pamphlet in the colonies, heralded the American militiamen`s stand at Lexington against British regulars and deplored General Gage`s tricking of the people of Boston into surrendering some of their arms on a false promise to allow them to depart the city. Zubly noted that "in a strong sense of liberty, and the use of fire-arms almost from the cradle, the Americans have vastly the advantage over men of their rank almost every where else."

And then there is James Madison, who in The Federalist (1788) contended that "the ultimate authority . . . resides in the people alone." Should tyranny emerge, to a regular army of the United States government "would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million citizens with arms in their hands." Alluding to "the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation," Madison continued: "Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." For lots more of the same, see Halbrook, That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right (Oakland, Ca.: Independent Institute, 1994).

Did the Founders live in a fantasy world, or does Michael Bellesiles?

TRENDING NOW
Washington: Another Year – Another Extreme Gun Ban!

Friday, January 14, 2022

Washington: Another Year – Another Extreme Gun Ban!

The legislature only just gaveled in this week and anti-gun legislators and gun control groups couldn’t wait to reintroduce their extreme gun ban legislation - an "assault weapons" ban, Senate Bill 5217.

Washington:  The Hits Keep on Coming as Magazine Ban Pulled to the Senate Floor

Friday, January 14, 2022

Washington: The Hits Keep on Coming as Magazine Ban Pulled to the Senate Floor

On Friday, the Washington Senate pulled magazine ban legislation, Senate Bill 5078 to the Senate Floor where it is eligible for a vote for passage.

What You Need to Know about ATF’s New eForms System

News  

Monday, January 10, 2022

What You Need to Know about ATF’s New eForms System

On December 23, ATF launched a new system for applicants to complete various forms that ATF is responsible for administrating. For most gun owners, this change will primarily impact how applications for firearms regulated under ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Indiana: House Passes Lawful Carry, Sends To Senate

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Indiana: House Passes Lawful Carry, Sends To Senate

Yesterday, the House voted 64-29 to pass House Bill 1077, the lawful carry bill. It will now go to the Senate for further consideration.

Canada, Six Months from “Confiscation Day”

News  

Monday, November 8, 2021

Canada, Six Months from “Confiscation Day”

In early 2020, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his so-called “assault weapon” ban along with a temporary amnesty period that allows the owners of newly-banned firearms to possess their property without incurring criminal liability. Canadians affected ...

Wisconsin: Senate Committee Passes Constitutional Carry

Friday, January 14, 2022

Wisconsin: Senate Committee Passes Constitutional Carry

Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Insurance, Licensing and Forestry voted to pass Senate Bill 619, the constitutional carry bill. It is now eligible for floor debate in the full Senate.

Alabama: Sheriff’s Association Working With Anti-Gun Group Opposing Constitutional Carry

Monday, January 17, 2022

Alabama: Sheriff’s Association Working With Anti-Gun Group Opposing Constitutional Carry

Bobby Timmons, director of the Alabama Sheriff’s Association (ASA), is so opposed to acknowledging your inherent right-to-carry, and wants so badly to protect the revenue stream from permit fees, that he openly opposes the Second ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Maine: Judiciary Committee Rejects Gun Confiscation Measure

Friday, January 14, 2022

Maine: Judiciary Committee Rejects Gun Confiscation Measure

Yesterday, the Judiciary Committee held a work session on gun confiscation legislation carried over from last year.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.