I’m sure it will come as a tremendous shock to you all that the indispensable Chris Rodda has, yet again, caught David Barton flagrantly lying about American history. Barton claimed on the Glenn Beck show that gun accidents didn’t happen during the founding period of the country because kids were all taught how to use guns.
Barton then proceeded to pull out a few letters from the founders to prove that using guns was a usual part of education back in the founding era. He first quoted a few lines from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to his fifteen-year-old nephew in which Jefferson told his nephew to take a two hour break from his studies every day to exercise. The exercise that Jefferson recommended was long walks, and he told his nephew to take his gun with him on his walks. This letter is neither here nor there. It says nothing about teaching the use of guns being part of school. All it says is that Jefferson thought that walking and shooting were good ways to exercise and “relax the mind,” and recommended them to his nephew over “games played with the ball, and others of that nature,” which he warned were “too violent for the body, and stamp no character on the mind.”
She also points out that when Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, he forbid students to carry guns or any weapon of any kind, even sticks:
“No student shall, within the precincts of the University, introduce, keep or use any spirituous or vinous liquors, keep or use weapons or arms of any kind, or gunpowder, keep a servant, horse or dog, appear in school with a stick, or any weapon …”
There’s more to it as well, including distorting by omission a letter from John Quincy Adams.
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