David Barton’s book The Jefferson Lies may be the most appropriately titled book ever written, as it was packed full of lies. And he continues to add new ones to the list. Warren Throckmorton catches yet another one, and as usual it’s Barton taking one tiny little nugget of truth, ignoring everything else and both distorting and exaggerating its meaning. On his radio show, he said that Jefferson would have approved of conceal carry being allowed on college campuses because he included gun instruction at the University of Virginia:
Barton: I gotta tell you, this happened just this week. We’re always looking through original documents, finding new things. It’s kind of like the Bible, the BIble describes itself as unsearchable to get to the bottom of all of the knowledge that’s there. Just this week, in looking at Jefferson and the University of Virginia, ’cause we’ve dealt with that in the book Jefferson Lies, going through that looking at what he did in teaching religion there. But we also found Jefferson, at the University of Virginia, required that every single student go through gun exercises at the University of Virginia. If you’re going to go to his university, you’re going to have to know how to use the gun, learn how to use the gun. You had to know how to be militia, they took you through military exercises as well. That’s kinda like an ROTC program; every single student. And I thought, you know, we’re talking about here in Texas, doing something like campus carry or something else. Wouldn’t that drive the liberals crazy to find that Jefferson required every student on campus to go through gun training and guns and use guns and etc.
But as Throckmorton points out, students were actually forbidden from having weapons on the University of Virginia campus. The “substitutes in the form of arms” — that is, fake guns — were used for the training, which was for the purpose of physical exercise. And they were owned by the school, not the student. So the reality is, in fact, the exact opposite of what Barton claims. Jefferson explicitly and emphatically did not allow guns on the campus of the university he founded.
Like Dispatches on Facebook: