Was the National Rifle Association started to drive out the KKK?

Yesterday, I demonstrated that David Barton incorrectly claimed that Ronald Reagan opposed his press secretary James Brady on gun control. In fact, Reagan advocated for the Brady Bill.

During his appearance with Glenn Beck yesterday, Barton also made another claim that I strongly doubt. About the National Rifle Association, The Blaze cites Barton as making an interesting claim about the founding of the NRA:

In addition, Barton addressed the founding of the NRA. While some like to demonize pro-Second Amendment group and even call it  prejudiced, it turns out the powerful group was in fact started by two Union generals in 1871 as a means to driving out the Ku Klux Klan and ensuring that blacks, who although then-free were not allowed means with which to defend themselves — could in fact legally own a gun.

On the follow video, Barton draws out the story that the NRA rose up because the Southern leaders were not policing the KKK. Begin listening at the beginning of the clip.

If Barton’s claim was true, this would be admirable and perhaps improve the image of the NRA. One would think the NRA would include this fact on their website, as Beck wondered. However, they do not. The NRA history page reads:

Dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops, Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association in 1871. The primary goal of the association would be to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis,” according to a magazine editorial written by Church.

After being granted a charter by the state of New York on November 17, 1871, the NRA was founded. Civil War Gen. Ambrose Burnside, who was also the former governor of Rhode Island and a U.S. Senator, became the fledgling NRA’s first president.

An important facet of the NRA’s creation was the development of a practice ground. In 1872, with financial help from New York state, a site on Long Island, the Creed Farm, was purchased for the purpose of building a rifle range. Named Creedmoor, the range opened a year later, and it was there that the first annual matches were held.

Go read the rest, there is nothing there about the KKK or getting guns in the hands of newly freed slaves. The reason the NRA doesn’t include is probably because there is no evidence for it. At least, I can’t find any evidence in the early charter of the NRA, or the biographies of the founders. Here is what the charter document said about the aim of the NRA (see also this historical summary):

REASONS FOR ITS ORGANIZATION

Although the introduction of the rifle as a military weapon was owing to the lessons of our Revolution, and although our success in the earlier contests of our history depended upon the skill in its use displayed by our ancestors, no recognition has been given by our citizens of the fact that the change which has taken place in the habits of the American people is rapidly depriving them of that personal skill in arms and marksmanship which has hitherto formed one of the greatest elements of our national strength. This is the more to be regretted, as the introduction of long range breech loaders has made this skill of even more importance at the present time; than under the ancient system for not only the conflict between Prussia and Austria, but the more recent French and Prussian contest have demonstrated that the very accuracy and rapidity of fire, which renders these arms so formidable in the hands of trained marksmen, simply results in a waste of ammunition with those unfamiliar with their use, which leaves an army helpless at the decisive moment of battle. Other nations, recognizing these facts, have long since instituted a thorough system of instruction in rifle practice, France, Germany, Switzerland, and above all, England, and Canada unite in giving to rifle practice a leading position in their systems of military training. In the latter countries, the success that has been attained, not only in producing good marksmen, but in making the subject popular among the people at large has been very great. The Wimbledon contests in England are too well known to need description, and 150,000 trained riflemen are a standing proof of their value. So, on our northern border Canada boasts her 40,000 skilled shots, and has her annual Local Provincial and Dominion matches by which their skill is maintained. In this country, on the other hand, the matter has been entirely neglected, although our entire system of defense is based upon the levying of volunteers in cases of emergency, who, to be valuable or even available, must understand the use of arms and supply by their skill as individuals the confidence which discipline gives to regular troops. While England has a system of rifle practice which is required to be annually and thoroughly performed by every soldier in her army whether stationed in India, Australia, or Europe, our War Department has not even enforced the system of Major Willard, adopted in 1862, and sends raw recruits against the Indian hunters of the plains. In the National Guard of New York, and other States, a similar apathy has prevailed so that it has been the rule, not the exception, for a man to serve out his full term of enlistment in their ranks without firing a shot.

FORMATION OF THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION

This anomalous condition of affairs, having excited considerable discussion among military men through the press, finally on November 24 1871 led to the formation in the City of New York of The National Rifle Association, which was designed and bids fair to be the parent of many similar associations throughout the country.

Shorter NRA history: Northern Americans were bad shots and the founders of the NRA wanted to improve the situation. The NRA established a rifle range and shooting contests in order to achieve their goals. The founding document made this clear:

AIMS OF THE ASSOCIATION

The main aim of the Association is the encouragement of rifle practice throughout this State and the United States.

They also desire to promote the establishment of ranges throughout the State, and the issue of ammunition, target, and other appurtenances required for their use with offering of prizes both by the State, and by individuals, to the best marksmen. They also seek to build up local of a similar character to their own, which while under official supervision to ensure then proper, yet will be so popular in their character as to secure success.

I have looked through early NRA annual reports, biographies of the founders, and other documents looking for any support for Barton’s claim. Any reference  to the claim on the web is unsourced. If Barton has a source for his claim, he should bring it up.

One nagging uncertainty in this relates to the role of rifle clubs in South Carolina during the campaign for governor in 1876. Wade Hampton and Daniel Chamberlin squared off and eventually both declared victory. Hampton was a Confederate general who was aided by white “rifle clubs” throughout the state. On the other hand, the state armed black militias and some were in rifle clubs of their own. What is not clear yet to me is the affiliation of those rifle clubs. They all may have been local with none affiliated with the NRA. In fact, I can’t find any of the names of the SC clubs in the NRA annual reports, leading me to think that the NRA had nothing to do with either arming blacks or disarming them.

In any case, Barton’s claim is that the NRA arose to drive out the KKK. Currently, I see nothing to corroborate that claim. If anything surfaces, of course I will update this post.

 

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  • ken

    “Barton also made another claim that I strongly doubt.”

    At this point Warren, I’m beginning to doubt that his name is really David Barton :)

  • David Cary Hart

    Warren, you are becoming immersed in Barton-World. The claim was preposterous per se and therein lies the frustration. As Arlen Specter observed Barton’s “pseudoscholarship would hardly be worth discussing, let alone disproving, were it not for the fact that it is taken so very seriously by so many people.”

    Years ago, I wrote a piece in a business journal about the demise of intellectual curiosity which, I asserted, was the engine of critical thinking. I’ll spare you the full dissertation but today’s educators seem to have different priorities. It shows.

  • PUMAbydesign001
    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      PUMAbydesign – This relates to the 1950s, not the 1870s. Note that I am only contesting the claim that the NRA was started in order to counteract the KKK.

  • ken

    PUMAbydesign001 says:

    January 18, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Had Barton said “The NRA has helped blacks in the South defend themselves from the KKK” your link would have been an excellent example of that. However, that isn’t what Barton said.

  • Gregory Peterson

    It’s difficult to believe that an organization founded and lead by famous Union Generals would have been popular with the KKK, and vice versa. However, the KKK was forced by the Federal government to disband at the same time the NRA was founded.

    That included Pres. Grant who became the NRA’s president in 1883. His administration had more or less forced the KKK to disband. Unfortunately, the KKK was replaced by racist paramilitary organizations like the White League and the Red Shirts, which were instrumental in establishing Jim Crow and lynch law rule after the premature end of Reconstruction by Pres. Hayes. Pres. Grant, in 1874, sent troops to quell the White League in Louisiana. Pres. Hayes apparently did not do as Pres. Grant did. (From the excessively handy Wikipedia)

    So, while the NRA very likely wasn’t founded to counter the KKK as Mr. Burton claims (the Federal Government did that the same year the NRA was founded), there is reason to believe that it wouldn’t have been a friend of the racist paramilitary organizations that replaced it.

    But times change. I’m confident that the present day NRA would not endorse the present day, still proudly racist KKK (what national organization would?), but at least one KKK organization endorses the NRA.

    “The Knight Riders ( “AKA” Georgia Knight Riders), Knights Of The Ku Klux Klan Officially Endorses The NRA and Supports all Their efforts to Protect Our Second Amendment Rights. God Bless Us All in our time of need.”

    I can’t bring my self to include the link… but that should be enough info to find it if you need to footnote it for some reason.

    With friends like that, perhaps the present day NRA leadership should meditated upon its present day actions.

    Frederick Sparks has an interesting editorial on the present day NRA.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/blackskeptics/2012/12/20/the-nra-the-kkk-and-the-2nd-amendments-black-history/

  • Mandy

    Good greif ya’ll learn your history as it was the democrats who founded the KKK to counter the blacks who started Republicans party with 140 congress blacks andand 20 whites congress.Their names were put on a baseball size card. As target to kill to keep black voters from voteing Republicans.The congress republicans were murdered by the KKK .Blacks were threatren to live is to vote democrats and had to pledge that they will stay ..to die was to. Not vote.they were threatren.The KKk and the black panthers are togethere as time went democrats,KKk and the black panthners ployed as KKK would burn crossess in yards of blacks and meddia pick it. Up as the blank panthner stayed on the side lines.and after they all danced together.No white suits all had a great party time.who did they attack ? Black republicans houses why? To then hear the media play the agenda as again the KKK attacks.Look at 2008 KKK who came out and supported Obama 5 of them stood in their nasty suits. On national tv and said that they endorsed Obama.Look up the history of the democrats founded the KKK of the blacks speaking out of the evil nasty democrats.

  • Boo

    “The KKk and the black panthers are togethere as time went democrats,KKk and the black panthners ployed as KKK would burn crossess in yards of blacks and meddia pick it. Up as the blank panthner stayed on the side lines.and after they all danced together.”

    Then they had a hotdog eating contest, and after that came the tug-of-war. Face painting and henna tattoos were optional. The kettle corn was delicious!

  • michael einhaus

    The question, deftly avoided by you Mr. College Professor, is not whether the NRA was started for the purpose of arming freed slaves, but whether in fact they defended the rights of freed slaves to possess arms, and whether the NRA actively assisted in training freed slaves in the use of firearms.

    Why don’t you answer that question? That is what is relevant.

    signed,

    a Concerned College Professor

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      Michael Einhaus, CCP

      I did not avoid the question. If Barton had claimed that the NRA actively assisted in training freed slaves then I would have framed my post in that manner. Odd that you would expect me to address something not claimed.

      On the point you raise, I can’t find any evidence that the NRA had anything to say about slaves and guns during their early days. The organizational leaders were caught up in developing shooting tournaments in imitation of the British organization by the same name.

      Former slaves were armed during the reconstruction period but by the federal government. I can’t find any evidence that the NRA had anything to do with arming blacks.

      The early leaders were not blameless in their deportment regarding slaves. For instance, Burnside captured two free blacks and had them jailed because he thought they were runaway slaves. Wingate did not allow blacks to play baseball in the youth leagues he set up in NYC.

      So CCP, do you have any evidence you would like to share?

      • Leonard Bryant

        Yes I would. In the 1950s, a branch of the NRA was started in Monroe, NC by the leader of the local NAACP to quell the violence that was aimed at blacks by the Klan. PBS actually ran a story on it. Google it. You will find it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

          For the zillionth time, we are not talking about the 1950s. Read the comments, this has been discussed. Mr. Ehline apparently doesn’t have any documentation about the founding of the NRA, and Mr. Bryant, you are not addressing the issue raised by the post.

  • ken

    michael einhaus says:

    January 21, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    “Why don’t you answer that question? ”

    Because that wasn’t the issue Warren was addressing. He was demonstrating that Barton was, once again, twisting historical facts to support his (Barton’s) political views.

    Also, Warren did acknowledge there were rifle clubs that did help to arm freed slaves. He said he found no evidence that these clubs were affiliated with the NRA. If you have verifiable evidence that they were, I’m sure Warren would be happy to acknowledge that. But again, that really wasn’t the point of this article.

  • michael einhaus

    Well, i would have thought that the issue was whether the so-called purpose of arming freed slaves was ever acted upon; in other words, whether or not the NRA was concerned with this right being deprived to freed slaves.

    Whether or not that was the purpose is kind of irrelevant except in pointing to that fact. If the NRA had been founded for that purpose and never acted for the sake of it, then they deserve no credit for the good intention. If the NRA had not been founded for that purpose, but did serve that purpose, then it is not all that important whether or not they had such a purpose or not.

    The KKK gets no credit for non-malevolent intentions even though it was founded as a kind of fraternity of Confederate soldiers because they quickly turned into terrorists. See my point? Probably not. Anyhow, you found no evidence one way or the other about the truth of the claim, surmising that since it is not mentioned then it must not be true. Not really good scholarship,

  • Dave

    @ michael einhaus … So if one finds no evidence of something then good scholarship is to assume that it must be true either because you have randomly thought of it or because David Barton says so? Wow .. Such logic opens one up to all sorts of guess work with or without David Barton to champion it on.

    Dave

    • Michael Ehline

      The article is pretty much a hack job. The NRA in fact, actively assisted blacks in making it possible for them to defend themselves against the democrats/KKK. The democrats basically have kept blacks on the plantation with the Great Society. The piece itself is an example of liberal reporting at its best or worst, depending on your sense of honesty.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

        Michael – Since you are obviously not a hack, could you be so kind as to provide primary source documentation of your claims?

        • ken

          I’m betting his sources turn out to be the NRA story from the 1950s/60s.

          any takers :)?

        • Michael Ehline

          Sure, but your sources were all NRA. You just omitted to do any research outside some NRA documentation. So why should I not also use NRA resources as well?

          • Warren

            I did do research outside the NRA. As noted I read the biographies of the founders; nothing. Since then I have read several historical treatments of the KKK and some histories of gun clubs in the South; nothing. I don’t know what you mean when you say you use NRA resources? Where does the NRA say they were founded for the purpose of fighting the KKK, or arming blacks.

            BTW, the video where Barton made his claim has been removed.

  • Mr. College Professor

    I haven’t found any evidence that Michael Einhaus likes to set fires in pet stores, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

  • ken

    michael einhaus says:

    January 22, 2013 at 12:38 am

    “Well, i would have thought that the issue was whether the so-called purpose of arming freed slaves was ever acted upon; ”

    then your reading skills are pretty atrocious, esp. for someone who is a college professor.

    “Whether or not that was the purpose is kind of irrelevant except in pointing to that fact.”

    No it isn’t irrelevant. Had this been a one-time mistake, where someone misunderstood NRA support for freed slaves (or even just supporting blacks curing the civil rights movement) with the purpose of their founding, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal. However, Barton has repeatedly distorted historical facts to serve his own agenda, all while claiming to be an expert in history. And rather than go after Warren for pointing this out, why don’t you ask Barton to either provide evidence of his claim (one of the “reasons the NRA was founded was so blacks could defend themselves”) or admit he made a mistake?

  • michael einhaus

    This site is great! I love the chance to exercise my atrocious reading skills, which, it turns out, are not as atrocious as yours.

    Here’s a site you can go to and see a portion of a book called: “Negroes with Guns” in which an NRA member is credited with providing vital assistance to Southern Blacks in defending themselves against the KKK:

    http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?ID=2960

    Now, I am not an historian (neither are you by the way), so I can’t judge this qua history. Nor is it written by a historian. But assuming it is true, the NRA does to a certain extent get credit for this.

    And to me it is far more interesting and relevant to the image of the NRA than the futile eternity you spend trying to show that this claim is false: The NRA was founded to stop the KKK.

    You are never able to show it is false, and end up saying stuff like, well, it isn’t mentioned in this place or that. But still, you proved nothing. If you were trying to fact check something, you did a terrible job of doing anything but raise a doubt.

    Now, my freshmen composition students often spar at length with a statement that is not that significant, and in the process, show nothing, or at least nothing of value. That is what you were doing. So then I offered this:

    ““Well, i would have thought that the issue was whether the so-called purpose of arming freed slaves was ever acted upon; ”

    I did not mean that this was the issue you were discussing. But that is how you took my point: which is why you expressed such concern at my “atrocious” reading skills.. But you were the one who couldn’t tell what I was talking about. I thought that the issue you brought up raised an interesting question: did the NRA help arm freed Southern Blacks. However your atrocious reading skills and obvious agenda prevented you from reading for my meaning.

    As I tried to explain, if the NRA had assisted in this regard, that would be significant and worthy of credit regardless of Barton’s probably inflated claim that they were founded for that purpose. And if they didn’t, if wouldn’t matter at all that they were founded for that purpose.. By that comment I was trying to get you to think: what has the NRA really done for blacks. That seems to me to be a good question.

    Now we know that there was at least one proud NRA member who in fact did this.

    Article quoted below in case link doesn’t work:

    (Deleted as unnecessarily long – the link works)

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    michael – I agree, your reading skills are atrocious. You read things that aren’t there. My post is about the 1870s, not the 1960s.

    You also seem to think that this post is about the virtues or lack thereof of the NRA. Again, wrong. I am not arguing about the NRA and race. I agree that the work they did with blacks in the 1960s was helpful. I wasn’t writing about that.

  • ken

    Michael,

    I’d say your attention span isn’t very good either since Warren had already pointed out the significant time difference between your reference and what he was talking about.

  • Albert

    While the NRA was not founded to fight off the KKK, the NRA was instrumental in setting up black chapters in the south. Civil rights and NAACP leader Robert Williams applied for a charter in 1960 so that he could defend his community against the klan. The NRA supported these efforts, granted the charter, supplied him with firearms and training materials, and they were able to defend themselves against a klan mob.

  • ken

    Albert says:

    February 21, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    “While the NRA was not founded to fight off the KKK, the NRA was instrumental in setting up black chapters in the south.”

    Yes, and if Barton had used that fact as his argument against gun control, Warren wouldn’t have created this thread. However, instead, Barton, once again, distorted history to support his own political agenda. And I suspect that the NRA’s helping blacks during the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s is the basis that Barton got mixed up and attributed to the found of the NRA. I don’t think he deliberately lied about it. I think he just remembered something about the NRA help blacks against the klan and just made the rest up.

  • Sean

    The professor took you to school. Well done professor.

  • evelroad

    If the NRA had been formed to arm or in anyway help freed slaves, it would be a marketing coup inhe current political climate. I am not a historian, just an interested layperson, who has read a few books about the Civil War and Reconstruction. I figure go to the source, in this case the NRA I have not found any official claim by the NRA that supports Mr. Barton’s assertion. As far as I can tell the NRA was formed to improve marsmanship. I am not a member of th NRA, nor do I support some of their political goals. I do believe in their mission to provide gun safety courses.

  • Paul

    As shown by C-SPAN, Reagan’s support of the Brady Bill was a reversal of the position he had taken all during his Presidency, which I also recalled as a staunch supporter of Reagan: As C-SPAN summarized in a 1991 speech he made before the medical providers who rescued him from the assassination attempt: “President Reagan said a seven day waiting period was “just plain common sense,” and effectively reversed his position against gun control that he had held during his presidency.”?

    It is my understanding that Nancy Reagan had been pushing him to change, and once he ultimately was out of the Presidency, he did not have any political repercussions for switching his view. Disappointing for a conservative but an understandable position for an assassin victim. And note he also was less than a year before his mental demise was diagnosed and accelerated.

  • rhonda edwards

    i say these men did the research others refuse to do

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk46HZzuG48

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      rhonda – Those men cited no evidence for their claim. If they did any research, they didn’t cite it or refer to it. See the post, there is no evidence for the claim. If they have some or you know of any, please cite it.

  • ken

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find out their source was Barton.

  • Chris Lamke

    Warren,

    Thank you for looking into this. I first heard about this today from a man on Twitter (no surprise) and was interested. I couldn’t find anything on it but you went to the relevant NRA source documents and I appreciate your effort.

  • Susan Nation

    As Shakespeare often quoted, much ado about nothing. Upon passage of the 13, 14, and 15th amendment (which abolished slavery in the US and granted immediate citizenship) – African Americans and other minorities became property owners, including possessing land, property, etc. and the 2nd amendment rights of gun ownership. Prior to that, the military ordinance granting guns to the 54th Massachusetts Battalion by Sec of War Stanton was the first step toward federal mandates of citizenship. How minorities manifested that right is numerous. In Georgia, under reconstruction they were allowed guns into the state legislature although not in the chambers itself. In the 1960s, Malcolm X and Carmichael carried guns on their person. Interestingly, the Rev Martin Luther King Jr forbade guns among his advocates while marching yet was not opposed to self defense – he was opposed to those individuals and groups that created a climate of violence thus forcing a person to make decisions that obviously they would not prefer to make – we can look at these hate groups race neutral as they incorporated all races.

  • Susan Nation

    Dr. Throckmorton opposition to gun ownership is not a study/law of human behavior, simply a personal opinion. There are reams of research on violence and behavior globally. Here are the facts: an individual or group of individuals moved to violence (whether justifiable or not) will use any implement to defend or harm another. Examples: a lamp, a bucket, the edge of a broken plate, a shovel, etc… To protect or harm a group utilizes other means such as guns, clubs, biological deterrents (viruses, gas, poisons), etc…but at question is the intent of the group, not the means.

    Margaret Meade’s study of two pacific islands is the perfect forum of debate. One island maintained law, the other maintained leadership. The island manifesting a desire for law was more content and prosperous. The other island dominated by leaders manifested arbitrary commands and more violent to the point of cruelty.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      Susan – Thanks for stopping by.

      However, your comments don’t directly address the post. First, you are making assumptions, I think, about my position on gun control and the 2nd Amendment. I am a moderate on this issue and I favor about what the NRA did in the 1930s. This post does not take any position on gun control laws.

      What is at issue, and where I disagree with your assessment that Barton’s statements are much ado about nothing, is the nature of Barton’s comments on history. Creating or repeating a fiction is something an historian should never do. Glenn Beck wondered aloud why the NRA didn’t use the story about the NRA fighting the KKK. The reason? There is no proof for the contention. Even if you reject all restrictions on arms, you should want the debate to be informed by truth and not fiction.

      What I don’t understand about Barton’s followers is why they are so reluctant to even consider that he might be wrong.

  • Robert

    Warren,

    To finish my point. I believe some are confused. The NRA did charter NRA Chapters in Black communities during the 1950′s,( I believe that was the timeframe ) to combat the KKK. I grew up in the deep South in the 1940′s thru the 1960′s. I do know that virtually all Southern Govenors, Police, Sheriffs and, all the KKK that I knew/suspected, were Democrats. Again, I suggest you read “NEGROS WITH GUNS”. Apparently, the NRA did support Blacks against the KKK in troubled times and that’s what counts. Thank you for your article.

    Robert

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      Robert – There is no dispute about the time period you refer to. I am familiar with the Negroes with Guns book. However, that is not what this post is about. It is about the founding of the NRA, nothing more.

  • Robert

    Warren,

    The first part of my comment seems to have been lost in ‘space’ so, I’ll compress it. Before you by the book, you can read excerpts from it in a blog by Jim Hoft, dated 3 Dec 2012, at thegatewaypundit.com titled “Sorry Libs….The NRA Was There to Help Blacks Defend From KKK Democrats, Not the Other Way Around”.

    Robert

  • ken

    Robert says:

    April 1, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    “Apparently, the NRA did support Blacks against the KKK in troubled times and that’s what counts. ”

    However, that isn’t the issue (did the NRA help blacks against the KKK). the issue is did Barton, once again, distort the historical record to advance his own political cause? If Barton simply confused the support of the 1950s with the reasons for the NRA’s founding (Barton does seem to have some odd need to shape the “founding principles” to his view), then why doesn’t he just admit that?

  • Robert

    First, I am no defender of Barton. I did not know he was involved until I read the above blog. My first info of any connection between Blacks, NRA and, the KKK was a video of Black conservative leaders defending the NRA on the issue of gun control. I am simply trying to find TRUTH, not political agenda.

    Secondly, I know that there are Racist in all Races. Many of the things that are seeing the light of day (today) happened decades ago in Democrat (Progressive/Liberal) controlled (from stem to stern) States and, it was Republicans, Jews and, organizations like the NRA that stood up for minorities.

    Thirdly, the issue is not when or why the NRA was founded. The issue is, has the NRA defended the Rights of Americans? Notice there is no expression of Race in that question. The Dem/Lib/Prog bunch are trying to portray the NRA as a White Racist bunch of anti-minority whackos. Not true. Let’s us, you and me, get the bigots out of the discussion and we can solve the problem.

    Forth, why should piss-ant politicians like Diane Finestein (conceiled carry permit holder) and, other politicians, like Harry Reid, Bohner, McCain, ad infinatium be allowed to carry and be surrounded by armed security and, you and I should not be allowed to choose the weapon, of our choice, to protect our selves/family/home and, house from indurders? Be they robbers, rapeist, murders or, the government? If you do not know what our Founding Fathers said about an armed citizenry and the government, research it yourself, you might learn something.

    Fifth, neither you nor I, can legislate against sick, whacko, terroist/thugs that are intent on evil. None of them give a damn about the law and only a fraction of a percent of them buy guns at Gun Shows.

    Sixth, I did not intend to get upon a stump for ‘gun rights’. Please forgive me.

    Seventh, just to let you know, I grew-up in the DEEP South during the worst times of recent race relations in Americian history, in the passed one -hundred years. There was only a very razor thin boundry between my family and the Black community and, I was raised that the Black Man was as good as me and, may well be better. And, I could go on and on about my life experiences but, this is not the forum for that.

    Eighth, I do not care what your position on ‘gun control’ is, I spent over thirty years of my life in the U.S. Military to defend your rights to believe whatever you want to believe. My only point in beginning this dialog was to BEG that WE (all of us) get POLITICS and RACE out of the gun issue and, sit down TOGETHER and try to solve the GOD DAMN PROBLEM!! More laws will solve nothing if we do not. Please pardon my language.

    Robert

  • Father Z+

    Wow! It’s been awhile since I’ve seen so many people respond to something a blog entry DIDN’T say. Susan Nation is a fine case in point– she managed to cite multiple amendments to the Constitution which she said made African-Americans property owners, which not only had nothing to do with whether or not David Barton misspoke when he stated that the NRA was founded in order to provide blacks protection against the Ku Klux Klan, but also was factually incorrect. At most, the Constitutional changes made it possible for blacks to own property– it certainly didn’t provide them with ownership!

    [Her other argument is equally specious-- the fact that, denied access to semi-automatic rifles with large calibre magazines, determined murderers will find a way to kill anyway does not mean that they will kill anything like as many people. If the young man who killed all the school children in Connecticut had only had access to "a lamp, a bucket, the edge of a broken plate, a shovel, etc.," there would have been many fewer children killed. And... I have no idea what Meade's case study regarding two not-particularly-pacific groups of Islanders had to do with her own argument, let alone yours. It sounds as if the island group better able to regulate firearms if it chose did far better than the more libertarian group.]

    I feel sorry for Michael Einhaus’ freshman comp students– their instructor seems incapable of recognizing the topic of a brief essay disputing an argument made by a third person. His inability to tell 1871 from 1957 is perhaps proof that he is, as he admits, not an historian (although he does use ‘qua’ correctly… must have been an English major!).

    My favorite of your correspondents has to be the most recent other than myself. In Robert’s case, we can’t argue that he didn’t understand the point that you were making, in that he was willing to tell you that, in the entry you wrote in your own blog, you had the wrong subject. “The issue is not when or why the NRA was founded,” he states. Well, Robert, I’m afraid that that is precisely the issue. This isn’t a blog post about the NRA– it’s a blog post about whether or not David Barton was correct in insisting that the NRA was founded to assist blacks protect themselves from the Klan during Reconstruction. Barton says it was; the NRA’s own records state otherwise. That IS the topic. If you want to write about a different topic, start your own blog. [And I really deplore the "I'm retired military" argument-- speaking as a retired Navy/Marine Corps officer.]

    Dr. Throckmorton, I am sorry that your blog entry got so remarkably sidetracked by folks with their own axes to grind (a microcosm of your experience with ‘I Do Exist’, perhaps?). It provides an interesting psychological insight into how people read and respond to writings only loosely connected to their ‘hot’ issues, though, and so even if Mr. Barton has proven impervious to such minor details as the factual record, I like to think that you have still benefitted… and arguably, this could provide the kernel for some student’s thesis someday! [And should you have two students seeking thesis topics, I'd love to see a study on political/social stances and the quality of the grammar in blog comments. I have my suspicions, mind you, but hypotheses aren't proofs...]

    Cheers!

    FCZ+

  • D M Bishop
    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      As I believe is discussed before, there is no evidence for this claim. The pastors in the video offer none, but instead make claims without evidence. No one has provided any evidence.

  • bart

    While African Americans were being terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan, where the Klan were sometimes aided by local law enforcement, the NRA setup charters to help train local African American communities to be able protect themselves. The most prominent case being in 1960 in Monroe, N.C. where the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People head Robert Williams also chartered an NRA Rifle Club that successully defended an assault on one of their leader’s homes by the KKK without casualties.

  • ken

    bart says:

    April 29, 2013 at 11:47 am

    The NRA helping in the 1950s and 60s has already been noted here. No one here is disputing that happened. However, those incidents are about 90 years too late to support Barton’s claim about the founding of the NRA (in the 1870s).

  • Eric

    Robert says:

    April 2, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    “… Many of the things that are seeing the light of day (today) happened decades ago in Democrat (Progressive/Liberal) controlled (from stem to stern) States and, it was Republicans, Jews and, organizations like the NRA that stood up for minorities.”

    Democrats of that time weren’t Liberals or Progressives, they were what we would today consider to be CONSERVATIVES (Pro-”States Rights”, Anti Federal government, Pro Prayer in School, Flying the Confederate flag, etc.).

    Republicans were Abolitionists and were considered LIBERALS and were HATED by the Confederacy and the KKK. (Hence, Southerners calling those that stood up for the rights of southern blacks, “Northern Liberal Yankees” or the KKK’s well known hatred for the “Liberal Jew”.)

    Those southern states that were “controlled (from stem to stern)” by Democrats at that time weren’t “Liberals”. (Just calling someone a “liberal” in the South was fighting words!) If you can find a southern elected Democratic politician who called himself a “Proud Liberal” prior to 1970, I’d be shocked. (In the future, here’s a BIG clue if you want to find out someone’s political ideology: Liberals don’t fight to fly the battle flag of the Confederacy over Southern statehouses, or wear them on trucker’s caps or t-shirts… CONSERVATIVES do.)

    Sorry, but this is one of my pet peeves. It infuriates me that Americans don’t seem to know their own history. (Or maybe they just choose to ignore it?)

  • Country Dave

    Well, it seems to me that the two Generals were talking about Union soldiers being unable to shoot straight, not Confederate soldiers.

  • Warren

    Bottom line Mr. Ehline, do you have any documentation?


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