Politifact Debunks David Barton’s NRA Origin Story

In January of this year, David Barton told Glenn Beck’s audience that part of the reason the National Rifle Association got started in 1871 was to help newly freed blacks defend themselves after the civil war. Watch Barton at 1:30 in this clip.

In addition to Barton, Harry Alford, president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, made a similar claim at a press conference in support of the NRA. Alford is the first speaker:

Earlier this month, the fact checking group Politifact.com investigated the matter and gave it their “Pants on Fire” designation which means there is no support for the claim.

I was surprised to read in the Politifact article that my post on the subject was actually offered by Alford’s wife as evidence in favor of the claim. In fact, I believe the claim to be false and provided reasons in the post. Since Alford did not offer Barton as a source, I am now wondering if Barton got his information from Alford. In any case, there is no primary source evidence for the claim and Politifact judged it accordingly.

  • William Birch

    Facts are funny little things.

    • ken

      What is funny is how many people think that facts are subjective.

  • Patrocles

    I suppose that Barton relies on the article which Dave Kopel et alii wrote about Ambrose Burnside 2004, in a series about NRA Presidents.

    Kopel et alii wrote:

    “Today, bigots such as Michael Moore spread lies attempting to link

    the National Rifle Association with the Ku Klux Klan—a terrorist

    organization that attempted to undo the results of the Civil War by keeping blacks in a state of de facto slavery. To the contrary, the NRA was founded by Union officers who aimed to protect American liberty by fostering voluntary training in the use of arms.”

    (http://www.davekopel.com/2A/Mags/Burnside.pdf)

    Of course, Kopel et alii fall short from pretending a direct connexion between the NRW and black rifle groups. But a superficial reading would suggest such a connexion.

    The story was retold by the Frederick Douglass Society in Febr. 2013, as far as I see, without reference to Barton. The story may have become popular under black members of the NRA at any time between 2004 and 2012.

  • Nelson

    It is quite amazing that the facts belie the purported history that is being proposed by the far right. There are so many proponents of this false history that you’d think that it was true, yet on checking the history anyone can find that it’s just not so. The surprising thing is that a religion that prizes the truth is now awash in people who not only prevaricate on a continuous basis but even have justification for the lying by calling it, “lying for Jesus.”

  • Nelson

    It is quite amazing that the facts belie the purported history that is being proposed by the far right. There are so many proponents of this false history that you’d think that it was true, yet on checking the history anyone can find that it’s just not so. The surprising thing is that a religion that prizes the truth is now awash in people who not only prevaricate on a continuous basis but even have justification for the lying by calling it, “lying for Jesus.”

  • John Vreeland

    On the other hand, during the days of the Black Panther movement in California the NRA came out in favor of gun control in order to shut down the idea of an organized negro militia.

  • Peter

    I’m pretty sure Politifact is pretty biased. The 2010 “lie of the year” was that the government was not taking over health care. The last time I checked that isn’t a lie at all! I personally know a girl who was fined $2,000 when she filed taxes this year because she doesn’t have healthcare. If the government is fining people for not having it, then it means they are in charge of it…..i.e. running it. So, Politifact is the LAST place I would go for the truth.

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

      The government has always had the power to tax. Taking over healthcare would mean they make the decisions about the kind of treatment patients receive and a host of other things. I just had open heart surgery in Sept 2012; nobody from the gubmint showed up at my hospital.

    • ken

      Peter says:

      June 25, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      “I personally know a girl who was fined $2,000 when she filed taxes this year because she doesn’t have healthcare. ”

      Really, this year? Even though the individual mandate provision doesn’t take effect until 2014? but she was fined on her 2012 taxes for the maximum amount.?


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