Nine of the NRA’s first 10 presidents fought against slavery |

Nine of the NRA’s first 10 presidents fought against slavery

Regarding the recent letters to the editor from Mr. Hunter and Mr. Boyle over the Second Amendment right to bear arms, an historical perspective is beneficial. (FYI, I am not a member of the NRA.)

In 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the worst case in its history with the Dred Scott Decision. In this ruling, the Supreme Court decided that African Americans were not citizens and therefore do not have the constitutional right to “Keep and carry arms wherever they went.”

Here is a direct quote from SCOTT V. STANFORD: “It would give persons of the Negro race … the right to enter every other state whenever they pleased … to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased … the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.”

The NRA was founded shortly after the Civil War by Union Army officers who were appalled by the lack of shooting skills among the Union soldiers during the war and determined to correct this problem by encouraging marksmanship among the general population, including former slaves in the former slave states. This made the NRA very unpopular by the Ku Klux Klan. Northern white liberals and clergy funded the NRA to purchase rifles and ammunition for the newly freed slaves under Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The rifles were used by newly freed slaves to protect their homes and families from the lynching mobs of the KKK and Dixie-Crats.

Former U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant, who enacted the 1871 law declaring the Ku Klux Klan to be an illegal terrorist organization, was elected president of the National Rifle Association in 1883. Nine of the NRA’s first 10 presidents had fought against slavery during the Civil War. Including, Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock, and Gen. Phillip Sheridan.

Carl L. McWilliams


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