March 26, 2017

Sina-cism: On guns, what professors ‘know’ just ain’t so

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As a rule, college professors tend not to appreciate firearms.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

But when it comes to the teaching of history and law, they need to put personal feelings aside and arm their students with the truth.

A March 16 gun-control forum at Clark University illustrates exactly how many academics engage in a selective reading of history in order to advance particular viewpoints and interpretations.

Clark Professor of Political Science Mark Miller, commenting on the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), said that decision reflected a rural/urban divide on gun ownership.

And George Washington University professor Lois Schwoerer, author of a major study on the history of firearms in early English history, asserted that when our Founding Fathers set about crafting the Bill of Rights, they didn’t place a lot of emphasis on the English notion of gun control as a way of keeping government subjects unarmed.

In Schwoerer’s view, the amendments that emerged were, as the Telegram & Gazette paraphrased her, “more a way of pleasing opposing viewpoints.”

I am sure both professors understand a lot more about the history of firearms and the Bill of Rights than could be conveyed in a short forum and a still shorter newspaper account, but their views as summarized here are wrong.

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