FW: FW: [Fwd: LPBR: GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA: THE STRUGGLE FOR CON
TROL byAlexander DeConde]
VOLOKH at MAIL.LAW.UCLA.EDU
Mon Aug 20 19:08:49 PDT 2001
Some excerpts from a response from another list to the Robert Spitzer
book review that had been posted here last week. (Note that the poster is
not disputing the accuracy of Spitzer's Cummings quote, but only pointing
out that Cummings had also said something quite different at another time.)
From: Clayton E. Cramer
Sent: 8/16/01 12:11 AM
Subject: Re: FW: [Fwd: LPBR: GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA: THE STRUGGLE FOR
CONTROL byAlexander DeConde]
> LPBR: GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA: THE STRUGGLE FOR CONTROL by Alexan der
> Yet, the story of gun control in America predates the 1960s.
> Alexander DeConde, emeritus professor of history at the University of
> California, Santa Barbara, describes in his new account of the gun
> America, strict gun laws existed even in colonial America. Also, they
> quickly enacted in newly established frontier towns during the
> century, and they were widely debated in the 1920s and 1930s. One of
> many ironies of the gun issue is that the gun control proposals
> the 1920s and 1930s were more far-reaching than the modest proposals
> have drawn so much political blood in the last two decades. As
> Roosevelt's attorney general, Homer Cummings, said in 1937, "Show me
> who does not want his gun registered, and I will show you a man who
> not have a gun." It is difficult to imagine any attorney general of
> party uttering such a statement today.
. . .
When mandatory gun registration was suggested during the National
Firearms Act Hearings, Cumings's response was straightforward:
"I am afraid it would be unconstitutional."[National Firearms Act,
"Hearings Before The House Committee on Ways and Means", 73rd Cong. 2d
Sess., (1934), 13.]
> were also difficult to come by and that had short shelf lives. During
> Revolutionary War, 80 percent of all firearms and 90 percent of the
> powder had to be imported from France and Holland. In the early
> Secretary of War Henry Knox concluded that only about 20 percent of
> nation's 450,000 militiamen possessed firearms. Of the
> stock of 44,000 muskets, half were inoperable.
Fascinating. In 1806, a Congressional committee concluded that there
were 250,000 guns in the hands of militia, almost all the property
of the militia members. See http://www.claytoncramer.com/1806.jpg.
> onto the Second Amendment. That this effort is picking up steam is
> noted in
> the astounding recent statement by Attorney General John Ashcroft (as
> articulated in a letter to the NRA), who baldly and wrongly stated
> non-militia view of the amendment has been long supported by the
> courts, and by FDR Attorney General Cummings. The fact that these
Cumings's view on this is very clear. During the National Firearms Act
Hearings in 1934, Cummings explained why the National Firearms Act was
constructed in a form similar to the Harrison Anti-Narcotic Act, and how
this form evaded what Rep. Lewis called, "a provision in the
Constitution... about the right to carry firearms":
Attorney General CUMMINGS... If we made a statute absolutely forbidding
any human being to have a machine gun, you might say there is some
constitutional question involved. But when you say, "we will tax the
machine gun" and when you say that "'the absence of a license showing
payment of the tax has been made indicates that a crime has been
perpetrated'", you are easily within the law.
Mr. LEWIS. In other words, it does not amount to prohibition, but
allows of regulation.
Attorney General CUMMINGS. That is the idea. We have studied that very
carefully.[National Firearms Act, 18-19.]
> defense. Ironically, the Second Amendment would only enter the gun
> debate as
> an argument against more gun control in the 1980s. (Even during
> congressional hearings on what became the National Firearms Act of
> representatives of the NRA, including its president, offered extended
> testimony in opposition to the bill before Congress, but in all of
> arguments, they never even mentioned the Second Amendment.)
They may not have. Members of Congress, and Attorney Cummings
did instead. See above. . . .
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