The case against gun control is not necessarily one pondered over pork rinds and canned beer, a scholarly forum on the individuals right to bear arms proved this week.
More than 100 people packed the nonprofit Independent Institutes conference center on Tuesday to hear historian Joyce Lee Malcolm and civil rights attorney Don B. Kates Jr.s arguments in favor of armed citizenry.
The meaning of the U.S. Constitutions Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, is at the center of the gun debate. Those in favor of gun legislation say it allows for state militias to fight federal tyranny, while those against it insist the right is an individual one.
People have always believed in that right, (but) legal interpreters of the 20th century have found a way to misinterpret it, Malcolm said.
Author of To Keep and Bear Arms, Malcolm is currently researching another historical analysis for a forthcoming book, this time by examining the traditions of citizens rights to arm themselves in England. She shared some of her findings at the forum, saying Englands legal conditions were passed on to America through the colonies.
And since England disarmed its people through sweeping laws, violent crime there has increased, with citizens more likely to be robbed and burgled than their American counterparts, Malcolm said.
High-profile shootings of young people, such as those at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., and a church in Fort Worth, Texas, are followed by a media drumbeat to control firearms, Malcolm said.
But the blustery Kates pulled no punches in his assessment of the current efforts , sometimes shocking the crowd.
[The constitutions framers] would be appalled that the people who call themselves liberal today think the military and police should determine who should be armed, Kates said.
Kates pointed out that World War II-era Germany disarmed its citizenry using laws that were put in place after World War I, propelled by revulsion of that bloody wars death toll.
It wasnt the Nazis that put these laws in... It was the dupes who put these laws in and then found themselves being screwed by them, he said.
Kates said gun-control advocates are unreasonable, shunning sensible checks on firearm ownership in favor of outright bans that criminalize law-abiding citizens.
We are blacks in Alabama and the year is 1890, Kates said. We are a discriminated-against class, excluded from justice and subjected to injustice.