Abolition and Gun Control?

By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

Over the weekend America was struck with what has been claimed as its deadliest mass shooting.  With almost 50 people killed and another 50 injured at the night club Pulse in Orlando, Florida.

In a recently published article by Rebecca Onion on slate.com, Onion sits down with Manisha Sinha, author of The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition.  Here the two women sit-down and talk about parallels between the abolitionist movement in the mid 19th century and the current gun control movement. What can be learned from the abolitionists to assist those looking for gun control reform?

Sinha, a professor of history at UMass Amherst, describes the national thought on slavery leading up to the Civil War, as being apart of American culture, that some thought even though slavery was wrong, it was enshrined in the Constitution. Sinha continues to say there are people today that see gun laws and gun control the same way.  Professor Sinha disagrees with this idea arguing that the reason for the Second Amendment was to protect against the British Army in a country with no standing army.

What does Manisha Sinha believe people today can learn from abolitionists? We need political action for stricter gun control rather than “hand-wringing.”  She also concludes by saying “gun control doesn’t have to be the defining part [of the Democratic Party platform], but it has to be defining part.”  According to the PewResearch Center, a majority of the population agrees with Sinha on stricter gun laws. Sinha points to Lincoln’s and the Republican Party platform of non extension as a successful reference.   What do you think is needed to bring an end to the violence?

Click here to read Rebecca’s full interview with Professor Sinha.


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