Freedmen, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Right to Bear Arms, 1866-1876
Whether newly-freed slaves could be trusted to own firearms was in great dispute in 1866, and the ramifications of this issue reverberate in today's gun-control debate. This is the only comprehensive study ever published on the intent of the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment and of Reconstruction-era civil rights legislation to protect the right to keep and bear arms. Indeed, this is the most detailed study ever published about the intent of the Fourteenth Amendment to incorporate and to protect from state violation any of the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, even including free speech. Paradoxically, the Second Amendment is virtually the only Bill of Rights guarantee not recognized by the federal courts as protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.
Through legislative and historical records generated during the Reconstruction epoch (1866-1876), Halbrook shows the intent of the Fourteenth Amendment and of civil rights legislation to guarantee full and equal rights to blacks, including the right to keep and bear arms.