The Nation’s justice correspondent Elie Mystal argued the Second Amendment was only intended for preserving slavery and ending slave revolts.
The frequent MSNBC guest appeared on Peacock’s “The Mehdi Hasan Show” Wednesday to discuss the revived debate on the Second Amendment. Hasan noted that Mystal’s book, “Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution,” claimed that the “original purpose” of the amendment was about slavery.
“There was an original purpose to the Second Amendment, but it wasn’t to keep people safe. It was to preserve white supremacy and slavery,” Hasan quoted from the book.
Elie Mystal has called the U.S. Constitution "trash" and has advocated major changes to it.
(Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
Mystal explained further that the need for “a well-regulated militia” came only out of the desire to put down slave revolts.
“They said that they needed a Second Amendment because they needed the armed, disciplined, that was their word, militia to put down slave revolts. And they were worried that under the original Constitution, the federal government had all of the power to raise the militia. The southerners needed the militia to put down slave revolts because it’s a little bit difficult to hold people in bondage against their will,” Mystal said.
He added, “So you needed some military superiority and the Second Amendment was there to make sure that the states had the power to raise the militia on their own, so Virginia could raise its own militia to put down slave revolts in Virginia without having to ask Connecticut or Massachusetts whether or not they agree with that. That’s why it’s there. That’s why the white folks said it was there. Fast forward to 2008, Antonin Scalia just makes up an entirely different Second Amendment right out of thin air.”
With loaded firearms in hand and flags all around people gather for a 5 Mile Open Carry March for Freedom organized by Florida Gun Supply in Inverness, Florida, U.S. July 4, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Tilley
(REUTERS/Chris Tilley )
Anti-racist educator Tim Wise made a similar argument on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut” on Tuesday that the “historical precedent” for the Second Amendment came from the founders’ fear of Black people and the need to put down slave rebellions.
In the same segment, Hasan decried the “decades of fear-mongering and demagoguery” from conservatives that he believed interpreted the individual’s right to own a gun. He then called on the Democrats to have the courage to amend the Second Amendment.
“Part of me wonders, why don’t the Democrats go further? Why not put the Second Amendment on the table for negotiations?” Hasan asked. “If that’s what they’re using to cynically block the mildest, most basic, most popular gun control measures, why not put it on the table? Why not make the Constitution a living document again by, you know, amending it?”
Capitol Building DC and constitution overlay
“If hard-lined conservatives and their allies on the Supreme Court are going to keep interpreting the Second Amendment in a way that it wasn’t understood for the majority of American history as kids are massacred in schools, maybe it’s time to make the meaning of that amendment in the Constitution clearer? What’s the worst that’s going to happen?” he said.
Lindsay Kornick is an associate editor for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to email@example.com and on Twitter: @lmkornick.