A critical step in interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection of the privileges and immunities of national citizens and of life, liberty, and property is to understand the evils its Framers sought to remedy. Among the many evils those Framers sought to cure, the systematic violation of the freedmen’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms was prominent.
The evidence of such concern is extensive. While Congress was drafting and considering the proposed Fourteenth Amendment and two pieces of interim legislation — the Freedmen’s Bureau Bill and the Civil Rights Bill — it received considerable testimony and evidence regarding the disarming of freedmen by state and local governments and militias.
Steven M. Simpson
D.C. versus Heller
Brief for the Institute for Justice as Amicus Curiae in support of respondent.