David J Silverman

Professor of History , George Washington University

David J Silverman is professor of history at George Washington University, where he specialises in Native American, Colonial American, and American racial history. His latest book is Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America (2016).

Written by David J Silverman

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Guns, empires and Indians

David J Silverman

I appreciate these reader comments and hope to see more. This is a productive discussion.

As the author of this essay, let me be clear that I claim no expertise on Second Amendment issues. However, I do think the early history of Native Americans and guns can be read in ways that lends support to both sides of the current arms control debate.

Opponents of arms control can rightly claim that this history shows (1) that black market arms traders have a long track record of eluding government restrictions; and (2) that the spread of guns throughout indigenous communities tended to end the runs of violent expansion by Native groups that had a temporary corner on the gun trade. I...

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