A Disarming History of the Second Amendment

Publishers Weekly

"In her trenchant analysis of the Second Amendment, Dunbar-Ortiz (An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States) avoids a legalistic approach and eschews the traditional view that links the amendment to citizens' need to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. Instead, she argues that the Second Amendment was passed to facilitate the genocide of Native Americans in order to steal their land and to provide a means for slaveholders to control their human property. She supports her thesis with numerous examples of atrocities directed at Native Americans in the late 18th and 19th centuries, and notes that 'slave patrols' were used to capture runaway slaves and bolster power among slave owners. To Dunbar-Ortiz, the Second Amendment is a reflection of an American gun culture that has countenanced genocide, slavery, and a scourge of civilian-perpetrated mass murders in the modern era. Though she acknowledges that there is 'no way to prove a correlation between war-related crimes and domestic mass shootings,' she believes that Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, and other similar tragedies are the predictable dark shadow and 'domestic expression' of what historian Andrew J. Bacevich dubbed 'the new American militarism.' Dunbar-Ortiz’s argument will be disturbing and unfamiliar to most readers, but her evidence is significant and should not be ignored."—Publishers Weekly

"Truthout excerpts a chapter of LOADED"
Jan 18, 2018

"Excerpt from LOADED posted on The Monthly Review"
Jan 8, 2018

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz discusses settler colonialism and the Second Amendment.

"Interview in The Atlanta Black Star"
Dec 13, 2017

"300 million guns are owned by 30 percent of people. Ninety percent are owned by white men, and the average number of guns owned are eight," she said. "Coming from rural Oklahoma myself, I'm familiar with white nationalism and how it goes into the white evangelical churches. I grew up knowing about it. It is second nature to me. . . .  I didn’t hear about the Second Amendment growing up."—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz 

New Republic

"As the writer and historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz argues in her brilliant new book, Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment, America's obsession with guns has roots in a long, bloody legacy of racist vigilantism, militarism, and white nationalism. This past, Dunbar-Ortiz persuasively argues, undergirds both the landscape of gun violence to this day and our partisan debates about guns. Her analysis, erudite and unrelenting, exposes blind spots not just among conservatives, but, crucially, among liberals as well. . . . As a portrait of the deepest structures of American violence, Loaded is an indispensable book."—Patrick Blanchfield

"Mumia Abu-Jamal discusses 'Loaded'"
Nov 27, 2017

Loaded: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz Takes Aim at 2nd Amendment, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

"The Hofstra Chronicle uses 'Loaded' to analyze the Second Amendment"
Nov 14, 2017

Ja'Loni Owens of The Hofstra Chronicle uses Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz's Loaded to discuss the Second Amendment in relation to race and genocide.

"Excerpt appears on The Guardian U.S.'s web site"
Nov 10, 2017

"Gun-love can be akin to non-chemical addictions like gambling or hoarding, either of which can have devastating effects, mainly economic, but murder, suicide, accidental death, and mass shootings result only from guns."—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Wear Your Voice Magazine
Oct 21, 2017

"Dunbar-Ortiz's subtle deconstructions of the various works which contributed to our misunderstandings of the Second Amendment’s roots are vitally required reading, especially in our current era of daily mass shootings and political inaction toward better gun control. The white supremacy that Dunbar-Ortiz exposes with surgical exactness is the true foundation of the America we know today."—Sezin Koehler, Wear Your Voice Magazine

Kirkus Reviews
Oct 9, 2017

"A provocative cultural analysis arguing that the Second Amendment and white supremacy are inextricably bound. Though some argue that the Second Amendment is necessary to protect the 'right to bear arms' for hunters and other law-abiding citizens, Dunbar-Ortiz (An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, 2014) maintains that the 'well-regulated militia' has been the crucial element all along. This has given rise to many malicious groups, including slave hunters, the Ku Klux Klan, and white nationalists intent on race war (what one source dubs 'rahowa…short for racial holy war') as well as 'seasoned Indian killers of the Revolutionary Army and white settler-rangers/militias using extreme violence against Indigenous noncombatants with the goal of total domination.'  It may sound extreme, but the author's historical research provides strong support for her argument that gun love is as American as apple pie—and that those guns have often been in the hands of a powerful white majority to subjugate minority natives, slaves, or others who might stand in the way of the broadest definition of Manifest Destiny. 'The United States is not unique among nations in forging origin myths,' writes Dunbar-Ortiz, 'but only one of the few in which its citizens seem to believe it to be exceptional by grace of the Creator, and this exceptionalist ideology has been used to justify genocide, appropriation of the continent, and then domination of the rest of the world.' The author's analysis encompasses the growth of the arms industry, the embrace of the Western outlaw mythos, and the controversy over the Second Amendment itself, which was paid 'little attention' until the second half of the 20th century, when civil rights, war protest, and rising crime rates increased the call for gun control. This compact manifesto won't convince everyone, but it presents a formidable argument. A radical revision of American history, specifically as it relates to its persistent gun culture."—Kirkus Reviews        

"Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is interviewed by The Guardian"
Oct 5, 2017

"'Publishers Weekly,' Fall 2017 Announcements: History"
Jun 23, 2017

"Peels away the myths of gun culture to uncover the true historical origins of the Second Amendment, exposing racial undercurrents connecting the earliest settlers with contemporary gun proliferation, modern-day policing, and the influence of armed white nationalists."   

"Interview with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz on Tavis Smiley"
Nov 21, 2016

Interview with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz on Tavis Smiley