Slavery, Racism, and the Second Amendment

Carl Bogus, a law professor at Roger Williams University, has argued that James Madison wrote the second amendment in part to reassure his home state of Virginia, where slave owners were terrified of revolts and wary of northerners who would undermine the system.

“The militia were at that stage almost exclusively a slave-control tool in the south,” he said. “You gave Congress the power to arm the militia – if Congress chooses not to arm our militia, well, we all know what happens.”

After the civil war, second amendment rights were again debated by Congress, which abolished militias in the former Confederate states and passed the 1866 Civil Rights Act, explicitly protecting freed slaves’ right to bear arms. A century later, the founders of the Black Panthers took up guns, symbolically and literally, to press for equal civil rights in California.

The Mulford Act was a 1967 California bill that repealed a law allowing public carrying of loaded firearms. Named after Republican assemblyman Don Mulford, the bill was crafted in response to members of the Black Panther Party who were conducting armed patrols of Oakland neighborhoods while they were conducting what would later be termed copwatching.[1] They garnered national attention after the Black Panthers marched bearing arms upon the California State Capitol to protest the bill.[2][3][4]

Both Republicans and Democrats in California supported increased gun control. Governor Ronald Reagan was present when the protesters arrived and later commented that he saw "no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons" and that guns were a "ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will." In a later press conference, Reagan added that the Mulford Act "would work no hardship on the honest citizen."[7]

The bill was signed by Reagan and became California penal code 25850 and 171c.

In his opinion in Dred Scott v Sandford,  U.S Supreme Court , 1857, Chief Justice Taney stated that: "It (equality) would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognised as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.  And all of this would be done in the face of the subject race of the same color, both free and slaves, and inevitably producing discontent and insubordination among them, and endangering the peace and safety of the State.

The Supreme Court struck down a DC gun law in DC v Heller:

District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S.570 (2008), is the landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held, in a 5–4 decision, that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home, and that Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban and requirement that lawfully-owned rifles and shotguns be kept "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock" violated this guarantee. It was also clearly stated that the right to bear arms is not unlimited and that guns and gun ownership would continue to be regulated. Due to Washington, D.C.'s special status as a federal district, the decision did not address the question of whether the Second Amendment's protections are incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment against the states,[1] which was addressed two years later by McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) in which it was found that they are. It was the first Supreme Court case to decide whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.

Through the course of American history black people have figured prominently in the manner in which the 2nd Amendment has been invoked, employed, and interpreted....

I have stated in the past that the quickest way to gun control is Black people arming themselves and carrying their weaponry in an open display of copliance and adherence to the current interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and the implications and ramifications it carries...

White people will seek a means whereby they could force the disarming of 'angry black folks' pretty much the same way Ronald Reagan and the California legislature did back in 1967. 

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Comment by mary gravitt on March 8, 2018 at 1:26pm

The NRA loves the 2nd Amendment because it sells guns.  They work on the ole KKK model of telling Whites that Negroes are going to come from the cities and rape White women, kill White children, therefore you have to be armed to the teeth when these nigg**s come.  This unconscious and concious message works because racism is institutionalized in America.

But the lesson that should be understood from Stoneman-Douglass is that the NRA is allowing Middle class White Children to murdered with military weapons because it is afraid that Americans will stop buying guns.  No one is trying to take away the guns of Americans.  Someone, fathers and mothers are trying to save the lives of their children.  AR_15 and millitary high valoscity riffles and my bad spelling have not place in civil society.

Comment by Ron Powell on March 8, 2018 at 3:33pm

Mary, Thanks for the read and the comment.


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