Gun Control and Racism

Jacob Gershwin opened his Wall Street Journal piece on gun control with this lede:

Historical, racist gun laws are taking on new relevance in legal battles over modern-day gun regulations, following a Supreme Court ruling that expanded the right to bear arms.

He followed up [emphasis added]:

In the 1700s and 1800s, states across the country passed laws to keep guns out of the hands of slaves, free Black people, Native Americans and Catholics. Such discriminatory gun restrictions would be unconstitutional today, but they have entered the gun-rights debate as judges look to apply the Supreme Court’s decision last June that said gun restrictions must be anchored in historical traditions.

Now, despicably, many Federal and State government “lawyers” are claiming that those old, ugly, and by-design racist and anti-religion—those Evil Catholics—are part of that historical tradition as they continue their efforts to disarm all of us average Americans, in toto. US prosecutors in front of an appellate court:

They [[those racist gun control laws] nevertheless show that the Framers understood that legislatures could make such judgments to categorically disarm groups of people deemed to be dangerous.

Dangerous groups of Americans like those of us who might want to demur from Government behaviors, behaviors like the IRS targeting conservative American political groups, like the Department of Justice targeting mothers disputing with local school boards as domestic terrorists, like the FBI targeting traditional Catholics (those folks again…) as right-wing extremists and “investigating” them.

What prosecutors like those so carefully ignore is that that prior set of laws, that prior “tradition,” was wholly erased from the American body politic—the honest body politic—by the Civil War, the 13th and 14th and 15th Amendments, and the recognition that all Americans are equal under American law—under all American laws.

For those persecutors prosecutors to argue that those racist gun control laws are somehow still part of our historical traditions is for them to ignore critical parts of gun control law history: the part that had post-Civil War South and too many jurisdictions in the North enacting gun control laws explicitly to disarm and keep unarmed and helpless black Americans—freed and newly freed—along with their white supporters against depredations, that ranged from rape through lynching, at the hands of racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists.

Those prosecutors are showing their own invidious racist bent.

One thought on “Gun Control and Racism

  1. Further, a bad law – one which contravenes the letter as well as the spirit of a part of the Constitution – is not a precedent justifying the passage of another bad law.

    What do you call a bad law passed with good intentions? A bad law.

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