Wednesday, April 6, 2022

the last book I ever read (Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy's Guide to the Constitution, excerpt three)

from Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy's Guide to the Constitution by Elie Mystal:

What these people don’t understand is that the right to gun ownership for self-defense is an entirely new constitutional argument, made up whole-cloth by the gun lobby, and only recently given the force of constitutional validity by Republicans on the Supreme Court. Self-defense is a philosophical right, but that right was not grounded in the “original” meaning of the Second Amendment; self-defense is not mentioned once in the text of the Constitution. What Republicans think is their strongese and most ancient defense of gun rights is actually a mere advertising campaign from manufacturers.

Our current interpretation of the Second Amendment was invented by the National Rifle Association in the 1970s. You see, in the 1960s, Republicans were all about gun control, because in the 1960s Black people thought that they should start carrying guns. The Black Panthers figured out that white people were much less likely to mess with them if the Panthers were openly carrying loaded weapons around with them. It’s not as fun to shout the n-word at a Black guy who happens to be carrying a loaded rifle, I imagine. You could lose an eye trying to do something like that.

Of course, Black people being able and willing to defend themselves from racist Americans was a very serious problem for racist Americans. In a direct response to African Americans patrolling Oakland, California, and “copwatching,” Republicans in California passed the Mulford Act, which banned open carry of loaded firearms in California. Who signed that law? Republican patron saint and then governor of California Ronald Reagan. The absolutist interpretation of the Second Amendment is new, but using gun rights or gun control, as necessary, to maintain racial dominance is old.

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