“As much as America loves her guns, she has never liked the idea of seeing them in black hands.”
I do not think it was the author’s intention, but this article makes an excellent example for the 2nd Amendment in a fully intact form. The idea is that white people don’t want black people to own guns. To demonstrate this the article goes through a list of laws specifically designed to keep guns out of black hands.
“Before the Revolutionary War, colonial Virginia passed a law barring black people from owning firearms — an exercise in gun control as racial control. In 1857, in his notorious Dred Scott decision, Chief Justice Roger Taney summoned the specter of black people freely enjoying the right to “keep and carry arms wherever they went.” Surely, he argued, the founders were not “so forgetful or regardless of their own safety” to permit such a thing. When black people armed themselves against white supremacist attacks following the Civil War, Southern state governments passed “black codes” barring them from owning guns. After the Black Panthers open carried to signal to California police officers that they would defend themselves against racial attacks in the late ’60s, then-Gov. Ronald Reagan signed a state ban on open carry into law.”
Though I don’t believe the author has a point relating to today’s world where the opportunity for blacks and whites to obtain legal firearms is the same, I do think the concept addressed is a valid one. At some point they were denied the right to bear arms. At some point there were those in power who worked to make sure that blacks were not in power. The slaves were no longer slaves. The not-men were suddenly men. Even if they didn’t want to admit that to themselves the men in power knew it, deep down. They always knew it of course, but now they couldn’t lie to themselves. They saw what was coming, they understood and what they understood scared them to death. Understandably so of course, from their perspective. One cannot blame them for feeling the fear. Our system of government, especially the unalienable rights, prevent the fearful from taking their fear out on others. At least, that’s how it is supposed to work. When it comes to the 2nd amendment that seems to not be the case. Gun restrictions have been enacted time and time again.
It should be understood that what happens to one group of people will one day happen to another. You may belong to the group in power today, but you might not tomorrow. Rights are meant to protect us from that day. They only work when we honor them though. When we have the wisdom to see that putting up with a little discomfort today will be worth it when it saves us from servitude tomorrow. Keeping rights in tact, even when doing so makes us uncomfortable, is the only preventative.
So what does black gun ownership mean in a country so determined to keep its black populace unarmed? Since the 2016 election, interest in firearms has supposedly ticked upward in the black community. Gun shops and clubs link the interest to a desire for self-protection against the white supremacists emboldened by President Donald Trump’s election.