I’ve often wondered how the over abundance of illegal handguns always seem to find it’s way into inner city neighborhoods. Do poor Black kids really have that much clout or are some mysterious, nefarious benefactors “gifting” them (for a hefty price) with the hand guns and other automatic weapons used to kill tens of thousands of Black youth every year?
Without sounding too much like a conspiracy theorist, lets just say that there might be some interested “high-end” groups that have an interest in Black on Black crime and the results, whether its lessening the Black male population (and many young females as well) in the ghettos or wanting to see arrests and convictions to fill the “for-profit” jails that have popped up all over the country.
Oh, by the way, keep in mind that a prisoner has no rights, None what so ever, So essentially, those thoughtless young men who end up in jail have essentially given up every right they were born with. In essence they are slaves, period.
Here’s an interesting factoid: There are more Black men in prisons today than there were slaves in 1850! Also…African Americans make up 13% of the population of the United States, yet…account for 39.4% of prison population in this country.
Ironically, the NRA used to support gun control — when the Black Panthers started packing.
It may seem hard to believe, but the modern-day gun-rights debate was born from the civil rights era and inspired by the Black Panthers. Equally surprising is that the National Rifle Association — now an aggressive lobbying arm for gun manufacturers — actually once supported, and helped write, federal gun-control laws.
In light of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre that claimed the lives of 20 children as well as escalating violence in cities like Chicago, which saw 500 homicides in 2012 alone, President Barack Obama recently unveiled his plan for stricter gun control. The proposal calls for a universal background check and a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, along with 23 executive orders. But these efforts — no matter how reasonable — are not without their critics.
In a statement released last week, the NRA expressed its disappointment that “the task force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearm owners.” Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) went so far as to threaten impeachment if President Obama used executive action. The conservative entertainment complex — from Fox News and the Drudge Report, which likened gun control to Nazi Germany, to talk-radio host Alex Jones, who invoked the Tea Party insurrection of 1773 – employs propaganda tactics to convince Americans that Obama wants to take away their guns. Nothing could be further from the truth, and the history of this debate is a curious one.
It is ironic that the modern-day argument for citizens to arm themselves against unwarranted government oppression — dominated, as it is, by angry white men — has its roots in the foundation of the 1960s Black Panther movement. Huey Newton and Bobby Seale became inspired by Malcolm X’s admonishment that because government was “either unable or unwilling to protect the lives and property” of African Americans, they ought to defend themselves “by any means necessary.”
UCLA law professor Adam Winkler explores this history in his 2011 book, Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America. “Like many young African-Americans, Newton and Seale were frustrated with the failed promise of the civil-rights movement,” Winkler writes. In their opinion, “the only tangible outcome of the civil-rights movement had been more violence and oppression, much of it committed by the very entity meant to protect the public: the police.” Winkler goes on to say, “Malcolm X and the Panthers described their right to use guns in self-defense in constitutional terms.” Guns became central to the Panthers’ identity, as they taught their early recruits that “the gun is the only thing that will free us — gain us our liberation.”
The Panthers responded to racial violence by patrolling black neighborhoods brandishing guns — in an effort to police the police. The fear of black people with firearms sent shock waves across white communities, and conservative lawmakers immediately responded with gun-control legislation.
Then Gov. Ronald Reagan, now lauded as the patron saint of modern conservatism, told reporters in California that he saw “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.” Reagan claimed that the Mulford Act, as it became known, “would work no hardship on the honest citizen.” The NRA actually helped craft similar legislation in states across the country. Fast-forward to 2013, and it is a white-male dominated NRA, largely made up of Southern conservatives and gun owners from the Midwest and Southwestern states, that argues “do not tread on me” in the gun debate.
Before the Civil War ended, State “Slave Codes” prohibited slaves from owning guns. After President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and after the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolishing slavery was adopted and the Civil War ended in 1865, States persisted in prohibiting blacks, now freemen, from owning guns under laws renamed “Black Codes.” They did so on the basis that blacks were not citizens, and thus did not have the same rights, including the right to keep and bear arms protected in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as whites. This view was specifically articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in its infamous 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford to uphold slavery.
The United States Congress overrode most portions of the Black Codes by passing the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The legislative histories of both the Civil Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as The Special Report of the Anti-Slavery Conference of 1867, are replete with denunciations of those particular statutes that denied blacks equal access to firearms. [Kates, Handgun Prohibition and the Original Meaning of the Second Amendment, 82 Mich. L. Rev. 204, 256 (1983)] However, facially neutral disarming through economic means laws remain in effect.
After the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1878, most States turned to “facially neutral” business or transaction taxes on handgun purchases. However, the intention of these laws was not neutral. An article in Virginia’s official university law review called for a “prohibitive tax … on the privilege” of selling handguns as a way of disarming “the son of Ham”, whose “cowardly practice of ‘toting’ guns has been one of the most fruitful sources of crime … .Let a negro board a railroad train with a quart of mean whiskey and a pistol in his grip and the chances are that there will be a murder, or at least a row, before he alights.” [Comment, Carrying Concealed Weapons, 15 Va L. Reg. 391, 391-92 (1909); George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1, “Gun Control and Racism,” Stefan Tahmassebi, 1991, p. 75] Thus, many Southern States imposed high taxes or banned inexpensive guns so as to price blacks and poor whites out of the gun market.
In the 1990s, “gun control” laws continue to be enacted so as to have a racist effect if not intent:
- Police-issued license and permit laws, unless drafted to require issuance to those not prohibited by law from owning guns, are routinely used to prevent lawful gun ownership among “unpopular” populations.
- Public housing residents, approximately 3 million Americans, are singled out for gun bans.
- “Gun sweeps” by police in “high crime neighborhoods” whereby vehicles and “pedestrians who meet a specific profile that might indicate they are carrying a weapon” are searched are becoming popular, and are being studied by the U.S. Department of Justice as “Operation Ceasefire.”
1856: Dred Scott v. Sandford - Upheld Individual Rights (to the slave owner.)
The Second Amendment as an individual right was affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States in its decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford in 1856. With the rights of slaves in question, the nation’s highest court opined on the intent of the Second Amendment for the first time, writing that affording slaves full rights of American citizenship would include the right “to keep and carry arms wherever they went.”
On March 6, 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney delivered the majority opinion. Taney ruled that:
- Any person descended from Africans, whether slave or free, is not a citizen of the United States, according to the Constitution.
- The Ordinance of 1787 could not confer either freedom or citizenship within the Northwest Territory to non-white individuals.
- The provisions of the Act of 1820, known as the Missouri Compromise, were voided as a legislative act, since the act exceeded the powers of Congress, insofar as it attempted to exclude slavery and impart freedom and citizenship to non-white persons in the northern part of the Louisiana Purchase.
The Court had ruled that African Americans had no claim to freedom or citizenship. Since they were not citizens, they did not possess the legal standing to bring suit in a federal court. As slaves were private property, Congress did not have the power to regulate slavery in the territories and could not revoke a slave owner’s rights based on where he lived. This decision nullified the essence of the Missouri Compromise, which divided territories into jurisdictions either free or slave. Speaking for the majority, Taney ruled that because Scott was simply considered the private property of his owners, that he was subject to the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting the taking of property from its owner “without due process”. Ultimately, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution settled the issue of Black citizenship via Section 1 of that Amendment: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside…”
Four principles were asserted in the text of the 14th amendment. They were:
- State and federal citizenship for all persons regardless of race both born or naturalized in the United States was reaffirmed.
- No state would be allowed to abridge the “privileges and immunities” of citizens.
- No person was allowed to be deprived of life, liberty,or property without “due process of law.”
- No person could be denied “equal protection of the laws.”
Over time, numerous lawsuits have arisen that have referenced the 14th amendment. The fact that the amendment uses the word state in the Privileges and Immunities clause along with interpretation of the Due Process Clause has meant that state as well as federal power is subject to the Bill of Rights. Further, the courts have interpreted the word “person” to include corporations. Therefore, they too are protected by “due process” along with being granted “equal protection.”
While there were other clauses in the amendment, none were as signficant as these.