Fogleman: ACLU gets Second Amendment wrong; it’s actually gun control that’s steeped in racism

Fogleman: ACLU gets Second Amendment wrong; it’s actually gun control that’s steeped in racism

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) made headlines this week when it declared the Second Amendment to be inherently racist , proclaiming “Anti-Blackness determined the inclusion of the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights.” It also suggested a “relationship between appeals to gun rights and the justification of militia violence.” The claim turns the history of racism and guns in America on its head. The right to arms in America predated the Second Amendment and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Vermont , Massachusetts , North Carolina , and Pennsylvania all had explicit arms guarantees in their respective state constitutions prior to 1791, none of which made reference to the “militia” or race-based “militia violence.” Additionally, the three northern states had already outlawed slavery by the time of the Constitution’s ratification. In fact, Vermont abolished slavery in the exact same 1777 declaration of rights that secured the right of the people to “bear arms for the defense of themselves and the state.” Many of these same northern states helped lead the charge for the inclusion of the Bill of Rights, including the right to arms, in the Constitution’s ratification process. It cannot reasonably be said that the original inclusion of the Second Amendment was determined by “anti-blackness,” or slave-targeted militia violence, when antecedent arms guarantees were primarily from abolitionist states expressly securing the right to the people, not the militia. However, a relationship does exist between “Anti-Blackness” and the Second Amendment. But it has been advocates of gun-control, […]

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