The Anti-Black origins of the Second Amendment debate

The Anti-Black origins of the Second Amendment debate

In the last 100 years, the National Rifle Association and other lobbying groups have mythologized the history of the Second Amendment as a celebration of the rights of the people against the government, but that obscures the complicated context of the time. In her new book, “The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America,” Dr. Carol Anderson notes in her book that the earliest gun laws in America actually regulated who could not own guns. In 1639, Virginia banned Africans from owning guns because they feared an armed insurrection of the enslaved population. In 1680, Virginia said that Black people, enslaved or free, did not have the right to self defense if attacked by a white person. But, from the very beginning, enslaved Africans and their descendants did fight back against their bondage. By 1723, Virginia had update their statute to say “no negro, mulatto, or indian whatsoever” could possess a gun. Around the same time, the colony passed laws to strengthen the local militia in order to squash any slave rebellions. South Carolina’s Negro Act of 1740 said that all Negroes were “absolute slaves” prohibited from gun ownership, self defense, literacy and free movement. Their statute became the model for other colonies. By the mid-18th century all 13 U.S. colonies had some form of laws prohibiting Black people from owning guns. That made things difficult for the colonists during the Revolution. The British troops promised freedom to any enslaved person willing to fight against the colonists. […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.