The Second Amendment isn't racist

For leftists, history isn't about understanding and learning from the past.  It's about rewriting the past to suit their present needs.  The latest example is the claim from Carol Anderson, a race-obsessed academic at Emory University, who just had published a book arguing that the whole point of the Second Amendment is to subordinate Blacks.  Not to mince words, she is an ignoramus.

To appreciate where Anderson is coming from, you need to know that her entire worldview is defined by her belief that everything said or done in America since 1619 is about hurting Black people.  She's a professor of African-American studies.  Her books are obsessed with victimhood: Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African American Struggle for Human Rights, 1944–1955Bourgeois Radicals: The NAACP and the Struggle for Colonial Liberation, 1941–1960White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide; and One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy.  (She must be the death of every dinner party conversation.)

Anderson's latest magnum opus is entitled The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America.  In it, according to CNN, "Anderson argues that the Second Amendment is not about guns — it's about anti-Blackness.  She says it 'was designed and has consistently been constructed to keep African-Americans powerless and vulnerable.'"  There's more:

Anderson cites legislative debates from the Founding Fathers and a range of historical records to make some bold points. She says some early lawmakers who supported the Second Amendment were more worried about armed Blacks than British redcoats. She says that even after the Civil War ended, many Southern states banned Black citizens from owning weapons.

And that famous line about a "well-regulated militia?" Well, that was inserted primarily to deal with potential slave revolts — not to repel a foreign army, she says.

That is all piffle.  To understand the Second Amendment, you must go back to 1688, when England had its Glorious Revolution, which was glorious because Parliament kicked out King James II without firing a shot.  The British then invited William III and Mary (James's daughter) to occupy the throne subject to Parliament's rules.  These Rules were articulated in the Declaration of Rights in the English Bill of Rights from 1689.

The seventh articulated right holds that those of the king's "subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law."  When the king's subjects traveled to the raw, untamed new world, they took seriously their right to bear arms, one that quickly transferred itself to all free men, regardless of color.

People needed weapons to hunt (no cellophane-packed meat in grocery stores back then) and to defend themselves against neighbors, hostile Native Americans, the French, and the Spanish.  From the earliest years of colonial settlements, they had formed mandatory militias made up of all able-bodied men for community defense against this multitude of threats.

By 1775, Americans were angry that the British continuously denied them their rights under the Bill of Rights, something Parliament was able to do by claiming that the rights applied only to the king, not Parliament.  In April 1775, British general Thomas Gage received instructions from Secretary of State William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth: disarm the rebels.  That was why the British marched on Lexington and Concord when Paul Revere made his famous ride.  The first shots in the American Revolution occurred because a tyrannical government tried to seize its citizens' weapons.

It is true that, following 1739's Stono Rebellion in what is now South Carolina, Southerners seized guns from Blacks.  And that's the important point: those among the colonists and, after the Revolution, the Americans who wanted to subordinate Blacks deprived them of their inherent right to possess arms.

Put another way, the Second Amendment wasn't intended to control Blacks; gun control was meant to control Blacks.  The Southerners knew that if Blacks had the right to bear arms, slavery would quickly have ended.

What this means is that Anderson has the whole thing bass-ackwards.  What creates equality is a moral citizenry every adult member of which has the God-given right to defend himself against tyranny and other dangers.  The Second Amendment isn't a license for crime or oppression; it's a gift for liberty.

Image: Harriet Tubman in a Civil Era woodcut.  Public domain.

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