Blacks, Gun Control, and the Second Amendment

Guns in a display case at the Cabela’s store in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2008. (Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters)

Boston Globe writer Jeff Jacoby has a stellar piece in which he argues against the leftist notion that the Second Amendment was meant to hurt blacks. He writes, “The real racism associated with the Second Amendment isn’t in the rights of gun ownership that the Bill of Rights cemented into the Constitution’s text. It is in the long and shameful record of those rights being denied.”

I will only add a bit to the case Jacoby makes.

For many decades after the Civil War, black Americans understood perfectly well that their lives, liberties, and property were safe only if they had the means to defend them. A fascinating book I read back in 2009 is Black Maverick: T.R.M. Howard’s Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power. Howard was a medical doctor and entrepreneur who was extremely successful in his medical practice and business affairs. He used to hold rallies for blacks in Mississippi but was always prepared for Klan violence with an armory of weapons. There is a memorable photo of Dr. Howard at one of his rallies, cooking some chicken. Propped up beside him is a shotgun.

Blacks such as Dr. Howard regarded the Second Amendment as their friend, protecting their personal right to own firearms for their own protection. He and Justice Scalia would have been in perfect agreement.

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