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ACLU: ‘Racism Is Foundational To The Second Amendment’
A range of pistols is seen on display at a National Rifle Association outdoor sports trade show on February 10, 2017 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The American Civil Liberties Union — a left-leaning legal nonprofit — alleged that gun rights in the United States are rooted in prejudice.

“Racism is foundational to the Second Amendment and its inclusion in the Bill of Rights,” asserted the nonprofit on Sunday morning.

The tweet invited followers to learn more about the issue through a podcast episode titled “Do Black Americans Have the Right to Bear Arms?”

A preview to the episode — which featured Emory University professors Carol Anderson and Charles Howard Candler — explains:

With 233 mass shootings so far this year, the issue of gun violence in the U.S. is all too familiar. Tragic events like the Pulse nightclub and Parkland shootings go from being media spectacles to quotidian events at an alarming rate in a country that often heralds the Second Amendment above meaningful safety for all its citizens. The vigilantism of widespread gun ownership puts Black Americans in an especially vulnerable position given the brutality and human cost of discriminatory policing.

The gun violence epidemic continues to spark debate about the Second Amendment and who has a right to bear arms. But often absent in these debates is the intrinsic anti-Blackness of the unequal enforcement of gun laws, and the relationship between appeals to gun rights and the justification of militia violence. Throughout the history of this country, the rhetoric of gun rights has been selectively manipulated and utilized to inflame white racial anxiety, and to frame Blackness as an inherent threat.

The host of the episode — after joking that, because of “whiteness,” Batman would be treated differently if he were a black man — asked Anderson about her intentions in writing “The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America.” 

“My original point,” responded Anderson, “was to figure out whether African-Americans actually have Second Amendment rights.”

After the 2016 killing of Philando Castile at the hands of police, Anderson “went hunting and ended up back in the seventeenth century.” She started seeing “all of these laws, and I started seeing all of this fear about black people — the fear of the enslaved, the fear of retribution, the architecture that was created to control black people, to strip them of their rights.”

Social media users, however, noted that gun control measures — which the ACLU supports in some instances — restrict the ability of ethnic minorities to defend themselves.

“So there’s a 58% increase in black people in america buying firearms & u want us to believe the gun laws were spawned from racism?” noted African-American gun rights advocate Antonia Okafor Cover. “Classic racist, gun control tactics.”

“So why did black American gun ownership sky rocket in 2020?” added the Libertarian Party of Tennessee.

“No, the first gun control laws were created to prevent slaves from revolting, and to keep freed slaves fearing for their lives,” commented the Libertarian Party of Texas. “Restricting minorities right to bear arms has been the calling card of American racism, not the other way around.”

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