Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Second Amendment, Civil Rights, and Black History Month

Ken Blackwell, former Secretary of State of Ohio, wrote an interesting column for that highlighted the civil rights heroes known as the Deacons for Defense. Without the Deacons of Defense, and their arms, the civil rights movement would not have progressed as it did. Here, in the United States, these men had to take up arms against the police, the sheriffs and even the fire department to protect their families, children and neighborhoods.

Second Amendment Freedoms Aided the Civil Rights Movement

In his 2004 book, The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement, Tulane University history professor Lance Hill tells their story. Hill writes of how a group of southern working class black men advanced civil rights through direct action to protect members of local communities against harassment at schools and polling places, and to thwart the terror inflicted by the Ku Klux Klan. He argues that without the Deacon’s activities the civil rights movement may have come to a crashing halt.

The spring and summer of 1964 were landmark periods for civil rights. In growing numbers, Southerners marched against segregation. The battle over race lit Louisiana aflame. In response to civil rights activism, the Klan wreaked havoc on black neighborhoods, but soon found itself face-to-face with the Deacons.

Following a KKK night ride in Jonesboro, the Deacons approached the police chief who had led the parade and informed him that they were armed and unafraid of self-defense. The Klan never rode through Jonesboro again. Local cross burnings ceased when warning shots were fired as a Klansmen’s torch met a cross planted in front of a black minister’s home. The initial desegregation of Jonesboro High School was threatened by firemen who aimed hoses at black students attempting to enter the building. When four Deacons arrived and loaded their shotguns, the firemen left and the students entered unscathed. It was this series of efforts by the Deacons that caused the Klan to leave Jonesboro for good.

Similar work in Bogalusa, Louisiana drove the KKK out of that town as well, and led to a turning point in the civil rights movement. Acting as private citizens in lawful employment of their constitutional rights, the Deacons demonstrated the real social impact of the freedoms our nation’s founders held dear.

As legendary civil rights leader Roy Innis recently said to me, the Deacons forced the Klan to re-evaluate their actions and often change their undergarments.
It is a fact that early gun control laws were written to keep firearms out of the hands of blacks and other minorities. The Black Codes and Jim Crow laws were used to make sure that blacks could not own firearms and have the ability to protect themselves. These discriminatory practices are supposed to be a shameful part of our history, but in many places they still exist today. To be able to purchase a firearm in the State of Massachusetts, a person must receive a license from the local chief of police. To obtain a License to Carry a Concealed Weapon in California, a person must have the approval of the local county sheriff. If you want to own a registered title two (class 3) firearm, you mush first get the signature of your local chief law enforcement official. In each of these instances you can be denied the ability to legally own or carry a firearm based on the subjective approval of one individual. This process is wide open to all kinds of abuse. From selling permits to denying licenses to certain "classes" of individuals, this arbitrary means of issuing the "right" to own or carry firearms is not only unconstitutional, but also immoral. If you doubt this, ask yourself why San Francisco County, with a population of over 780,000 people, only had 10 CCW licenses as of Nov. 2006?

The Citizens Opposing Racism and Discrimination (CORAD) has an informative article covering racism and gun control that details various laws meant to keep firearms out of the hands of blacks and other minorities ranging all the way back to 1792. It is an interesting read and can be found here.

Instapundit has commented on this issue here, and reminds us about this Gunsite article - The Second Amendment: Toward an Afro-Americanist Reconsideration.

To conclude, the vast majority of gun laws are either racist, or elitist. They are written to keep guns out of the hands of "those" people, whoever those people happen to be. The elitist have made owning a firearm difficult for the underclasses by sueing the firearm manufacturers for making inexpensive guns, by demonizing Saturday Night Specials, and by making the permitting/licensing process so expensive as to be out of reach of those who are struggling financially. The racist have attempted to keep firearms out of the hands of minorities by making it just about impossible to legally own a firearm in urban areas that have a high percentage of minority residents. These racist and discriminatory laws and practices must come to an end. There is one law of the land when it comes to firearms, and it contains the words "...shall not be infringed".

1 comment:

Fits said...

Excellent job.