Originally published as 10 Vt. For educational use only. The printed edition remains canonical.
Copyright Clayton E. Cramer All Rights Reserved. Electronic redistribution is permitted as long as no alterations are made to the text and this notice appears at the beginning.
Print reproduction or for profit use is not authorized without permission from the author. The Racist Roots of Gun Control The historical record provides compelling evidence that racism underlies gun control laws -- and not in any subtle way. Throughout much of American history, gun control was openly stated as a method for keeping blacks and Hispanics "in their place," and to quiet the racial fears of whites.
This paper is intended to provide a brief summary of this unholy alliance of gun control and racism, and to suggest that gun control laws should be regarded as "suspect ideas," analogous to the "suspect classifications" theory of discrimination already part of the American legal system.
Racist arms laws predate the establishment of the United States. Starting inthe French Black Code required Louisiana colonists to stop any blacks, and if necessary, beat "any black carrying any potential weapon, such as a cane. When the first U. The New Orleans city government also stopped whites from teaching fencing to free blacks, and then, when free blacks sought to teach fencing, similarly prohibited their efforts as well.
The perception that free blacks were sympathetic to the plight of their enslaved brothers, and the dangerous example that "a Negro could be free" also caused the slave states to pass laws designed to disarm all blacks, both slave and free. Unlike the gun control laws passed after the Civil War, these antebellum statutes were for blacks alone.
In Maryland, these prohibitions went so far as to prohibit free blacks from owning dogs without a license, and authorizing any white to kill an unlicensed dog owned by a free black, for fear that blacks would use dogs as weapons.
Mississippi went further, and prohibited any ownership of a dog by a black person. While arms restrictions on free blacks predate it, these restrictions increased dramatically after Nat Turner's Rebellion ina revolt that caused the South to become increasingly irrational in its fears.
One example of the increasing fear of armed blacks is the change to the Tennessee Constitution, where Article XI, 26 of the Tennessee Constitution was revised from: The year before, the Tennessee Supreme Court had recognized the right to bear arms as an individual guarantee, but there is nothing in that decision that touches on the subject of race.
Huntlythe North Carolina Supreme Court had recognized that there was a right to carry arms guaranteed under the North Carolina Constitution, as long as such arms were carried in a manner not likely to frighten people.
An statute provided: That if any free negro, mulatto, or free person of color, shall wear or carry about his or her person, or keep in his or her house, any shot gun, musket, rifle, pistol, sword, dagger or bowie-knife, unless he or she shall have obtained a licence therefor from the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of his or her county, within one year preceding the wearing, keeping or carrying therefor, he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and may be indicted therefor.
Newsom was convicted by a jury; but the trial judge directed a not guilty verdict, and the state appealed to the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Newsom's attorney argued that the statute requiring free blacks to obtain a license to "keep and bear arms" was in violation of both the Second Amendment to the U.
Constitution, and the North Carolina Constitution's similar guarantee of a right to keep and bear arms. The 17th article of the North Carolina Constitution declared: That the people have a right to bear arms, for the defence of the State; and, as standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
The defendant is not indicted for carrying arms in defence of the State, nor does the act of prohibit him from so doing. Its only object is to preserve the peace and safety of the community from being disturbed by an indiscriminate use, on ordinary occasions, by free men of color, of fire arms or other arms of an offensive character.
Self preservation is the first law of nations, as it is of individuals. Unlike a number of other state constitutions with right to keep and bear arms provisions that limited this right only to citizens,  Article 17 guaranteed this right to the people -- and try as hard as they might, it was difficult to argue that a "free person of color," in the words of the Court, was not one of "the people.
The Georgia Supreme Court found in Nunn v.The government should not limit our right to bear arms for several reasons; the main reason being that It would go against the 2nd amendment of the Constitution.
The government, I believe, needs to focus on WHO gets to bear arms rather than take the right to bear arms from all people. True Cost – Analyzing our economy, government policy, and society through the lens of cost-benefit True Cost attempts to dissect current affairs through the lens of cost-benefit analysis.
Our individual right to bear arms was confirmed by the Supreme Court roughly four short years ago. But as with any one of our cherished constitutional rights, it’s not unlimited in scope.
Blackstone's celebrated treatise lauded the individual right to arms as one of the "five auxiliary rights of the subject," and explained that the right was for personal defense against criminals, and for collective defense against government tyranny.
He further explained that "in cases of national oppression, the nation has very justifiably risen as one man, to vindicate the original contract.
The government should not limit our right to bear arms for several reasons; the main reason being that it would go against the 2nd amendment of the Constitution. The government, I believe, needs to focus on WHO gets to bear arms rather than take the right to bear arms from all people.
As I’m sure you can see, the actions your people, our government took, were not constitutional, they took away my people’s rights from the 2nd Amendment in the rights to “bear arms” and I would like to see some consequences to take place.