Listen closely. Do you hear that sound? That is the sound of gun rights advocates emitting a yawning silence over the death of Michael Brown. An unarmed teen was shot dead in the street, sparking a national controversy. In any other situation like that, the Second Amendment nuts would be telling us that perhaps the victim could have “defended himself” if he had a gun.
In other news, citizens’ constitutional rights are being abridged by state actors. The Second Amendment is there, at least in part, so that ordinary citizens may defend themselves should the state unlawfully abridge constitutional rights… so the story goes. If the Feds were trying to bring medicine into an episode of Doomsday Preppers, gun nuts would be talking about their rights to a well armed militia. In Ferguson, the government is arresting journalists, and not a peep for those who think the Second Amendment is necessary to give citizens the ability to defend their constitutional rights. The Daily Beast called out the NRA today. This is the kind of situation the NRA usually politicizes to full effect….
The deafening silence was broken yesterday on The Blaze. But of course, the conservative site didn’t come out supporting the people’s right to defend themselves from these gross abuses of state power. Instead, they came on the record to support the right for store owners to arm themselves and shoot potential looters. It’s what the Founders would have wanted, says Chad Kent.
Look, the last thing that Ferguson needs is more guns. I don’t think that the protesters should be armed, the homeowners should be armed, the store owners should be armed, or that the at this point clearly untrustworthy cops should be armed.
But there is no real mystery as to why gun rights groups have holstered their legal arguments defending the Second Amendment. Gun rights groups want white people to have guns, and they don’t want minorities to have guns. It’s that simple. The NRA is an organization with overwhelmingly white membership; I think Kayne West could tell you how much they care about black people.
And that view is hardly new. In 1873 armed white men massacred a group of freed black men during a rally, killing 100. Those men were charged, but in 1876, in the seminal Second Amendment case of U.S. versus Cruikshank, the Supreme Court ruled that the white men had a right to bring their guns…. and then what happened, happened. The case touched off almost a hundred years of Second Amendment law where the right to bear arms was fairly specifically limited to white Americans.