Historically blacks were targeted for gun control, he said. “It is explicit as early as 1680 in Colonial America.”
Similar targeted gun control was implemented in post-Civil War Black Codes, which contributed to the passage of the 14th Amendment, he said.
“Much of the conversation surrounding the passage of the 14th Amendment went to the problem of southern state governments who, in an essential act of war, were explicitly attempting to disarm freedmen.” A freedman was a former slave who was legally released by emancipation or by owner.
Southern states enacted gun control statutes in the post-Civil War period that were de-facto racially motivated, said Johnson. “In the beginning of the 20th century discriminatory provisions were in effect in a variety of places.”
The people who fought against discriminatory practices are American heroes, said the writer for The Volokh Conspiracy a division of The Washington Post.
“Two U.S. Supreme Court cases that recently affirmed our right to keep and bear arms were led by black plaintiffs: Shelly Parker and Otis McDonald,” he said. “Lots of people thought Parker and McDonald were dupes or fools. It turns out they were an extension of a long tradition of a sober, mature community having access to firearms.”
The book shows that up until the 1970s the image of gun ownership in the black community is more consistent with reality than what is in the popular news today, he said.