Twisting a Pro 2A argument 180 Degrees. Grrr.

Twisting a Pro 2A argument 180 Degrees. Grrr.

This is a discussion on Twisting a Pro 2A argument 180 Degrees. Grrr. within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; "The racial origin of gun control" gets a real whipping from the alarmists. Don't see much proof here. Gun Guys » The Racist Origins Of ...

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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Twisting a Pro 2A argument 180 Degrees. Grrr.

    "The racial origin of gun control" gets a real whipping from the alarmists.

    Don't see much proof here.

    Gun Guys » The Racist Origins Of the Second Amendment

    The Racist Origins Of the Second Amendment

    The looming Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, a case challenging DC's 30-year-old handgun ban, seems to be completely off the radar. Although there was a dramatic surge of attention when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in March, very few articles, editorials, and news stories are being written about the long term viability of gun control in light of the Court's expected ruling. Absent from the Court's oral arguments was also a full vetting of the political and social context when the Second Amendment was written -- including the racist origins and purpose of the Second Amendment (see below).

    It's as if the country is asleep at the wheel while a potential attack on America's freedom and ability to prevent and reduce gun violence is happening right before our very eyes. The Supreme Court holds in its hands the awesome responsibility of allowing and empowering the American people the "right" and the ability to reduce gun violence, protect our communities and national security. Lives are at stake. This is no hypothetical or dry legal theory we're debating.

    To be sure, no one knows exactly how the Court will rule in the DC handgun ban case. But gun violence prevention advocates fear that the Court's conservative members could enshrine a new interpretation of the Second Amendment that "individuals" have a "right to keep and bear arms" -- a complete departure from the Court's own longstanding precedent and the robust history of gun control since the founding of our country.

    Even if the Supreme Court ruling aligns itself more closely with the gun lobby interpretation, gun control laws will not immediately evaporate. But the impact of such a ruling would give ammunition to the gun lobby to challenge virtually any and all gun laws on the books on the federal, state and local level and consume enormous resources defending and litigating gun violence prevention measures.

    The effect could be devastating, and yet there is very little discussion or debate about the potential of this shell-shocking case to American law and culture. Several legal analysts think that the Supreme Court will issue it's ruling sometime in mid-June of this year in a matter of weeks.

    Perhaps most galling of all is that during the oral arguments to the Supreme Court, the justices seemed to be arguing the Second Amendment in a parallel universe.

    In a remarkable essay first published in Mother Jones on March 20th Stephanie Mencimer writes in "Whitewashing the Second Amendment" about the racist origins of the Second Amendment.

    At the very least it would be helpful if the justices decided the DC handgun ban case on an accurate reading of the social and political context, original documents, and an understanding of the history when the Second Amendment was actually written. (Justice Scalia who prides himself on being an ardent "originalist" should take note).

    Stephanie Mencimer's remarkable essay is worth quoting at length:

    Racial politics dominated the talk in Washington this week as Barack Obama called on Americans to stop ignoring the country's racist past and move forward. The message, apparently, didn't reach the U.S. Supreme Court, where the justices were busy ignoring race during a hearing on the biggest case of the year. On Tuesday, at the same time Obama gave his big speech, the court heard oral arguments in D.C. v. Heller, a case challenging the District of Columbia's 30-year-old law banning handgun ownership. The case marks the first time the Supreme Court has reviewed the Second Amendment in 70 years, and its interpretation could have far-reaching implications for state gun laws. Heller is mostly about gun ownership, but it is also about race—not that you would know that based on the oral arguments.

    First, by way of background: The key issue in Heller is whether the Constitution guarantees an individual, as opposed to a collective, right to bear arms within the context of a well-organized militia. The plaintiff, Dick Anthony Heller, is an armed security guard who, with the help of some rich libertarians, brought the lawsuit against the District, arguing that the city's handgun ban illegally prevented him from keeping his work weapon at home.

    Last year, in a 2-to-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed and ruled that the city's gun-control law was an unconstitutional infringement on an individual's right to bear arms. Fearing a flood of new firearms into the city as a result, the District appealed to the Supreme Court.

    Dozens of interest groups, from the Pink Pistols to Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, have filed amicus briefs, offering their take on the Second Amendment. But during oral arguments, Justice Anthony Kennedy and his conservative brethren seemed to fully embrace the gun lobby's favorite romantic myth that the founders, inspired by the image of the musket in the hands of a minuteman, wrote the Second Amendment to give Americans the right to take up arms to fight government tyranny. But what the founders really had in mind, according to some constitutional-law scholars, was the musket in the hands of a slave owner.

    That is, these scholars believe the founders enshrined the right to bear arms in the Constitution in part to enforce tyranny, not fight it.

    Last week at an American Constitution Society briefing on the Heller case, NAACP Legal Defense Fund president John Payton explained the ugly history behind the gun lobby's favorite amendment. "That the Second Amendment was the last bulwark against the tyranny of the federal government is false," he said.

    Instead, the "well-regulated militias" cited in the Constitution almost certainly referred to state militias that were used to suppress slave insurrections. Payton explained that the founders added the Second Amendment in part to reassure southern states, such as Virginia, that the federal government wouldn’t use its new power to disarm state militias as a backdoor way of abolishing slavery.

    This is pretty well-documented history, thanks to the work of Roger Williams School of Law professor Carl T. Bogus. In a 1998 law-review article based on a close analysis of James Madison’s original writings, Bogus explained the South’s obsession with militias during the ratification fights over the Constitution. “The militia remained the principal means of protecting the social order and preserving white control over an enormous black population,” Bogus writes. “Anything that might weaken this system presented the gravest of threats.” He goes on to document how anti-Federalists Patrick Henry and George Mason used the fear of slave rebellions as a way of drumming up opposition to the Constitution and how Madison eventually deployed the promise of the Second Amendment to placate Virginians and win their support for ratification.

    None of this figured into Tuesday's arguments at the Supreme Court. Instead, a majority of the justices, especially Kennedy, seemed to buy the story that the founders were inordinately concerned with the ability of early settlers to use guns to fend off wild animals and Indians, not rebellious slaves. (Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick counts pivotal swing-voter Kennedy making no fewer than four mentions of a mythical "remote settler," who Kennedy suggested would have needed a gun to "defend himself and his family against hostile Indian tribes and outlaws, wolves and bears, and grizzlies.")

    Just as the court largely ignored the racist past of the Second Amendment, its focus on self-defense also glossed over the more obvious racial implications of the decision it was reviewing. The plaintiff, Heller, is a white man who lives in a 60 percent black city whose democratically elected leaders long ago decided that handguns were doing more harm than good to its citizenry. Indeed, while two of the original five plaintiffs in the Heller case are black women, not a whole lot of African Americans in the District appear to be out there clamoring to own more handguns for self-defense.

    In an interview, Bogus says that polls consistently show that African Americans support gun control in much higher numbers than white people do, and probably for good reason: They're usually the ones looking at the wrong end of the barrel. As the NAACP points out in its brief on Heller, in D.C. in 2004, there were 137 gun-homicide victims. All but two of them were black. If the Supreme Court invalidates the city’s handgun ban, any ensuing uptick in gun violence is likely to have a disproportionate impact on African Americans, particularly young men.

    Of course, it won’t only be young black men who suffer should the court decide that D.C. residents need more handguns.

    Whitewashing the Second Amendment

    Whitewashing the Second Amendment
    As the Supreme Court reviews a historic gun-rights case, lost is the Second Amendment's controversial history—when it wasn't a bulwark against tyranny but a way of enforcing it." />

    Stephanie Mencimer" />
    March 20" /> , 2008" /> Racial politics dominated the talk in Washington this week as Barack Obama called on Americans to stop ignoring the country's racist past and move forward. The message, apparently, didn't reach the U.S. Supreme Court, where the justices were busy ignoring race during a hearing on the biggest case of the year. On Tuesday, at the same time Obama gave his big speech, the court heard oral arguments in D.C. v. Heller, a case challenging the District of Columbia's 30-year-old law banning handgun ownership. The case marks the first time the Supreme Court has reviewed the Second Amendment in 70 years, and its interpretation could have far-reaching implications for state gun laws. Heller is mostly about gun ownership, but it is also about race—not that you would know that based on the oral arguments.

    First, by way of background: The key issue in Heller is whether the Constitution guarantees an individual, as opposed to a collective, right to bear arms within the context of a well-organized militia. The plaintiff, Dick Anthony Heller, is an armed security guard who, with the help of some rich libertarians, brought the lawsuit against the District, arguing that the city's handgun ban illegally prevented him from keeping his work weapon at home. Last year, in a 2-to-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed and ruled that the city's gun-control law was an unconstitutional infringement on an individual's right to bear arms. Fearing a flood of new firearms into the city as a result, the District appealed to the Supreme Court.

    Dozens of interest groups, from the Pink Pistols to Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, have filed amicus briefs, offering their take on the Second Amendment. But during oral arguments, Justice Anthony Kennedy and his conservative brethren seemed to fully embrace the gun lobby's favorite romantic myth that the founders, inspired by the image of the musket in the hands of a minuteman, wrote the Second Amendment to give Americans the right to take up arms to fight government tyranny. But what the founders really had in mind, according to some constitutional-law scholars, was the musket in the hands of a slave owner. That is, these scholars believe the founders enshrined the right to bear arms in the Constitution in part to enforce tyranny, not fight it.

    Last week at an American Constitution Society briefing on the Heller case, NAACP Legal Defense Fund president John Payton explained the ugly history behind the gun lobby's favorite amendment. "That the Second Amendment was the last bulwark against the tyranny of the federal government is false," he said. Instead, the "well-regulated militias" cited in the Constitution almost certainly referred to state militias that were used to suppress slave insurrections. Payton explained that the founders added the Second Amendment in part to reassure southern states, such as Virginia, that the federal government wouldn’t use its new power to disarm state militias as a backdoor way of abolishing slavery.

    This is pretty well-documented history, thanks to the work of Roger Williams School of Law professor Carl T. Bogus. In a 1998 law-review article based on a close analysis of James Madison’s original writings, Bogus explained the South’s obsession with militias during the ratification fights over the Constitution. “The militia remained the principal means of protecting the social order and preserving white control over an enormous black population,” Bogus writes. “Anything that might weaken this system presented the gravest of threats.” He goes on to document how anti-Federalists Patrick Henry and George Mason used the fear of slave rebellions as a way of drumming up opposition to the Constitution and how Madison eventually deployed the promise of the Second Amendment to placate Virginians and win their support for ratification.

    None of this figured into Tuesday's arguments at the Supreme Court. Instead, a majority of the justices, especially Kennedy, seemed to buy the story that the founders were inordinately concerned with the ability of early settlers to use guns to fend off wild animals and Indians, not rebellious slaves. (Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick counts pivotal swing-voter Kennedy making no fewer than four mentions of a mythical "remote settler," who Kennedy suggested would have needed a gun to "defend himself and his family against hostile Indian tribes and outlaws, wolves and bears, and grizzlies.")

    Just as the court largely ignored the racist past of the Second Amendment, its focus on self-defense also glossed over the more obvious racial implications of the decision it was reviewing. The plaintiff, Heller, is a white man who lives in a 60 percent black city whose democratically elected leaders long ago decided that handguns were doing more harm than good to its citizenry. Indeed, while two of the original five plaintiffs in the Heller case are black women, not a whole lot of African Americans in the District appear to be out there clamoring to own more handguns for self-defense.

    In an interview, Bogus says that polls consistently show that African Americans support gun control in much higher numbers than white people do, and probably for good reason: They're usually the ones looking at the wrong end of the barrel. As the NAACP points out in its brief on Heller, in D.C. in 2004, there were 137 gun-homicide victims. All but two of them were black. If the Supreme Court invalidates the city’s handgun ban, any ensuing uptick in gun violence is likely to have a disproportionate impact on African Americans, particularly young men.

    Of course, it won’t only be young black men who suffer should the court decide that D.C. residents need more handguns. In fact, someone ought to remind Justice Kennedy about what happens when the wrong people get guns—namely the average, law-abiding D.C. residents who would supposedly benefit from the new gun ownership rights. With all his concern with grizzly bears, Kennedy has clearly forgotten about Carl Rowan Sr.

    Back in 1988, the African American syndicated columnist shot an unarmed, 18-year-old white kid from Chevy Chase who'd gone for an unauthorized dip in Rowan's swimming pool. Rowan, who shot the kid in the wrist as he tried to flee, claimed he'd feared for his life and was only defending himself. Nonetheless, the columnist was prosecuted for illegally possessing a handgun. The trial ended with a hung jury and Rowan escaped punishment (though the teenagers were sentenced to community service), but the incident fueled a tremendous amount of racial tension in the city that might have been avoided if Rowan had just, say, called the cops.

    Gun-wielding journalists who can’t shoot straight may not be the bulwark against tyranny libertarians had in mind. Yet they’re just one of the many scary scenarios the District faces should the court rely on language inspired by slavery and the libertarians’ whitewashed version of American history to restrict the ability of a majority black city to protect its citizens from gun violence.

    (Photo of crime scene tape in front of the Supreme Court by flickr user takomabibelot used under a Creative Commons license.)

    Stephanie Mencimer is a reporter in Mother Jones' Washington, D.C., bureau and the author of Blocking the Courthouse Door: How the Republican Party and Its Corporate Allies Are Taking Away Your Right to Sue (Free Press, 2006).

    EmailE-mail article

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    This article has been made possible by the Foundation for National Progress, the Investigative Fund of Mother Jones, and gifts from generous readers like you.

    © 2008" /> The Foundation for National Progress
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    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    Well, he's right, of course! It could not have had anything to do with the Revolution that was won against tyranny by citizens who were armed. I don't know what I was thinking.
    There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

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    Senior Member Array stanislaskasava's Avatar
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    Just as the court largely ignored the racist past of the Second Amendment, its focus on self-defense also glossed over the more obvious racial implications of the decision it was reviewing. The plaintiff, Heller, is a white man who lives in a 60 percent black city whose democratically elected leaders long ago decided that handguns were doing more harm than good to its citizenry. Indeed, while two of the original five plaintiffs in the Heller case are black women, not a whole lot of African Americans in the District appear to be out there clamoring to own more handguns for self-defense.

    In an interview, Bogus says that polls consistently show that African Americans support gun control in much higher numbers than white people do, and probably for good reason: They're usually the ones looking at the wrong end of the barrel. As the NAACP points out in its brief on Heller, in D.C. in 2004, there were 137 gun-homicide victims. All but two of them were black. If the Supreme Court invalidates the city’s handgun ban, any ensuing uptick in gun violence is likely to have a disproportionate impact on African Americans, particularly young men.
    What a crock! So we're supposed to believe that Mr. Heller is suing D.C. for the right to shoot young black men? Or that the majority of African Americans are murdered by white people? Or that race has anything to do with anything?

    Why must we continuously analyze and categorize everything by race? When is there ever a good reason to group people together by the color of their skin? How about we group criminals together and throw away the key.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Sounds like a Bogus explanation to me.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    I don't care what the argument is anymore somewhere in the BS it becomes a race issue,as far as I can tell if it wasn't for all the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jackson's stirring the racial cess pool we wouldn't have a race problem but if it went away they would no longer be needed,
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    Member Array Rivers's Avatar
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    Hey, give the writer a break! It is, after all, a work of fiction - just misfiled as a factual piece.

    No matter how much anyone grouches now, on either side, it's up to SCOTUS to settle the issue. The pendulum is about to swing in the other direction.

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    Not attempting to appear a bigot, black on black crime is rampant. I haven't seen much of the white man gunning for the black man as of late. It's obvious to me, that it's the white mans fault for the shootings of white and black criminals who do not support the second amendment. Amazing, now the antis are playing a race card. I thought that was the last stop when backed into a corner. How about realistically, criminals will suffer from the repeal of the DC hand gun ban in DC, white or black ones. If you don't like it, choose a different occupation. I dont see why the masses should suffer for a select few. I think I shall hurl. Sorry if I offended anyone. My filter is broken today. I think it, I type it.
    Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
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    Senior Member Array Free American's Avatar
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    I have got to say I am so tired of EVERYTHING being a race issue!
    They who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin


    Previously known as "cjm5874"

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    The attempt to couch the second amendment as racist is falacious on several levels. The main point that I'll add, is that the same argument of racism/classism could be made against all of the provisions of the Bill of Rights. The "people" was once interpreted quite narrowly. It took many years and lives to secure these guarantees for all the people.

    It is right and proper that, regardless of originally intended class or racial restrictions, basic human rights, including the right to keep and bear arms, be secure from governmental infringement.
    Cheers,
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    VIP Member Array SatCong's Avatar
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    Does the non-shooting person, believe this bull?
    NRA PATRON LIFE
    BROWN WATER NAVY

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    that has got to be some of the kookiest stuff i've seen on this topic

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    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    If you guys know anyone that believes anything in that article send them my way. I have some riverbottom land for sale...
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller

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    Quote Originally Posted by stanislaskasava View Post
    How about we group criminals together and throw away the key.
    +1 Nuff said.
    I haven’t heard any of the journalists who volunteered to be waterboarded asking to have their fingernails wrenched out with pliers, or electrodes attached to their genitals.

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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Gee.

    It's such a pity that the time to file a brief for the Supreme Court to consider is LONG past.



    I mean, I'm sure the scholarship in this article would have been the lynchpin of D.C.'s case...

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    How about an article based on history?

    Cramer: Racist Roots of Gun Control (1995)
    You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
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