Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Chicago's Top Cop: The Racist Roots of Gun Rights?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, newly appointed by anti-gun Mayor Rahm Emanuel, has wasted no time in sharing his views on Chicagoans’ individual right to keep and bear arms. Less than a month after his approval by the City Council, McCarthy attended a service at St. Sabina’s Church (a parish led by anti-gun extremist Father Michael Pfleger) and made a speech claiming that a lack of restrictive gun control laws is “government sponsored racism.”

Those with a better understanding of history will find themselves confused trying to interpret McCarthy’s logic, as decades of scholarship have proven just the opposite; that gun control, rather than its absence, has often been used as a means of government sponsored racism.

In his 1995 Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy article, “The Racist Roots of Gun Control,” Second Amendment scholar Clayton E. Cramer outlines the historical case that “racism underlies gun control laws.” Cramer notes that racist gun control in America stretches as far back as 1751 with a French law in the Louisiana territory that required colonists to “‘[i]f necessary,’ beat ‘any black carrying any potential weapon, such as a cane.’”

Though Superintendent McCarthy might be excused for not looking that far back, he should certainly be aware of last year’s U.S. Supreme Court opinion in the case of McDonald v. Chicago.  In a concurring opinion in that case, Justice Clarence Thomas explained that in the years preceding the Civil War, “Many legislatures amended their laws prohibiting slaves from carrying firearms to apply the prohibition to free blacks as well.” After the Civil War, little improved.  Justice Thomas writes: “Some States formally prohibited blacks from possessing firearms… Others enacted legislation prohibiting blacks from carrying firearms without a license, a restriction not imposed on whites.”

Other Reconstruction Era (and later) laws were less candid. For example, an 1870 Tennessee law barred the sale of all but the most expensive pistols, effectively disarming newly freed blacks and the poor.  New York’s Sullivan Law of 1911, requiring a permit for handgun possession, was largely targeted at Italians and other disfavored immigrant groups. (That law is still on the books.)  And the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was denied a concealed carry permit in Alabama under a similar discretionary permitting law—even after his house had been bombed.

We suggest that in the future, Superintendent McCarthy might do a little more research before conflating respect for a fundamental individual right with its antithesis, government-sponsored racism.

TRENDING NOW
First, Carry No Gun: Police Chief Gets Inhospitable Reception at Texas Medical Clinic

News  

Friday, August 18, 2017

First, Carry No Gun: Police Chief Gets Inhospitable Reception at Texas Medical Clinic

We recently reported on claims that “gun safety advocates” in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services have given a U.S. Marine Corps. veteran an untenable choice: custody of his grandson or his constitutional ...

Elizabeth Warren Urges Democrats to Champion Gun Control, Shut Down Debate

News  

Friday, August 18, 2017

Elizabeth Warren Urges Democrats to Champion Gun Control, Shut Down Debate

Just as many in the Democratic Party are seeking to moderate their message in order to once again compete as a national political party, some high-profile Democrats are urging the party to lurch further left ...

Oregon: Governor Signs Anti-Gun Bill into Law

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Oregon: Governor Signs Anti-Gun Bill into Law

Yesterday, Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 719A.  Based on a California law enacted in 2014, SB 719A will create a so-called “Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO) that could be obtained by a law enforcement ...

California: Ruling in NRA/CRPA Lawsuit Reigns in DOJ’s Misuse of DROS Fees

Friday, August 18, 2017

California: Ruling in NRA/CRPA Lawsuit Reigns in DOJ’s Misuse of DROS Fees

A California state court issued an important ruling in the NRA and CRPA supported case of Gentry v. Becerra, holding DOJ accountable for its historical mismanagement and misuse of DROS (dealer record of sale) account funds.

American Bar Association Continues to Attack Gun Owners, Due Process

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, August 18, 2017

American Bar Association Continues to Attack Gun Owners, Due Process

The 2016 compilation of legislative policies of the ABA includes a raft of gun control proposals. In it, the ABA advocates for outmoded gun control measures, such as limits on the sale and possession of ...

Washington: Department of Labor & Industries Targeting Shooting Ranges

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Washington: Department of Labor & Industries Targeting Shooting Ranges

At the request of Public Health, Seattle & King County, the Washington Department of Labor and Industries has released a “first draft” of a new statewide regulatory scheme targeting lead and lead exposure in the workplace. ...

Arizona Supreme Court Rebuffs Tucson’s Illegal Destruction of Firearms

News  

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Arizona Supreme Court Rebuffs Tucson’s Illegal Destruction of Firearms

On Thursday, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously held that the state was within its authority to prohibit cities and counties from routinely destroying firearms obtained through forfeiture or as unclaimed property. State law holds that ...

Trump Administration Ends Another Obama-era Anti-Gun Policy

News  

Friday, August 18, 2017

Trump Administration Ends Another Obama-era Anti-Gun Policy

Justice Department to End ‘Operation Choke Point’

Stossel Report Reinforces Urgent Need for Congressional Action

Second Amendment  

Gun Laws  

News  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Stossel Report Reinforces Urgent Need for Congressional Action

Award-winning journalist John Stossel published a report this week that provides a timely reminder that – nearly a decade after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller – law abiding gun ...

California: 2017 Legislative Session Reconvenes on Monday

Thursday, August 17, 2017

California: 2017 Legislative Session Reconvenes on Monday

On Monday, August 21, the California Legislature will reconvene from Summer recess.  Below is the status on the firearm-related bills still moving through the legislative process.  Please send an email to your state legislators respectfully urging ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.