A college professor shows once again that Americans are better off keeping their tuition money in their own pockets.
Carol Anderson, the chairwoman of Emory University’s Black Studies Department, has authored a new book the Second Amendment.
She claims in her tome, which was released on June 1, that gun-rights laws were intended to keep black Americans “powerless and vulnerable.”
Yet the history of actual gun-control laws says just the opposite.
In an interview on CNN just prior to her book’s release, according to the conservative group Campus Reform, Anderson maintained that the inability to impose tougher gun control laws after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 was rooted in an “underlying fear that if there are real gun safety laws then whites will be left defenseless against these black people.”
Anderson also said she was motivated to write her book after the shooting of Philando Castile, a black man who tried to inform a police officer who had pulled him over that he had a gun and was shot to death during the encounter.
“Here was a black man who was pulled over by police who followed NRA guidelines in letting the police officer know that he had a license to carry a weapon. And that led to Philando Castile being shot dead,” said Anderson, who denounced the National Rifle Association for insufficiently criticizing the shooting.
Conservatives and gun-rights’ proponents might agree with her about the circumstances of Castile’s tragic killing. He appeared to be complying with the officer’s directions during a traffic stop but was shot by a cop made jumpy once Castile told him he had a gun, which he was licensed to carry.
But her argument about the Second Amendment is nonsensical.
For one thing, Anderson might want to question how all those black lives are lost every weekend to shootings in Chicago, which has some of the toughest anti-Second Amendment laws in the country.
The other thing that torpedoes her theory is that Anderson doesn’t know her history.
In fact, more than 50 years ago, some of the staunchest proponents of the Second Amendment were the Black Panthers.
Ten years ago, UCLA law professor Adam Winkler wrote a book that argued gun control – not gun rights under the Second Amendment – was the product of scared white people.
In May 1967, 30 armed Panthers walked into the state Capitol in California to protest a new gun-control law. Bobby Seale, one of the Panthers’ leaders, noted in a statement that the law was “aimed at keeping the black people disarmed and powerless.”
Open carry was allowed under California law, and the Panthers were the foremost practitioners of it. They had formed their own armed “police” patrols in Oakland because they argued, the “racist” cops could not be trusted.
As Winkler wrote in The Atlantic in 2011, “Don Mulford, a conservative Republican state assemblyman from Alameda County, which includes Oakland, was determined to end the Panthers’ police patrols. To disarm the Panthers, he proposed a law that would prohibit the carrying of a loaded weapon in any California city.”
Winkler reported that then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party’s contemporary patron saint, sounded much like a modern Democrat, or the chairwoman of the Black Studies Department at Emory University, when he told reporters the day after the Panthers’ Capitol protest that he saw “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.”
“The fear inspired by black people with guns also led the United States Congress to consider new gun restrictions, after the summer of 1967 brought what the historian Harvard Sitkoff called the ‘most intense and destructive wave of racial violence the nation had ever witnessed,” Winkler wrote.
It’s worth noting that at the time both Congress and the White House were controlled by Democrats.
That year, Winkler added, after the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Sen. Bobby Kennedy, “Congress passed the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, the first federal gun-control law in 30 years. Months later, the Gun Control Act of 1968 amended and enlarged it.”
“Together, these laws greatly expanded the federal licensing system for gun dealers and clarified which people — including anyone previously convicted of a felony, the mentally ill, illegal drug users, and minors — were not allowed to own firearms. More controversially, the laws restricted the importation of ‘Saturday Night Specials’ — the small, cheap, poor-quality handguns so named by Detroit police for their association with urban crime, which spiked on weekends. Because these inexpensive pistols were popular in minority communities, one critic said the new federal gun legislation ‘was passed not to control guns but to control blacks.’”
“Indisputably,” Winkler noted, “for much of American history, gun-control measures, like many other laws, were used to oppress African Americans.”
Again, such laws, even though launched by California Republicans, were enacted at the federal level by Democrats.
Professor Anderson might want to do more homework before going on CNN to argue that America needs more restrictive gun control laws. Meanwhile, parents should find a better use for the $54,000 a year it costs to send their children to Emory University.
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