Gun Laws & Legislation

ACLU: Second Amendment Is Inherently Racist

(Photo by SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images)

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) claimed Sunday that the foundation of the Second Amendment is racist.

“Racism is foundational to the Second Amendment and its inclusion in the Bill of Rights,” the organization tweeted.

Historian and author Carol Anderson claimed in a recent episode of ACLU’s “At Liberty” podcast that African Americans are perceived as a “threat,” both armed and unarmed, and that the common denominator is “anti-Blackness.” (RELATED: ‘Gun Control Has Been Racist’: ‘Black Guns Matter’ Activist Explains Why There’s A Surge In Firearm Sales To Black Americans)

Anderson argued that the Second Amendment is an “outlier” in the Bill of Rights and claimed it was enshrined as a right to “bribe” the South to not “undermine” the U.S. and the Constitution. Anderson claimed Southerners needed protection for their “property” and were afraid enslaved Americans could take up arms and crush the South.

The ACLU echoes the sentiment, writing on their website that “Anti-Blackness determined the inclusion of the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, and has informed the unequal and racist application of gun laws.”

“The gun violence epidemic continues to spark debate about the Second Amendment and who has a right to bear arms,” the ACLU wrote. “But often absent in these debates is the intrinsic anti-Blackness of the unequal enforcement of gun laws, and the relationship between appeals to gun rights and the justification of militia violence.”

“Throughout the history of this country, the rhetoric of gun rights has been selectively manipulated and utilized to inflame white racial anxiety, and to frame Blackness as an inherent threat.”

Critics fired back at the claim that the Second Amendment has a racist foundation.

Firearms reporter and founder of The Reload Stephen Gutowski claimed the ACLU was “willing to lie about a civil right for cheap likes from their core demo.”

Journalist Glenn Greenwald claimed the ACLU is “waging war on the Bill of Rights.”

A senior writer at National Review, David Harsanyi called the argument “abject nonsense.”

The Second Amendment reads “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the Virginia Constitution, frequently wrote about the importance of individuals to keep and bear arms. In a 1787 letter to William Stephens Smith, who served in the Revolution and later in Congress, Jefferson wrote “what country before ever existed a century & a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”

Jefferson repeatedly emphasized the idea that individuals should have the right to keep and bear arms throughout drafts of the document. “No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms,” the first draft of the Virginia Constitution stated.

The Founders agreed the Second Amendment was necessary, as no federal government should infringe on the right to keep and bear arms. Weary of a peacetime standing army, the Founders allowed citizens to take up arms to defend their state. Furthermore, the Founders recognized that militias would be loyal and responsive to the will of the people, rather than the will of a government.

While some scholars argue the Second Amendment was created solely to prevent Congress from taking away a state’s right to self-defense with a militia, rather than allowing individuals to keep and bear arms, founding father George Mason once said “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.”

Black Americans were barred from owning firearms for decades, both before and after the Civil War. But the intent of the Second Amendment was focused on the individual right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of fending off an unruly federal government, according to writings of the Founders.

‘Black Guns Matter’ Founder Maj Toure told the Daily Caller that black Americans should arm themselves and not depend on the government. Toure explained that gun control, which is frequently pushed by Democrats, is rooted in racism.

Gun rights activist Colion Noir told the Caller that the “genesis of gun control was designed to keep guns out of the hands of black people.”