A Frederick Douglass follow-up
Author: Joshua Thompson
The PLF Liberty Blog received some record hits this past week, largely as a result of Tim Sandefur’s post, “Give us the freedom intended for us.” The post received numerous links from both The Volokh Conspiracy and Instapundit. For those that haven’t read it, here’s a snippet:
In December of 1872, Frederick Douglass, civil rights leader and former slave, published an editorial in his newspaper, the New National Era, entitled “Give Us The Freedom Intended For Us.” In it he demanded that Congress pass Sen. Charles Sumner’s proposed Civil Rights Bill, to protect the rights of black Americans who were entitled, under the new Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, to equality and freedom, but who were suffering under a reign of terror in southern states ruled by the Ku Klux Klan and allied white supremacists. Americans needed federal protection against abusive state governments, he insisted. In the years since the Civil War, there were some 1500 recorded lynchings, and southern states were not only barring blacks from voting or serving on juries, but from owning weapons to defend themselves. Citizenship, Douglass was to say in his memoir, rested on the three boxes: “the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.”
Some politicians cannot resist imposing gun control in cities with large minority populations, but the laws of the republic won’t allow it. The Second Amendment says the right to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed, let alone negated wholesale by a ban. Gun banners who don’t like the law simply violate it, hoping for the best.
No more. The U.S. Supreme Court may have finally ended illegal gun control. The court voted 5-4 against Chicago’s ban, giving clear direction to lower courts that had deferred gun ban challenges to the high court. In short order, the Chicago ban and others like it should go the way of Jim Crow laws.
If it seems gauche to compare gun bans with segregation, it’s only because Jim Crow laws are remembered in terms of separate drinking fountains and the like. Yet the most ominous Crow laws outlawed guns — for black people. Much of the Supreme Court’s decision Monday in McDonald v. Chicago was based on racial considerations and concerns about the routine murders of disarmed blacks.
You can read the rest of the editorial here.
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