OUR VIEW: Gun bans kill black people (vote in poll)

June 28, 2010

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.

The majority ruling explained how the 14th Amendment was enacted to uphold gun rights for blacks.

“After the Civil War, the Southern states engaged in systematic efforts to disarm and injure African Americans,” says the ruling. “In Congressional debates on the proposed Amendment (14th), its legislative proponents in the 39th Congress referred to the right to keep and bear arms as a fundamental right deserving of protection.”

A typical Jim Crow law was the Mississippi statute that said “no freedman, free negro or mulatto, not in the military service of the United States government, and not licensed so to do by the board of police of his or her county, shall keep or carry firearms of any kind.”

The McDonald ruling said Chicago homicides in 2010 equal the death toll of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan combined this year. In Chicago, 80 percent of the victims are black.

“If, as petitioners believe, their safety and the safety of other law-abiding members of the community would be enhanced by the possession of handguns in the home for self-defense, then the Second Amendment right protects the rights of minorities and other residents of high-crime areas,” the ruling states.

(Please vote in poll to the right in red type. Must vote to see results. Thanks!)

Chicago Alderman Tom Allen said Monday the city’s 1982 handgun ban has done no good, pointing out that 26 people were shot in Chicago over the weekend. Murderers like gun bans. They ignore them; their victims usually don’t.

Though advocates of equal justice and freedom should celebrate the McDonald ruling, politicians are already plotting to hedge against it. The Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday that Mayor Richard Daley wants to require extensive training for gun owners, frequent firearms registration, recurring criminal background checks and a possible insurance requirement for gun owners. He’ll make it too expensive for average citizens to keep and bear arms. Poll taxes made it too expensive for minorities to vote, but the 14th Amendment ultimately prevailed.

Some politicians simply cannot stand for individual rights and equal protection — no matter what the law says.

Wayne Laugesen , editorial page editor, for the editorial board. Friend him on Facebook

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