Black conservative commentary

 

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms


by Richard Dimery

 

A New Visions Commentary paper published October 2003 by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited.

Our Declaration of Independence begins, "When, in the course of human events it becomes necessary..." This is important wording because it points out that we must always have the means to end a tyrannical government.

Tyranny doesn't always come with a bang. Sometimes, it comes as a myriad of little whimpers.

Likewise, the means and will of the people to rise up against tyranny can be stolen incrementally by convincing us to voluntarily yield it.

Patriot's Day, observed on April 19, marks the anniversary of "the shot heard 'round the world" when the colonists committed themselves to throwing off their oppressive British rulers. The militia - individuals who valued liberty - banded together in resistance. That armed rebellion resulted in our independence, and it wouldn't have been possible if the colonists allowed their guns to be confiscated.

With this realization fresh in their memory, the Founding Fathers affirmed our basic and inalienable right to gun ownership in the Bill of Rights.

In the 1850s, Dred Scott sued as a free black man to obtain citizenship. In his majority opinion, Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney wrote that those of an "inferior race" should not enjoy the right to keep and bear arms. His statement certainly met with the approval of those who would become Night Riders - who preferred unarmed victims.

By coincidence, however, Taney affirmed the wide belief in the Second Amendment individual right to keep and bear arms for (at the time, white) citizens. But giving a black man the ability to defend himself, or even hunt for food, was not a freedom many whites were willing to give to blacks back then.

Even after the Emancipation Proclamation freed our ancestors from bondage, we could still not rely on law enforcement for protection. Rioting whites in Rosewood, Florida and East St. Louis, Illinois during the first part of the 20th century were deterred from inflicting further harm on black communities there largely because black residents had guns.

Today, our citizenship is not an issue. The right to keep and bear arms is not a "color" issue, except when our culture can be manipulated.

The NAACP is now suing gun manufacturers for allegedly flooding our neighborhoods with guns - pursuing an agenda that ultimately includes denying ownership rights to all, including peaceable black citizens. But all people have the right to self-defense. And all citizens must have the ability to become a militia, or else liberty's safeguard is lost.

Both white and black leaders exhort us to let only law enforcement possess guns. This directly contradicts all the lessons of the past. As the masses become more dependent on government for protection and handouts, government power and invincibility grows. When the government controls the guns, the government's power grab becomes absolute. Just ask the victims of dictators such as Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein.

Our "black leadership" argues that we, a spiritual and moral people, cannot responsibly possess weapons. But, for the reasons cited previously, disarming America is not in our best interests. Total defenselessness invites continued government excesses and criminal victimization. Government does not exist to guarantee total security of every person. Until help arrives, only the individual can act in his own best interest. At the same time, only an unjust government need fear the people and their arms.

Question our "leaders." Question their true agenda. "We the People" must demand, defend and invoke the Second Amendment's guarantee of gun ownership.

We must demand that our leaders, public and private, honor our rights and our Constitution. Of all the rights to be upheld, this one is premier. Without it, all others are lost. For if we ever allow ourselves to be totally disarmed for even an instant, that right bears little likelihood of being restored.

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(Richard Dimery is a member of the National Advisory Council of the African-American leadership network Project 21. Comments may be sent to Project21@na[email protected].)


Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.

 

 


 

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