David Frum

02.02.13

Gun Laws Racist? Black People Disagree

In today's Daily Caller, NRA president David Keene explains that gun control laws are "historically racist."

“You know, when you go back in our history … the initial wave of [gun-control laws] was instituted after the Civil War to deny blacks the ability to defend themselves,” Keene said.

This will come as news to black people themselves, who favor laws controlling gun rights by a margin of greater than 2-1.

GUN RIGHTS AND GUN CONTROL - SEPTEMBER 2010
(From Pew) What do you think is more important – to protect the right of Americans to own guns, OR to control gun ownership? ()

(Hispanics - in case you were wondering - emphasize gun control by a margin of over 3-1; women of child-bearing age also favor gun control over gun rights, again by a margin of 2-1. Women over 50 are less anti-gun, but they still emphasize gun control over gun rights by a margin of 10 points. Gun rights are a cause that most intensely stirs older white men with some college education: the Republican base, in other words.)

Yes, historically, there were attempts to keep guns from black people. It's also historically true that one of the most important functions of the "well-regulated militias" celebrated in the Second Amendment was to deter and suppress slave insurrections.

The gun plays an important complicated role in American history, for good and bad. But here in the American present, the verdict is clear: if you sincerely respect and value the opinions of black Americans, you'll recognize that they perceive modern rapid-fire weapons as a deadly threat to their children and their communities.