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ACLU Promotes Kooky Second Amendment Theory

Charles Cooke of National Review Online turns his attention toward a bizarre claim from the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU has bought into the preposterous lie that the Second Amendment is intrinsically racist. …

… This, of course, is surreal nonsense from start to finish. … As even a cursory glance at the record shows, it is not gun rights that have been historically associated with racism, but gun control — and to the extent that, up until about 1970, the two ideas were utterly inextricable in American life. To look back through this country’s history and conclude that it was the advocates of the right to bear arms who were the problem is . . . well, it’s chutzpah on a level I didn’t know possible. Somehow, the people advancing this case have managed to take a position that was advanced by figures such as Justice Roger Taney and outfits such as the Ku Klux Klan, and to pin it onto their opponents — many of whom, like the men who drafted the 14th Amendment, were explicitly fighting against the widespread attempts to disarm free blacks. This is intellectual vandalism, and the ACLU should have no part of it.

That instead it has embraced the claim makes me wonder once again what exactly the ACLU is for. Last week, two amicus curiae briefs were filed in a pending Supreme Court case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, the material question in which is “Whether the State’s denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment.” The first brief was filed by the National African American Gun Association, and it’s an absolute tour de force. …

… The second brief was filed by a group of progressive public defenders who, while presumably not personally thrilled by the scope of the Second Amendment, are nevertheless alarmed by what they describe as “the real-life consequences of New York’s firearm licensing requirements on ordinary people.”

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...