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CA – COURTS – 9th Circuit judge writes of gun control’s racist origins

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out California’s ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, Friday, Aug. 14, saying the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s protection of the right to bear firearms. There is a story from The Associated Press online at www.myvalleynews.com outlining this decision. The court found that magazines are protected and “commonly owned.” The ban “substantially burdened” the right of self-defense and the state’s ban was not the “least restrictive means” to achieve its interests. What I also found interesting was Judge Kenneth Lee’s write-up and inclusion of some of our country’s racist origins of gun control on page 34-38 of his response. “Perhaps the most poignant and persuasive reminder of the fundamental right to self-defense rests in the denial of that right to Black Americans during tragic chapters of our country’s history,” Lee said, “After the founding, Southern states often severely limited, or outright prohibited, firearm possession by slaves, freedmen and others. The judicial branch, too, played a role in denying this fundamental right of self-defense to Blacks. In the infamous Dred Scott v. Sanford decision, Chief Justice Taney recited a parade of horribles if Black Americans were to be considered citizens: it would give Blacks the “right to enter every other state whenever they pleased,” to exercise “full liberty of speech,” to “hold public meetings upon political affairs,” and “to keep and carry arms wherever they went,” according to 60 U.S. 393, 417 in 1857. It did not get much better even after a bloody war that tore the country apart. Post-Civil War state legislation and the Black Codes in the South deprived newly freed slaves of their Second Amendment rights, see McDonald, 561 U.S. at 771. Meanwhile, armed bands of ex-Confederates roamed the countryside forcibly disarming and terrorizing African Americans. The Radical Republicans in Congress fought back against these “systematic efforts … to disarm.” Black Americans by enacting the Freedmen’s Bureau Act of 1866 and the Civil Rights Acts of 1866, both of which guaranteed all persons the right of self-defense.  [full article]

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