ATF Misses the Mark in Social Media Post Celebrating Black History Month

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

For some people (and most government agencies), the best thing to say is nothing at all, and that’s really something the ATF needs to heed. In this instance, the particular foot in their mouth comes while they try to make a celebratory Black History Month social media post.


During #BlackHistoryMonth, we honor and celebrate the rich history of African Americans and acknowledge their immeasurable contributions, achievements and sacrifices that have helped shape our nation. The theme set for Black History Month 2024, “African Americans and the Arts,” spans the many impacts Black Americans have had on visual arts, music, cultural movements, and more. Learn how you can celebrate this year’s theme at #WeAreATF

We can sit and think to ourselves about how nice it is for the ATF to be so inclusive and celebratory. What they mean by “and more,” I don’t know, but we do get a small glimpse of what our favorite agency thinks.

Reaching out and talking about the contributions our Black citizens have made to society is, I’d say, with merit. However, the ATF is the agency that’s in charge of executing laws that are disproportionately enforced against Black citizens. When the ATF says they “honor and celebrate the rich history of African Americans,” do they mean by seeing that more Blacks are charged and convicted for breaking gun laws?

We know that gun control has racist roots, that would make the ATF fruit from a poison tree in my book. The sad reality is the Department of Justice, which the ATF answers to, was formed to protect the rights of Black citizens postbellum.


The racist roots of the laws that are used to keep what some consider “unfit elements” of society from being armed is not a secret. These roots were recently re-highlighted in United States District Judge, Roger T. Benitez’ opinion in Rhode v. Bonta.

The Rhode decision found California’s ammunition permitting scheme to be unconstitutional. This decision caused Bonta to go on a little tirade, denouncing the “harmful District Court Decision overturning established ammunition laws.” Bonta went on to say, “These laws were put in place as a safeguard and a way of protecting the people of California — and they work.”

“We will continue to fight for our authority to keep Californians safe. We will move promptly to seek an immediate stay of this decision so these ammunition laws can remain in effect. The Supreme Court was clear that Bruen did not create a regulatory straitjacket for states — and we believe that the district court got this wrong. We will move quickly to correct this  dangerous mistake. We will not stop in our efforts to protect the safety of communities, and Californians’ rights to go about their business without fear of becoming victims of gun violence, while at the same time respecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.” – California Attorney General Bonta on Rhode


Benitez’s opinion points out explicitly what Bonta thinks while he’s trying to defend the law – and other laws – by what analogues the State used. Who did Bonta mean when he said he’s all for “respecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.”? Who’s Bonta “protecting” by embracing these civil-liberty-crushing laws? From Rhode:

The State’s compilation lists 48 laws which made it a crime to possess a gun and ammunition by Negros, Mulattos, slaves, or persons of color, and two laws that prohibited sales to Indians. For example, the Attorney General lists a 1798 Kentucky law which prohibited any “Negro, mulatto, or Indian” from possessing any gun or ammunition. An 1846 North Carolina law offers another example wherein it was prohibited to sell or deliver firearms to “any slave.” This is the third time theAttorney General has cited these laws in support for its laws and restrictions implicating the Second Amendment. These fifty laws identified by the Attorney General constitute a long, embarrassing, disgusting, insidious, reprehensible list of examples of government tyranny towards our own people.

As we spring into Black History Month, let us keep in mind the centuries of gun control aimed at Black Americans and the impact that they have had, even if they weren’t able to eradicate the ability to bear arms. Blacks were – and still are – clearly a target of many of these egregious laws. Seeing these former laws to be considered appropriate analogues by progressive California is, as Benitez noted, “embarrassing, disgusting, insidious, [and] reprehensible.” We know the left’s history when it comes to what they think about the Black population and their civil liberties.


The ATF trying to celebrate Black History Month out of one corner of their mouth, while being responsible for the incarceration of so many Black people makes them a total clown show. If the ATF wants to really celebrate Black History Month, they’d own up to their failures, apologize for their overreach, and ask for forgiveness for breaking their collective oaths. There’s zero honor in executing unconstitutional laws that are simply malum prohibitum. But, happy Black History Month, Love the ATF.

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