While anti-Second Amendment types aren’t fans of hearing about how gun control was born in racism, they can’t escape that reality. Sure, plenty of people have tried to claim that the Second Amendment was really about racism itself, but that still requires them to ignore where their preferred policies come from.
However, are anti-gunners starting to sort of embrace those roots?
Well, they might.
You see, thanks to the Bruen decision, any attempt at gun control cannot survive legal challenges unless a similar law can be found to have existed around the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification. In other words, would it be possible for the Founding Fathers to have known and potentially supported such a restriction?
That’s at the core of a newer argument, one where gun control advocates are defending their measure with 18th-century laws. That might not be a great idea, though.
It’s telling when your best argument for a new law is to cite discredited laws of the past as part of your rationale.
But that’s just what New York State has resorted to in trying to convince a judge that its plethora of new restrictions making a permit to carry a handgun virtually useless should pass muster.
The footnote tries to distance the state from its own argument invoking the racist laws implemented by the colonists to keep guns away from Native Americans. State lawyers, as first noted on the website thereload.com, also cite the English Bill of Rights, which “established a right of the people to arm themselves,” while acknowledging that this right “was only given to Protestants, based on a continued belief that Catholics were likely to engage in conduct that would harm themselves or others and upset the peace.”
These bigoted precedents were cited to make the claim that the new law’s ambiguous “good moral character” requirement, as determined by bureaucrats, “is consistent with the long history in both England and America of disarming those whose associations, reputation, or conduct suggested they posed a danger to others or to the public order.”
In the next breath – albeit a shorter one, since it’s buried in the footnotes – the state sheepishly admits that its own examples “are based on racial or religious animus that is repugnant to a modern understanding of the Constitution.”
Yet does that footnote absolve New York officials from basic their new law on this older, racist law?
When Justice Clarence Thomas set out this new standard in Bruen, I have to wonder if he was aware that what laws existed at the time were like this. As a result, it’s impossible to push for gun control without embracing the racist history of gun control.
And since New York is doing just that, if it was an intentional trap of sorts, they fell right into it.
What’s troubling for me is that they’ll look at these original laws – laws that deprived a simple, basic right to people for no good reason – and then think, “This is awesome. Let’s do it all over again.”
They simply cannot see the parallels between the evils of then with the evils they’re trying to commit now.
But at the same time, they seem willing to step up to defend these racist laws, even while trying to denounce them in a footnote.
Further, don’t think this won’t come up during election time. Every lawmaker who supports this reasoning will see commercials about how they used long-outdated, racist laws to justify restrictions on law-abiding citizens. Any defense they offer of those laws will be held against them as well.
No, New York won’t become a red state over this or anything, but feet need to be held to the fire.
It’s one thing to use old laws to justify new ones. However, you can’t use laws like this and think no one will notice.