The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asserted on Sunday that the Second Amendment’s foundation is racist.
“Racism is foundational to the Second Amendment and its inclusion in the Bill of Rights,” the group tweeted. “Learn more from experts Carol Anderson and Charles Howard Candler on this episode of the At Liberty podcast.”
According to the ACLU, “anti-Blackness” led to the Second Amendment’s inclusion in the Bill of Rights, and has led to the “unequal and racist application of gun laws.”
On the At Liberty podcast on July 16, Anderson said African Americans are viewed as a “threat” whether they’re armed or unarmed due to “anti-blackness.”
Anderson went on to argue that the Second Amendment was an attempt to “bribe” southern slave owners so they wouldn’t “undermine” the United States Constitution. Southerners needed a way to protect their private “property,” and were worried that slaves could overtake the South, Anderson alleged.
Anderson is the author of “The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America,” and Candler is a professor of African American Studies at Emory University.
The ACLU echoed Anderson’s claims, writing, “The gun violence epidemic continues to spark debate about the Second Amendment and who has a right to bear arms. But often absent in these debates is the intrinsic anti-Blackness of the unequal enforcement of gun laws, and the relationship between appeals to gun rights and the justification of militia violence.”
“Throughout the history of this country, the rhetoric of gun rights has been selectively manipulated and utilized to inflame white racial anxiety, and to frame Blackness as an inherent threat.”
The ACLU’s claim came under fire on social media, where critics accused the group of becoming a mouthpiece for leftist ideology.
“The ACLU had a good run as a civil rights organization but it’s hard to see it as anything other than a leftist identity group now,” firearms reporter and founder of “The Reload” website Stephen Gutowski tweeted. “They’re even willing to lie about a civil right for cheap likes from their core demo.”
Journalist Glenn Greenwald also spoke out against the group. “The ACLU is now waging war on the Bill of Rights,” Greenwald wrote on Twitter. “ACLU’s position on the Second Amendment has always been nuanced: it’s an important constitutional protection, but one that’s collective, not individual. Now they’re full on proclaiming parts of the Bill of Rights to be racist.”
The Second Amendment states “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Standing in stark contrast to the ACLU’s claims, Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States who helped author the constitution, wrote in The Federalist Papers, “The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.”
“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government,” Hamilton continued.