“The View” is not exactly where Americans turn when they are looking for learned conversation about their constitutional rights. Nonetheless, many daytime television watchers are influenced by the commentators, whom we might charitably say are not always experts in the matters they are talking about.
On Friday, co-host Sunny Hostin espoused the latest ridiculous revisionist theory about the meaning of the Second Amendment. Much like the 1619 Project and other recent works of non-scholarship emanating from Woke pseudo-academics, it is entirely without historical merit. Watch:
“Sunny, well, what do you think is at the heart of America’s gun problem, Sunny?” Joy Behar asked.
“Well, you know, I think it’s a cultural problem,” Hostin said.
“If you look at the history of the NRA for decades, the NRA has pushed legislation that not only supported a lot of gun ownership and the proliferation of guns but stifled the study, spread of information right, about the causes of gun violence,” Hostin claimed.
“And when we talk about the culture of guns in this country I’m reading an incredible book called ‘The Second’ by professor Carol Anderson,” Hostin went on. “And she describes that the constitutional — the Second Amendment, really, the right to bear arms was designed to protect slavery, right, because they wanted our Founding Fathers and others, they wanted to be able to empower a local militia group to basically put down a slave revolts and protect plantation owners.”
“And so because of the origins of the Second Amendment many and because of the NRA, I think we’re seeing this proliferation of guns and gun ownership,” she went on. “But I will say that gun ownership is — is on the rise, of course, in this country, but the biggest gun ownership on the rise is among African-Americans.”
“It’s up 58.2 percent and in large part when they are questioned, they’re talking about white supremacy, they’re talking about the pandemic and they’re talking about police violence,” she added. “They want to be able to protect themselves. So this is not about a rise in crime in the streets, this is about people feeling unsafe, black Americans.”
It’s hard to know where to begin when unpacking this nonsensical stream of Woke propaganda. But let us start with the fundamental claim at hand: The Second Amendment was implemented to protect slavery.
Much like the majority of lies emanating from the radical left, it is almost exactly the opposite of the case: It was gun control that was implemented to protect slavery. Let us first note that Hostin is referring to an argument by author Carol Anderson. An overview is provided in the New York Times.
“In ‘The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America,’ the historian Carol Anderson argues that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provides for a ‘well regulated militia” and ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms,’ offers ‘a particularly maddening set of double standards where race is concerned’,” the Times notes. “On the one hand, she claims that slaveholding founding fathers insisted on the inclusion of the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights in order to assure themselves of a fighting force willing to suppress slave insurrections. On the other hand, she maintains that racist practices have deprived Blacks of access to arms that might have enabled them to defend themselves in the absence of equal protection of law.”
This is an absurd argument on its face. The Second Amendment was put into the Constitution as an individual right, first and foremost, and it has nothing to do with the right of ‘militias.’ George Mason professor Nelson Lund explained this in a talk to the Federalist Society.
“The Second Amendment is now among the most misunderstood provisions of the Constitution,” he said. “There are two schools of interpretation now: one that it’s about the right of individuals and the other that it’s about the right of a state to have a militia. Last year the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit became the first court to adopt the correct view: it’s an individual right. The operative phrase in the Amendment is ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ The prefatory phrase about militias is ‘an ablative absolute clause giving context for the main clause,’ and is illuminating in that function,” the professor notes.
“The Second Amendment does not say it protects the right of state militias to bear arms,” he explained.
“No one thinks that when the First Amendment speaks about the right of the people to petition the government that it means only to protect the rights of lobbyists for state governments,” Lund said. “It means individuals. What the Second Amendment is saying is you can’t disarm the people under the pretext of regulating the militia.”
Thus, the slaves in the southern state were being deprived of their individual rights under the Second Amendment. This is such an obvious point that we will not dwell further on it. Furthermore, the history of gun control is filled with examples of racist motivation. This is where Anderson is attempting to muddy the waters. It is actually the state that is responsible for oppressing slaves by failing to recognize their natural right to self-defense.
“The Racist Origins of US Gun Control” documents in exhaustive fashion the numerous cases where gun control had racist motivations. Steve Ekwall lists the “laws designed to disarm slaves, freedman, and African-Americans” year-by-year.
“Before the Civil War ended, State ‘Slave Codes’ prohibited slaves from owning guns,” Ekwall notes. “After President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and after the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolishing slavery was adopted and the Civil War ended in 1865, States persisted in prohibiting blacks, now freemen, from owning guns under laws renamed ‘Black Codes’.”
“They did so on the basis that blacks were not citizens, and thus did not have the same rights, including the right to keep and bear arms protected in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as whites,” Ekwall says, critically. “This view was specifically articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in its infamous 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford to uphold slavery.”
“The United States Congress overrode most portions of the Black Codes by passing the Civil Rights Act of 1866,” he continues. “The legislative histories of both the Civil Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as The Special Report of the Anti-Slavery Conference of 1867, are replete with denunciations of those particular statutes that denied blacks
equal access to firearms. However, facially neutral disarming through economic means laws remain in effect.”
“After the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1878, most States turned to ‘facially neutral”‘ business or transaction taxes on handgun purchases,” he adds. “However, the intention of these laws was not neutral. An article in Virginia’s official university law review called for a ‘prohibitive tax…on the privilege’ of selling handguns as a way of disarming ‘the son of Ham’ whose ‘cowardly practice of ‘toting’ guns has been one of the most fruitful sources of crime…. Let a negro board a railroad train with a quart of mean whiskey and a pistol in his grip and the chances are that there will be a murder, or at least a row, before he alights’,” the article stated.
Indicative of racist motivations for gun control policies in the 20th century was the Gun Control Act of 1968. “Avowed anti-gun journalist Robert Sherrill frankly admitted that the Gun Control Act of 1968 was ‘passed not to control guns but to control Blacks’.”
Sunny Hostin, unfortunately, was the only commentator on ‘The View’ to make an ignorant remark. There was also a comment made by pundit Ana Navarro.
“Look, I think we as a country have got to come to terms with the fact that this is now an epidemic in America. Not a pandemic because it’s not happening all over the world. It’s very much an American problem and we got to study it as such,” Navarro said. “And we got to stop looking at this as one or the other. We’ve got to stop looking at this as, oh, this is just happening in Democratic run cities, which is not.”
The cities are indeed where most of the surge in violent crime is taking place. Most of the worst cities for crime are run by Democratic mayors and city councils, and indeed, many of them have gun control policies in place.
Meghan McCain, on the other hand, stated that she was proud to be a gun owner and a member of the NRA.
“I’m a gun owner, I am a NRA member, I am proud to be both,” McCain said. “I think I never want to be lectured to by people who don’t own guns, who didn’t grow up in a gun culture, who don’t understand why women like me want to be armed, want to feel safe in my home, want to know that if there was an intruder that my husband would be able to protect me and my baby.”
“It’s very hard thing for people to understand, they don’t believe in it, and it’s one of the most polarizing issues in the United States of America,” she added. “But going forward I will always vote for any person and any party that continues to defend he Second Amendment no matter what happens. It is the cornerstone of who I am and what I believe America should be.”