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When were the last openly racist gun laws repealed?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by axxxel, Sep 17, 2013.

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  1. axxxel

    axxxel Member

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    So I'm writing an essay on the 2nd amendment and some related topics. I have another thread regarding a completely different question. I figured this question deserved a thread of its own.

    When were the last openly racist gun laws repealed?

    Could blacks and coloreds bear arms in any state after the civil war, or were they not enabled to do so until later?

    Thank you

    Other thread: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=728897
     
  2. another pake

    another pake Member

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    You don't have to go back to the Civil War.

    Among your other research on this issue, please don't overlook the

    Japanese Internment Camps during WWII, right here on US soil.
    Over 127,000 persons, many naturalized and many born here, deprived of nearly all of their Constitutional Rights, not just 2nd A rights.

    Scary and shameful, and proves that many politicians and their constituents are more than willing to give away some one else's rights in order to gain a feeling of safety and security for themselves.

    Don't believe that it can't happen again.
     
  3. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

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    In the slave states prior to the Civil War, gun possession by slaves (and even free blacks) was of course prohibited. Immediately after the Civil War, some southern states passed laws that specifically applied to the freedmen (newly freed slaves) to try to continue this prohibition. But under Reconstruction, the Federal government facilitated the arming of the freedmen and helped them form militias to resist white-supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan. The 14th Amendment pretty much negated openly race-based laws. After the end of Reconstruction (1876), home rule was restored to the southern whites. They passed gun control laws that were not overtly race-based, but selective enforcement meant that in practice, they applied mostly to blacks.

    For a good discussion, you should read the following article:

    http://reason.com/archives/2005/02/15/the-klans-favorite-law
     
  4. tepin

    tepin Member

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  5. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    Tracking down the specific last one would be difficult because they continued to evolve over time.
    There had also been class based laws, for example the laws against certain knives which were obviously not worse than the guns, but were more affordable to new immigrants and the poor.
    An example would be "Dirks" which under the context of restriction and time period were focused on Scottish immigrants. Back then a lot of scotts were red haired rowdy guys. Clearly foreign, different mannerisms, culture, and look. Disliked by a large percentage of the earlier settlers and established Americans.
    They didn't like those foreign red heads walking around with daggers.
    But the cultured and sophisticated man emulating an English gentleman walking around with a gun was perfectly fine.
    Over time such restrictions would be borrowed and adapted to the poor of different states and territories. For example Texas, and its restrictions on dirks, bowie knives, and similar weapons that would have been more affordable to the poor of the time period than a gun was. Why did they care more about knives than guns? Because guns were expensive but poor people could all afford knives.
    You can now find this 'dirk' definition having been borrowed by many states in thier penal codes, and it dates back to that early desire to disarm Scottish immigrants and evolved as a way to describe daggers or long knives they desired to ban in general.
    After the Civil War Tennessee restricted handgun types to the more expensive Army and Navy pistols to keep the market free from inexpensive handguns lower classes could more readily afford. Many places would continue that tradition of trying to ban or restrict inexpensive handguns more affordable to the lower classes of society in an attempt to reduce how armed they were.

    So there would be overlap in race and class laws.

    Similarly another class law that was often applied racially as well:
    Forms of slavery also continued especially for blacks for quite some time after the abolishment of slavery.
    These were under the vagrancy laws that made it a crime to be jobless and/or homeless.
    The punishment was a fine and those that could not pay the fine, which was most, were sentenced to labor. They were then loaned to private companies and businesses as a labor force.
    So a large portion of blacks continued to be a slave labor force against thier will for quite some time.
    Upon release they could be rearrested, homeless and jobless as they had just been in custody for months as slave labor. The punishment being a fine they couldn't afford, and back off to the labor force and being hired out to the private entities that needed labor (including those that used to rely on actual slave labor and so were in desperate need of cheap labor after the official abolishment of slavery.)
    They would not have been allowed arms.




    Often many racially based or previously racially applied laws gradually turned into class specific laws and the racial origin or application of such laws gradually diminished and they are applied to certain economic classes in general whether white, black, or anything else.
    So would you consider them repealed if they didn't actually go anywhere but simply are not specifically racially applied anymore?
    For an example of such evolution of law. In California it was legal to walk around with a gun concealed without a permit until the 1920s.
    The reason a concealed carry permit (CCW) started to be required was to limit hispanics and asians which were poor foreign immigrant groups of the time with high crime (article of the time referring to asian Tong gangs and hispanic vendettas.) The permits allowed local discretion in determining who could legally carry and the purpose was so they could be readily granted to most white persons, but routinely denied to poor hispanics or asians.
    Yet over time that would change, and now said law is used to routinely deny the majority of the population the ability to legally carry.
    So it is racist in origin, never repealed, but is no longer applied racially.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
  6. Outlaw Man

    Outlaw Man Member

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    This is precisely my thought. Many of them are not openly directed at a specific race or races (or may not be intended that way at all), but a good deal of them are rooted in an attempt to control a specific group.

    There is a lot of evidence that points to the Gun Control Act of 1968 as racially driven, and it is still alive and well. While it may not have been intended as being directed at a specific race, the race riots and backlash from those certainly contributed to the Act's support.
     
  7. Midwest

    Midwest Member

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    You might want to read this interesting history of how laws were passed in California in 1967 to prevent anyone from openly carrying a loaded weapon. Then Governor Reagan signed it into law. It was really aimed at the Black Panthers. But it is an interesting read nontheless....

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/09/the-secret-history-of-guns/308608/

    "Don Mulford, a conservative Republican state assemblyman from Alameda County, which includes Oakland, was determined to end the Panthers’ police patrols. To disarm the Panthers, he proposed a law that would prohibit the carrying of a loaded weapon in any California city."
     
  8. Bubbles

    Bubbles Member

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  9. hugh damright

    hugh damright Member

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    Prior to the 14th Amendment, the Freedmen's Bureau Bill said that "full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and estate, including the constitutional right of bearing arms, are [not to be] refused or denied ... on account of race"
     
  10. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    Brief of Amicus Curiae submitted by Congress of Racial Equality in Support of Respondent, in the case of D.C. v Heller 2008. Lays out the history of gun control used as control of Black Americans.

    Just one of many items cited: Watson v. Stone, 148 Fla. 516, 524, 4 So.2d 700, 703 (1941)
    Justice Buford of the Florida Supreme Court noted in his concurring opinion narrowly construing a Florida gun control statute:
    So in 1941 there was an easing of an acknowledged racist gun law in Florida.

    ADDED: how late? Awfully late.

    Don B. Kates taught in Missouri in the 1970s. "As one of my students recently learned, a personal 'interview' is now required for every St. Louis application. After many delays, he finally got to see the sheriff who looked at him only long enough to see that he wasn't black, yelled 'he's alright' to the permit secretary, and left." Kates, 1976.

    A coworker of mine got a Virginia concealed carry license back in the day when it was at discretion of county judge. (I had mentioned I had recently got my Tennessee handgun carry permit.) He told me that when he showed up in court, the judge simply looked at him once, asked no questions, and approved his license. He felt he was approved because he clearly looked white, and expressed contempt for the process. (Currently TN and VA have handgun license/permit administered like drivers license by the state.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
  11. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    The last? It hasn't been repealed.
    I would argue that the 1968 Gun Control Act was pretty darn racist.
    Although the assassinations of RFK and MLK are often cited as the reason for the legislation, many believe it was fear of race riots in the 1960's.

    Congress specifically prohibited the importation of inexpensive handguns, giving them the evil name of "Saturday Night Specials". So who were these inexpensive handguns sold to? Those who could not afford the more expensive Colt or S&W handguns.........ie low income Americans.
     
  12. hnk45acp

    hnk45acp Member

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    See the history of NY's Sullivan Law Still not repealed but challenges are supposedly coming
     
  13. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    I expect you'll need to cite your information sources, axxxel; and a message board likely won't cut it.

    While a lot of this information makes logical sense given American culture following the Civil War (I'm thinking specifically of the "vagrancy laws" mentioned in Post #5 right now), a reasonably honest individual would be forced to admit that there's an awful lot of speculation in this thread.

    There's an enormous difference between having a conversation on the alleged intent of laws, and writing a research paper on "openly racist gun laws." I encourage you to not sell yourself short, and avoid including information that relies heavily on what "many people think the law is about."

    Some posts do include citations for sources of valuable information (see Post #10 as an example), but others are nothing but hearsay. Do yourself a favor and filter the two before writing your paper. This is an extremely important topic, but if you don't approach it properly, you're doing yourself and those who came before us a great disservice.
     
  14. HankR

    HankR Member

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    "A friend" bought a gun today. The federal government asked him if he was Hispanic or not, and then asked if he was white. Since the answers one puts on that form could result in denial of 2nd amendment rights, I'd say racist gunlaws are alive and well.

    Ironically, when that same friend became a life NRA member this past year, the NRA did not ask his race.
     
  15. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    Oh good grief.......

    You are flat out ignorant of what "racism" is.

    First, The federal government didn't ask "a friend" if he was white.....go read the form.

    The race and ethnicity questions on a 4473 are no more racist than the gender question is sexist.

    If the questions resulted in the buyer being denied BECAUSE he was hispanic or not or because he was NOT white or black or whatever............then yes, it would be racist.

    Do you have evidence of purchasers being denied because of their race or ethnicity?:scrutiny: I doubt it.
     
  16. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    All in all, the various laws were not overtly racist: Enforcement in many cases was definitely racist.
     
  17. HankR

    HankR Member

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    He was asked to answer two questions, one as to whether he was Hispanic or Latino, and the second to check a box indicating his race. The answers on this form are supposedly used to determine (after verification) if he is allowed to purchase a gun. These forms are not, according to the federal government, used to register guns, solely to determine if a particular subject is allowed to exercise his rights and purchase a firearm.

    Given the stated purpose of the form and associated check, if they are not planning on biasing any such decision based on the answer to the question, why are they asking the question?

    The gender question may not be sexist, but asking the persons weight might cause those of a certain gender to fib a wee bit on this form.
     
  18. Ohen Cepel

    Ohen Cepel Member

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    Why was the 4473 changed to ask the hispanic question?

    Aside from that, I would maintain that the NC policy of you having to get a permit before buying a weapon as racist. Not, sure (it may have already gone away since I'm not in NC any longer) but I think that went back to the 1800's or the 60's when a person of color was not going to go to the Sheriff to get a permit to buy a weapon.

    I think a lot of the laws for weapons are still class based if not racist. ie; several states issue ccw to connected or wealthy people while others are denied (CA, NYC, and MD come to mind). I think the NFA tax of $200 which (IIRC) goes back to the 20's is a class based limitation (or sure was back then!).
     
  19. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    To identify the buyer.
    There is more than one John Robert Smith in the USA. by asking birthdate, SSN, ethnicity, race, etc it helps eliminate record returns on prohibited persons.


    The question didn't change, but the way you answer requires you to address both ethnicity 10a. and race 10b. separately.

    The previous 4473 Question 10 was "Race/Ethnicity" (no a&b)............and most Hispanics only chose "Hispanic" which is not a race, but an ethnicity. While many think Hispanic means you have brown skin........they are terribly misinformed.

    A person can be Hispanic/White, Hispanic/Black, Hispanic/Asian, etc.........just as one can be Italian/White or Italian/Black. For some reason the federal government only asks Hispanic or Not Hispanic.

    It isn't just the 4473, but ALL federal forms were updated last year to accurately record ethnicity and race.
     
  20. husbandofaromanian

    husbandofaromanian Member

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    If the federal government didn't make decisions based on race or gender, there would be no such thing as affirmative action...
     
  21. OptimusPrime

    OptimusPrime Member

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    Art, I do disagree on that point. A law that is structured for the sole purpose of being enforced on a racist basis, is as racist as can be. A lot of Jim Crow is like that; the voting rules had nothing to say about skin color, but you have to pay your poll tax to vote. The blacks didn't have 2 dimes to rub together, therefore no vote. I believe the correct term is disenfranchisement.
     
  22. stressed

    stressed Member

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    There was a law in Post War reconstructed Tennessee called the Army Navy law. It banned all pistols, except for the Colt Army and Navy models, which were very expensive pistols to personally own at the time. It's goal was the same that the above poster mentioned, disenfranchisement. It also effected poor white dirt farmers as well, but pretty much excluded all freedmen from handgun ownership.
     
  23. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    This is speculation. The fact that a given law is racially enforced is not evidence that it was structured for racial enforcement.

    I understand that this area of American history is a disgrace; and I'm not trying to make excuses or suggest it isn't significant. But there's a lot of solid information out there, and IMO, resorting to speculation is a poor reflection on the membership here, and won't do any good for the OP, either.
     
  24. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    Disenfranchisement relates to the deprivation of rights. That's it; it has absolutely nothing to do with racism. In this quote, you give an excellent example of a law whose goal was disenfranchisement.

    Clearly this law was about infringing upon Americans' 2A rights, and I'm not debating that point. Just because black folks were effected doesn't mean it targeted them outright. Even you said that it also effected white folks.
     
  25. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    OptimusPrime, I'm referring to the laws as written. That's separate from what's said in debate or how laws are enforced. IOW, race is not mentioned in the writing.
     
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