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Etienne and Thomas: The 2A Must Apply to Everyone Equally

black gun protest armed

(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

The demographic group showing the largest increase in the purchase of firearms in 2020 was African Americans. Guns and gun rights are for everyone. Period.

Historically, “Slave Codes,” “Black Codes,” and other gun control laws prohibited gun ownership by African Americans, who were frequently lynched or otherwise terrorized for violating these laws. The modern-day executions of African Americans who legally own guns fit this pattern.

There is no evidence that victims like [Philando] Castile, [Jemel] Roberson and [Emantic] Bradford committed crimes, but such an argument would be meaningless here. Rep. Boebert violated the law by carrying a gun into the Capitol. Rittenhouse is charged with killing two people. And executing a person before they are charged, much less convicted and sentenced, is illegal.

Although 60% of Americans favor stricter gun control laws, many more Americans are buying guns now and view it as an exercise of their rights. The exercise of those constitutional rights should not be allowed to differ based on race or ethnicity.

Imagine if the First Amendment right to free speech or religion varied by race.

While the contours of the Second Amendment will continue to be debated, it should be construed equally for all Americans.

— Margareth Etienne and Suja Thomas in How Second Amendment gun rights fall short for African Americans

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