The New York Times, Charles C.W. Cooke, and Nicholas Johnson: The Black Tradition of Arms and Historical Illiteracy

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Nicholas J. Johnson is Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law is the author of Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms. He is the lead editor of Firearms Law and the Second Amendment: Cases and Materials (Aspen Press, 2012).

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nicholas-J-JohnsonFor the Online Library of Law & Liberty, Nicholas J. Johnson writes:

In a January 17  speech to students at Texas A&M University, Danny Glover, the actor from Lethal Weapon etc., attempted to disparage the constitutional right to arms with the critique that “The Second Amendment comes from the right to protect themselves from slave revolts, and from uprisings by Native Americans.”

This is abundantly wrong and I hope the students will not consider Mr. Glover a definitive source on the question.  But I will give him credit for the try.  He attempted to engage the issue by at least skimming one piece of the voluminous scholarship in this area.

[Conservatives at Texas A&M University blast ‘leftist bias’ after Danny Glover ties Second Amendment to slavery at a school event – New York Daily News]

His comment seems based on a cursory reading of a 1998 law review article by Professor Carl Bogus.  First, it warms the academic’s heart that a Hollywood actor would sit down and read a law review article, although I negores-guns-bookacknowledge the possibility that someone just told him about it.

[Check out Nicholas Johnson’s book “Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms” at Amazon]

Also see – [VIDEO] How the Civil Rights Movement Changed Black Gun Culture

Either way, his education is incomplete (as is true for all of us).  Mr. Glover’s mistake is to have taken one dubious thing and run with it.  That is almost always a mistake and especially so in the gun debate.  But Danny Glover’s mistake is also a teaching tool that illuminates the broader conversation. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] How the Civil Rights Movement Changed Black Gun Culture

The subject of guns is a volatile one in the black community: a disproportionate number of black Americans are killed by firearms each year.

Gang violence has destabilised some communities, while high-profile killings of black youths like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis have led political leaders to call for reforms to how guns are made, sold, used and stored.

[Order Nicholas Johnson’s book Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms  from Amazon]

But Nicholas Johnson, a law professor at Fordham University in New York City, says black Americans have a long, positive history with guns. Firearms, he says, helped black Americans escape slavery, defend their homes and fight for their freedom. It was only after the civil rights movement that the public attitude towards guns started to change.

Read the rest of this entry »