What Black Lives Matter teaches us about the Second Amendment

Opinion Piece written by Samuel Young

Cops do not fight crime, they respond… So you need to find a way where you’re going to protect yourself and your family before the cops get there… This (gun) is for protection.

These quotes do not come from a member of the NRA. They come from Nicky Daniels, Jr., leader of Sleep is For The Rich Gun Club, an organization dedicated to arming black people in the state of Louisiana. Responding to an attempt at armed intimidation of a group of protestors, citizens with guns rushed to the scene. Daniels, a military veteran, framed this act as the response of an oppressed people defending themselves against violence and oppression. What’s more American than that?

Black people have a rich history of using firearms to defend their own communities. One prominent instance of this history is the police patrols instituted by the Black Panther Party in Oakland. Openly carrying firearms, Black Panther Party members would go to the scene of arrests and read the arrestee their constitutional rights. In response to these patrols, a bill eliminating the right of the people to bear arms openly was signed into law by then Governor Ronald Reagan. The Black Panthers stood up for their second amendment rights and marched on the State Capitol carrying loaded rifles and shotguns. Even when threatened by violence and murder from the State, black gun owners stood strong in their fight for self-determination, independence from the state, and the right to self defence. (State Capitol MarchCopwatching)

Although the Black Panthers have a complicated legacy fraught with allegations of criminal activity, there’s still much we can learn from their community-based rejection of the state. The greatest threats to the state are a strong community capable of feeding and educating its own people, knowledge of the constitution and the rights of the individual, and a willingness to defend your community against government violence. The state fears this immensely and will engage in every countermeasure possible to ensure the failure of any institution that competes against it. The state will murder, spy, lie, and sow the seeds of discord among the people to prevent them from organizing a meaningful resistance. (Hoover and the F.B.I.Ethics Along the Color Line)

The true meaning of the second amendment is defiance against the cruelty of the state. Now more than ever we must support our brothers and their right to defend themselves from oppression. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. If not, what was the point of having this right in the first place?

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