The long tension between the Second Amendment and Black gun ownership

In the opening pages of her compelling social history, “The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America,” Carol Anderson writes that her book is neither pro-gun nor anti-gun. “Guns are not the key variable here,” she explains. “It’s Black people. Their legal status — enslaved, Free Black, denizen, Jim Crowed citizen, or citizen of ‘post-racial America’ — did not change the way the Second Amendment worked against their rights.” Backed by rigorous research, Anderson lays out the case that throughout history, Black Americans have largely been restricted from the right to bear arms.

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