President Obama responded to the recent police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota by recognizing the need to root out bias in law enforcement and encouraging communities to trust their local police department.
A memorial left for Philando Castile following the police shooting death of the black man on July 7, 2016, in St. Paul, Minn. 8(Photo: Stephen Maturen, Getty Images)
A black Minnesota man fatally shot by police Wednesday during a stop for a broken tail light was a licensed gun owner, prompting some observers to suggest that the debate over gun control and the Second Amendment has racial undertones.
When police in Falcon Heights, Minn.,stopped the car in which Philando Castile, 37, was riding on Wednesday night, Castile attempted to give them his license and registration, as requested. He also told them he was a licensed weapon owner, according to the Facebook Live video posted by Diamond "Lavish" Reynolds, who identified herself as Castile's fiance.
As Castile put his hands up, police fired into his arm four times, according to the video. He was pronounced dead later at a hospital.
"I'm waiting to hear the human outcry from Second Amendment defenders over (this incident)," NAACP president and CEO Cornell William Brooks told USA TODAY Thursday.
Brookswas preparing to travel to Minnesota to get up to speed on the Castile case after a trip to Baton Rouge, La., to get details on the police-involved shooting of another black man earlier this week.
"When it comes to an African American with a license to carry a firearm, it appears that his pigmentation, his degree of pigmentation, is more important than the permit or license to carry a firearm," Brooks said. "One would hope and pray that's not true."
Tweeted author and TV commentator Keith Boykin: "Does the Second Amendment only apply to White People?"
Amanda Zantal-Wiener, tweeted aboutthe National Rifle Association, perhaps the most powerful of the national organizations supporting the Second Amendment, saying: "Hey, NRA, I'm sure you're just moments away from defending Philando Castile's second amendment rights. Right? Any minute now, right?"
The NRA did not immediatelyrespond to a request for an interview. The organization has been publicly silent regarding the Minnesota shooting.
But at least two organizations, the Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, both based in Bellevue, Wash., expressed concern over the case and called for an investigation by state-level entities, perhaps even from a state outside of Minnesota.
"Wednesday nights shooting of Philando Castile is very troubling, especially to the firearms community, because he was a legally-armed private citizen who may have done nothing more than reach for his identification and carry permit," Allan Gottleib, founder and executive vice president of the foundation, and chair of the Citizens Committee, said in a statement Thursday.
"We are cognizant of the racial overtones arising from Mr. Castiles death,"Gottlieb said. "The concerns of our members, and honest gun owners everywhere, go even deeper. Exercising our right to bear arms should not translate to a death sentence over something so trivial as a traffic stop for a broken tail light, and we are going to watch this case with a magnifying glass."
Survey data show that white Americans and black Americans appear to have two different and distinct relationships with firearms.
Data released in 2014 by the Pew Research Center showed that blacks are less likely than whites to have a firearm at home.According to the study, 41% of whites said they had a gun at home compared to 19% of blacks.
But there has been much research to show that black Americans are more likely than white Americans to be gun homicide victims.
In 2010, blacks were 55% of shooting homicide victims but 13% of the U.S. population, according to a Pew review of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By contrast, in the same year, whites were 25% of gun homicide victims but 65% of the population, according to the same data.
In the early days of the Second Amendment, blacks were prohibited from possessing firearms, according to the National Constitution Center, a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia. The measure was intended to protect Americans' right to bear arms, and designated states as the entities who would manage this.
Gerald Horne, an historian at the University of Houston, said during a recent interview with the Real News Network that there was a race and class bias inherent in the amendment's provisions.
"The Second Amendment certainly did not apply to enslaved Africans," Horne said. "All measures were taken to keep arms out of their hands. The Second Amendment did not apply to indigenous people because the European settlers were at war with the indigenous people to take their land. And providing arms to them was considered somewhat akin to a capital offense. So the Second Amendment was mostly applicable to the settler class."
Horne says that many of the battles during reconstruction were about keeping arms out of the hands of black Americans hesays one of the key reasons the Ku Klux Klan was formed in the post-Civil War era was to keep arms out of the hands of blacks.
Said Brooks, "I would just simply note that in a state like Texas, where we have thousands upon thousands of people with concealed weapons permits, a permit is sufficient proof to vote while a college ID is not. Think about that."
Follow Melanie Eversley on Twitter:@MelanieEversley
Obama, angered by police shootings, calls for elimination of racial bias
Minn. governor: Castile would be alive if he had been white
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/29maUsC
- The Second Amendment was ratified to preserve slavery - July 12th, 2016
- The Right to Bear Arms - July 12th, 2016
- Second Amendment Basics | Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence - July 3rd, 2016
- The Second Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and the ... - June 25th, 2016
- The Second Amendment Is About Revolution - June 25th, 2016
- Don't Bank On The Supreme Court To Clarify The Second ... - June 16th, 2016
- Why It's Time to Repeal the Second Amendment - June 14th, 2016
- there is no Second Amendment protection for ... - cnn.com - June 10th, 2016
- Hillary Clinton wavers on Second Amendment right to bear arms ... - June 7th, 2016
- Politics & 2nd Amendment Archives - Guns.com - May 25th, 2016
- Second Amendment - lawbrain.com - May 20th, 2016
- Second Amendment Sports - Bakersfield, CA - Yelp - April 18th, 2016
- Second Amendment - Conservapedia - October 20th, 2015
- Second Amendment | Fox News - October 20th, 2015
- The Second Amendment Is a Gun-Control Amendment - October 4th, 2015
- Clinton at private fundraiser: SCOTUS is wrong about the ... - October 4th, 2015
- Obama Mocks Second Amendment Supporters For Crack Pot ... - October 4th, 2015
- Second Amendment - September 25th, 2015
- 7th Circuit Court: Illegal Immigrants Have Second ... - August 29th, 2015
- Court Rules Illegal Aliens Have Second Amendment Rights ... - August 27th, 2015
- Second Amendment - Text, Origins, and Meaning - July 12th, 2015
- Second Amendment : Pictures, Videos, Breaking News - July 9th, 2015
- Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution - May 30th, 2015
- Second Amendment | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia ... - May 28th, 2015
- Brantley Gilbert Inks His Love For The Second Amendment ... - May 13th, 2015
- 2nd Amendment advocates push to repeal switchblade, other ... - May 12th, 2015
- 2015 NRA Convention Interview with Michigan 2nd Amendment Supporters - Video - April 14th, 2015
- Second Amendment Youth Leadership Conference Wrap-Up - Video - April 14th, 2015
- PASTOR SAYS BLACKS NEED TO GET GUNS AND FIGHT BACK - Video - April 14th, 2015
- Second Amendment - Web Mashup for Second, Amendment ... - April 14th, 2015
- Six takeaways from the NRA convention - April 13th, 2015
- More than 70,000 people attended event - April 13th, 2015
- RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS? Police grabs of legal guns on the rise across US - April 13th, 2015
- The Death of the Second Amendment - Video - April 12th, 2015
- Ben Carson Speaks on Second Amendment at NRA Leadership Forum - Video - April 12th, 2015
- As Scott Walker addresses NRA, concealed carry vote criticized - April 12th, 2015
- GUN RIGHTS UNDER FIRE Illegal police grabs of legal firearms rising nationwide - April 12th, 2015
- Colt 1911 Gold Cup Pistol for Sale - Video - April 11th, 2015
- Some Conservative Lawmakers Working To Roll Back Gun Restrictions - Second Amendment - Video - April 11th, 2015
- Teaching the Bill of Rights: The Second Amendment - Part One - Video - April 11th, 2015
- SUNSET ON THE SECOND AMENDMENT 1080p - Video - April 11th, 2015
- Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense - Video - April 11th, 2015
- GOP hopefuls flock to NRA cattle call - April 11th, 2015
- Nevada Panel OKs Bill to Create Pro-Second Amendment License Plates - April 11th, 2015
- NRA wants more than 'Second Amendment' - April 11th, 2015
- Is encryption the Second Amendment for the Internet? - April 11th, 2015
- Rand Paul calls NRA snub 'petty' - April 11th, 2015
- The truth about the NRA's snub of Rand Paul - April 11th, 2015
- Backing Out Sun Trust Bank Terminates Gun Shop's Accounts Second Amendment Fox & Friends - Video - April 8th, 2015
- 2nd Amendment Keychain - RTBA - Video - April 8th, 2015
- Dr. Rand Paul on the Second Amendment - Video - April 8th, 2015
- 4.7.15 | Second Scoop: Justice in Jersey, Detroit's Top Cop & CCW, Clear Channel Controversy - Video - April 8th, 2015
- Second Amendment Foundation Takes Case Of Arizona Navy Vet ... - April 8th, 2015
- State GOP lawmakers look to roll back gun restrictions after midterm wins - VIDEO: Pols work to roll back gun ... - April 8th, 2015
- NRA Convention Coming To Nashville This Week - April 8th, 2015
- Two Charter Amendments to Be Voted on During Dundee Election - April 7th, 2015
- State GOP lawmakers working to roll back gun restrictions after midterm wins - April 7th, 2015
- GUN RIGHTS BATTLES GOP state legislators seek to ease gun codes - April 7th, 2015
- SAF Takes Case of Arizona Navy Vet Whose Guns Were Seized - April 7th, 2015
- Second Amendment Hoodie | Spreadshirt | ID: 101726003 - April 5th, 2015
- Colt Commander Pistol for Sale - Video - April 3rd, 2015
- SCLC calling on blacks to Exercise Second Amendment Rights - Video - April 3rd, 2015
- District Drops Appeal Of SAF Concealed Carry Victory - April 3rd, 2015
- SCLC president suspended after comments regarding 2nd Amendment - April 3rd, 2015
- BladeFit and 2A Rights. Second Amendment rules! - Video - April 2nd, 2015
- SCLC suspends Georgia Chapter President for call to bear arms - April 2nd, 2015
- SCLC calling on blacks to "Exercise Second Amendment Rights" - March 31st, 2015
- House approves amended re-homing bill - March 31st, 2015
- David Mierswa Second Amendment Part 2 - Video - March 29th, 2015
- Second Amendment in the 21st Century / New York Ideas 2014 - Video - March 29th, 2015
- Campus Carry Talk, How the Second Amendment Applies to Campus Carry - Video - March 29th, 2015
- Bearing ArmsRubio, Jordan File "Second Amendment ... - March 29th, 2015
- Sen. Rubio, Rep. Jordan propose repealing D.C. gun control laws - March 28th, 2015
- SD Attorney General Urges ATF to Respect Second Amendment - Video - March 27th, 2015
- The second amendment explained to #gunsense supporters - Video - March 27th, 2015
- Who's Going After D.C.'s Gun Laws? Marco Rubio Edition. - March 27th, 2015
- Giveaway Prizes for April 7 2015 - Video - March 26th, 2015
- Rant on guns - Video - March 26th, 2015
- Second Amendment Shirts - Video - March 25th, 2015
- Ensuring the Second Amendment Protections - Video - March 25th, 2015