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Commentary: Supreme Court should’ve followed Reagan on gun control

Fifty-five years before the conservative majority of the Supreme Court made it Easier To allow people to carry guns in public, a Republican governor in California signed a law mandating it heavier to do just that.

“There is no reason why a citizen should carry loaded guns on the street today,” said the then-governor. said Ronald Reagan in 1967.

It was a sunny May day when he made the remark on the steps of the State Capitol, just hours after an extraordinary political demonstration rocked Sacramento.

More than two dozen members of the Black Panther Party — a radical Black Power group that patrolled Bay Area streets in armed self-defense against police — had marched into the Capitol with loaded rifles, pistols and shotguns. Several stormed into the meeting chamber to protest a law banning people from carrying loaded guns in California cities.

“We have a constitutional right to bear arms,” ​​protesters chanted as police escorted them away.

Reagan soon signed the law into law, putting California on track to have the nation’s strictest gun controls. That law became the cornerstone of California’s approach to restricting who can obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon — the very system the Supreme Court torpedoed in its June 23 ruling that struck down a similar law in New York.

It is ironic that Reagan, the Conservative icon, accepted a 2nd Amendment limitation that the Conservative Supreme Court uncovered. But more than that, this evolution in gun laws also reflects the history of racism in the nation and the current mainstreaming of political extremism.

In 1967, when a white majority confronted an armed black minority, Republican politicians took action to curb armed vigilantes. Now, as white supremacists fight the rise of a multicultural society, a right-wing court is enabling armed vigilantes.

“The radicalization of gun culture is happening at the same time as the radicalization of the Republican Party,” said Mike Madrid, former political director of the California Republican Party and a staunch critic of former President Trump.

Polls show “a strong correlation between gun ownership, Republican election and concerns about white replacement theory,” he told me. “As a result, you see politicians and political leaders in the movement acting in legislation or from the bench to make this more permissive.”

Rioters confront officials at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Rioters confront officials at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

(Erin Schaff/New York Times)

Of course, the judges do not formulate their decision in this way. In a 6-3 decision, the Conservative majority wrote that states cannot require people to show a specific reason to request a concealed weapons license because the Constitution protects “a person’s right to carry a handgun in self-defense outside of the United States.” to carry home”.

The ruling represents a far-reaching change in how courts interpret the Second Amendment and will likely result in other gun control laws being overturned. In the days following the decision, the Supreme Court ordered a lower court to reconsider whether California’s ban on high-capacity magazines under the new standard is constitutional.

The dissenting judges of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. vs. Bruen argued that the decision will make it more difficult for states to pass legislation that addresses “the serious problems of gun violence.” One of the examples they cited was a study that found that “armed protests were nearly six times more likely to become violent or destructive than unarmed protests.”

I thought about it as I heard former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson testify Tuesday before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, fueled by Trump’s lie that he had the re-election won. She described how aides warned Trump’s chief of staff about protesters carrying “knives, pistol and rifle weapons, bear spray, body armor, javelins and flagpoles.” Trump knew the crowd was heavily armed, she said, but he still encouraged them to march on the Capitol.

Four people in the crowd died that day, and five police officers died as a result. Hundreds of people were injured, including around 140 police officers. As of last month, federal prosecutors have charged 90 people with using a deadly or dangerous weapon or causing grievous bodily harm to an officer on Jan. 6, 2021.

In the months leading up to this day, armed protesters (mostly white) entered state capitals in Idaho, Michigan and Oregon to protest lockdowns at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump goaded them, calling the Michigan protesters “very good people.” Domestic terrorism experts told ProPublica that the state building invasions likely created a sense of impunity that emboldened insurgents in Washington.

Meanwhile, the conspiracy theory that liberal elites are “replacing” whites with blacks to gain political advantage has moved from the fringe into the mainstream, motivating killers who target Black, Latino and Jewish Americans.

All of this is “deafing” the Supreme Court for issuing a decision allowing more Americans to carry guns, Brian Levin told me. He is Professor of Criminal Justice and Director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino.

Though the court’s ruling allows states to designate “sensitive places” like government buildings and schools where people are not allowed to carry firearms, Levin believes the broader message it sends will empower radicals fueled by racism and political paranoia will.

“This is a disturbing case, not only in terms of the facts, but also in terms of how it will be twisted by extremists,” he said.

For extremists, Levin added, the availability of guns “will not fail because of Supreme Court restrictions. It lives up to their preconceived notions of armed liberty and the ability to take that access and turn it into a right to armed rebellion at a time, place and destination of their choosing.”

This kind of vigilante justice once spurred conservatives to crack down on guns. No longer.

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-07-03/commentary-ronald-reagan-gun-control-political-extremism-supreme-court Commentary: Supreme Court should’ve followed Reagan on gun control

Alley Einstein

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