But I hadn’t realized that some of the earliest gun control initiatives were designed to oppress blacks.
As Dave Kopel explains in Reason, the white power structure in many post-Civil War states was very anxious to disarm former slaves.
After the Civil War, the defeated Southern states aimed to preserve slavery in fact if not in law. The states enacted Black Codes which barred the black freedmen from exercising basic civil rights, including the right to bear arms. Mississippi’s provision was typical: No freedman “shall keep or carry fire-arms of any kind, or any ammunition.” …The Klansmen, unlike the freedmen, had horses, and thus the tactical advantages of mobility. In a few months, the Klan triumph was complete. One freedman recalled that…
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