Eleanor Clift took it upon herself to criticize Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in the recent gun case McDonald v. Chicago. In it, she wrote:

In the post-racial culture America strives to be, it is eye-popping for a Supreme Court justice to advance an unabashed race-based argument as the basis for arming citizens, and black citizens in particular. Thomas quotes Frederick Douglass, the black abolitionist and friend of President Abraham Lincoln, who said, “The black man has never had the right either to keep or bear arms,” and until he does, “the work of the Abolitionists was not finished.”

Those words were relevant in Lincoln’s day, but they are out of date and out of touch with the America of today. The flaw in Thomas’ judicial philosophy is its view that nothing ever changes, that he can interpret the Constitution the same way it was interpreted when blacks were enslaved, or in the days of Jim Crow, when they were denied basic rights, or when Thomas, now 62, was making his way in the world and bracing against every act of racism and every real or imagined slight directed at him.

I’ve an issue with this statement. First is the premise that Constitutionally protected rights have relevancy to time periods. Last I checked, there was no expiration date on the Constitution. Second is the notion of picking an choosing which Constitutional rights are in vogue.

The second thing she said that irritated me was:

The more immediate problem for the black community, however, is black-on-black crime, made more deadly by the easy access to guns in a political environment where gun control seems to have no future.

Wow, the intellectual dishonesty of this statement is without bounds. First off, the places where black on black violence is the highest- Washington D.C., Baltimore, New York City, Chicago- are the cities that have the most restrictive gun control laws. Second is the premise that gun control helps to fight crime, which is demonstrably false. For instance:

Concealed carry and crime reduction
When criminals suspect that the costs of committing a crime will be too high, they are less likely to commit it. The possibility of a concealed weapon tilts the odds in favor of the potential victim. Studies have shown that rape victims who resist with a gun are only half as likely to be injured as those who do not resist.

In More Guns, Less Crime (1998), the University of Chicago’s John Lott examined the impact of concealed carry permits. Using data from all 3,054 U.S. counties between 1977 and 1992, he found that after controlling for other factors:
• Concealed handgun laws reduce murder by 8.5 percent, rape by 5 percent and severe assault by 7 percent.

• Had right-to-carry prevailed throughout the country, there would have been 1,600 fewer murders, 4,200 fewer rapes and 60,000 fewer severe assaults.

These reductions are beyond the general decline in crime rates that the U.S. has experienced during the past eight years.

In the early 1990s, Texas’ serious crime rate was 38 percent above the national average. Since then serious crime in Texas has dropped 50 percent faster than for the nation as a whole. For example, during the 1990s Texas’ murder rate dropped 52 percent compared to 33 percent nationally, and the rape rate fell by 22 percent compared to 16 percent nationally. In light of Lott’s research, it is likely that Texas’ concealed carry law has contributed to the declining crime rates.

This is just one of several studies now that show a direct relationship between ‘must issue’ concealed carry legislation and levels of violent crime.

Now, if Ms. Clift wants to focus on Thomas’s use of black history to defend his opinion, I consider that fair game, though I think that her approach thus far in the article is severely flawed.

It is more than a bumper sticker now, it has been born out in multiple studies: guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

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