During the latest push by the left to impose strict gun control laws, the National Rifle Association has been unjustly maligned as being an evil “terrorist organization” that has blood on its hands and doesn’t mind seeing innocent people gunned down or children massacred in school shootings.
In previous rhetorical assaults on the NRA, the organization has also been ruthlessly smeared as being racist toward minorities, despite the group’s history as being one of the oldest civil rights organizations that came about, in part, to help protect the Second Amendment-guaranteed rights of free black citizens in the post-slavery Reconstruction era.
Former Florida congressman and retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Allen West likely had that and a much more recent historical example on his mind when he took to Twitter last week to defend the reputation of the NRA from unjust smears.
West tweeted, “Remember that it was a black man, Otis McDonald, who challenged the
#guncontrol laws of Chicago because he wanted to be safe in his home. And, it was the @NRA — ya know, that ‘terrorist organization’ — that aided him in his legal pursuits, which he won.”
Remember that it was a black man, Otis McDonald, who challenged the #guncontrol laws of Chicago because he wanted to be safe in his home. And, it was the @NRA — ya know, that “terrorist organization” — that aided him in his legal pursuits, which he won. #2A #tcot #bcot
— Allen West (@AllenWest) March 28, 2018
West had referenced the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago, in which the majority of the court held that the Second Amendment of the Constitution applied on a state and local level as well as federal, by virtue of the “due process clause” of the 14th Amendment, which had been added to the Constitution during the Reconstruction era to guard against states that were not respecting the fundamental civil rights of newly free black citizens.
A SCOTUSblog entry from 2009 while the case had yet to be heard noted the NRA had filed a lawsuit in support of a separate lawsuit by four Chicago residents who were challenging a draconian gun control law which effectively banned all handguns in the city.
That case had followed in the wake of the historic Heller v. District of Columbia ruling in 2008 which found the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right and had struck down a broad handgun ban in D.C., though it was interpreted at the time as only applying on the federal level, which governs D.C.
According to the NRA’s Institute for Legal Action, the Chicago suit was led by an older black man named Otis McDonald, a U.S. Army veteran and retired maintenance engineer who chaffed at the city ordinance that prevented him from protecting himself and his family with a firearm from illegally armed criminals, drug dealers and gang members.
McDonald had likened Chicago’s handgun ban — which required registration to possess a handgun but refused to accept any registrations — to the Democrat-imposed “slave codes” and “black codes” of the 18th and 19th centuries that were explicitly racist and aimed at preventing free black citizens from being armed.
His suit ultimately prevailed as the Supreme Court found Chicago’s total ban on handgun possession to be in violation of the 14th Amendment, which states, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
PBS reported in 2010 that the McDonald ruling had, in effect, taken the individual right to keep and bear arms upheld by the Heller decision and applied it at the state and local level by incorporating the Second Amendment-protected right into the “due process” and “equal protection” provided by the 14th Amendment.
“It is clear that the Framers and ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito in the majority opinion.
Though Chicago still maintains rather strict gun control laws within its jurisdiction, the city was compelled to rescind its complete ban on the mere possession of handguns within a home for the purpose of self-defense due to the McDonald ruling.
Otis McDonald passed away in 2014, but his legacy will live on in his namesake ruling which forced states and municipalities to respect the fundamental civil rights of citizens, most especially the right to keep and bear arms.
Remember McDonald and the important Supreme Court ruling which bears his name the next time you hear some leftist slander the NRA as a “terrorist” or “racist” organization, when in fact they helped this older black man fight back against Democrats who demanded he remain defenseless and unarmed.
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