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Blanchard cites court decisions, the thirteenth amendment to the constitution and infamous black codes arising after Emancipation as ways of restricting gun ownership among blacks, just as today financial inequities continue to restrict gun rights. Likewise, he asserts, New York’s infamous Sullivan law intended to prevent gun ownership among unpopular immigrants, and from 1911-13 over 70% of those arrested under it had Italian surnames. Selective enforcement of the law is another effective gun control strategy, he adds, citing several examples of criminal charges brought against blacks who used firearms after violent attacks, as occurred in 1925 when Dr. Ossian Sweet moved his family into a predominantly white neighborhood and again in the attack against the occupants of the W.E.B. Dubois Club in New York in 1966.

Obstacles to Blanchard’s mission to “help the people of my community live safer through training” arose from all sides as he transitioned from working in government service to his calling to a Christian ministry. He rejected arguments that going armed for self defense violated the sixth commandment and Christ’s teachings, too often mistaken for passivism. This he discusses at length, concluding, “Can God protect us from those who would do us harm? Absolutely. However, just as He has given us brakes on our cars to save us from crashing, He has also given to us the tools to defend ourselves,” Blanchard writes, adding that God also expects us to protect “those whom He has placed in our care.”

Blanchard’s tough love for those in his community is clearly demonstrated in the chapter he entitles Epistles, echoing the New Testament letters from apostles to early Christians. Taking responsibility, seeking education, and practicing tolerance are core values espoused, the latter never more apparent than in the final segment of this chapter, in which Blanchard addresses the gay, lesbian, bi- and transsexual community.

He asserts that all Americans have been duped by the power hungry using the nonsensical term “gun violence.” “If politicians and anti-gun groups really wanted to help the communities, they would provide training and education for everyone, budget more money for policing, prosecute every gun crime, refuse plea-bargains, and insist on mandatory sentences for crimes where a firearm was used,” he asserts. Realistically, Blanchard continues in the next chapter, larger police forces still cannot take the place of firearms possessed for self defense. Citing infamous court decisions in which the justices have repeatedly stated that police agencies are not subject to any liability for failing to act to protect individual citizens, Blanchard asserts that the men writing the constitution knew that individuals have to take responsibility to protect themselves from “tyranny and criminal acts.”

Blanchard discusses gun safety and safeguarding children and youths from both a wide-angle viewpoint as well as what the individual can do. Parents who are too busy to be involved in their children’s growth and development spawn the “soulless monsters” responsible for shootings like those in Columbine, CO and Newtown, CT and others, he asserts. Get gun safety training and share that training with your children, he admonishes.

“I have learned from the gun community what is right in America,” Blanchard writes in closing. “My brothers and sisters in arms are the kind of people who make me proud to be an American.” His book is not just a book to encourage gun ownership among black Americans; it reminds citizens of all races why we fight to preserve the rights elucidated in the U.S. Constitution’s second amendment.

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