University at Buffalo historian available to discuss SCOTUS gun ruling

Release Date: June 24, 2022

Carole Emberton head shot.

Carole Emberton

BUFFALO, N.Y. – University at Buffalo scholar Carole Emberton is available to discuss the historical context behind the Supreme Court’s decision to expand gun rights by striking down a New York law that made it difficult to obtain a permit to carry a handgun outside the home.

Emberton is the author of “Beyond Redemption: Race, Violence, and the American South after the Civil War.” She says gun culture can be traced back to the early days of the United States.

“The book describes how white southerners regained political control in the post-Civil War South, and thereby reasserted their dominance over freedpeople through armed violence and intimidation, and by creating a narrative about how white people were in danger from freed slaves and thus needed to arm themselves. At the heart of American gun culture is white anger, fear and resentment,” says Emberton, PhD, an associate professor of history in UB’s College of Arts and Sciences.

She also addresses national mythology, and how it distorts the nation’s true history.

“First, I think the national frontiersman mythology that made the American gunslinger iconic plays an important part. You see this repeated today when people say we need more ‘good guys with guns’ to stop mass shootings. But, of course, the historical reality is that the archetypal gunslinger used his weapons against Indigenous people and racial ‘others’ in the various campaigns to subdue and control those populations. So, white supremacy is an integral part of this frontier mythology."

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