The NRA - a branch of the ACLU?

  I couldn't help but write when I ran into this painfully antihistorical passage in your article: "In a phone interview, Professor Burbick says the gun-rights movement began not only in reaction to gun laws, but also as a reflection of white men's anxiety about the civil rights movement. Right-wing politicians have deliberately exploited that anxiety, exaggerating the dangers of government power and of criminals who supposedly target every unarmed person, she says. 'The gun has become a fetish - an emotional response to a changing America,' she notes, 'the idea that somehow, the social problems of the U.S. will be solved through private gun ownership and a lot more guns.' "

The National Rifle Association and other pro-gun-rights organizations have spent decades working to protect the civil rights (yes, firearm ownership is a civil right) of everyone regardless of their race. To claim that pro-gun-rights movements are based on "white men's anxiety about the civil rights movement" is blatantly libelous and does not at all reflect history. Even in its earliest days, the NRA welcomed and helped train black men who wanted to learn to protect themselves and their loved ones from the Klu Klux Klan.

On the other hand, the very first gun-control laws in this country (and many since then) were put in place specifically to take away civil rights from blacks. Professor Burbick's smear is simply unsupported by the facts.

Jesse Michael
Portland, Oregon