'Assaulted' Review: Doc Argues Second Amendment Rights Are Civil Rights

'Assaulted' Review: Doc Argues Second Amendment Rights Are Civil Rights

Dead Patriot Films’ Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire pulls together scholars, judges, Civil Rights attorneys, law enforcement personnel and others to educate Americans on one basic fact: Second Amendment rights are Civil Rights.

The film is narrated by Ice-T, and the rapper uses this role to control the flow of the film and keep it on point. 

Minutes into the film, Ice-T asks: 

Some politicians and scholars argue that the Second Amendment to our Constitution is outdated and no longer valid in our society. But can we throw out the foundation of our country, and the individual bricks called “Civil Rights,” in the name of public safety? What did our Founding Fathers envision when they wrote the Second Amendment?

This question is answered by various scholars, among them David Kopel, PhD: “Guns have been part of American culture ever since the first Europeans showed up with their guns four centuries ago. And ever since [then] they’ve been an important part of what America stands for.”

Kopel continues by noting that the Founders used the 2nd Amendment to recognize a preexisting right:

Just like your First Amendment right to assemble, your First Amendment right to freedom of religion, [and] your First Amendment right to freedom of speech, your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was not created by the federal government. [Rather,] those were all seen by the framers as fundamental, preexisting human rights which all humans had, simply by virtue of being human.

The film stresses that our Founding Fathers hedged on the right to keep and bear arms for two chief reasons: 1. Self-Defense. 2. To repel a tyranny. After witnesses and scholars speak to the critical self-defense component Ice-T narrates the history of the Battle of Athens: a post-World War II clash of arms in a sleepy Tennessee town where recently returned veterans had to use their rifles to “[liberate] the ballot boxes” from a corrupt Sheriff who had bullied the people into submission while the war was going on. 

The film then makes this same point–perhaps more forcefully–by showing what happens to Americans when they don’t have guns with which to defend themselves from armed criminals or a tyrannical government. To do this, they cover the illegal confiscation of firearms that took place in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Homeowners who had been able to defend their property from looters suddenly found their firearms looted by their own local government and then found themselves easy prey for the gangs of civilian looters that followed.

Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire also stresses how gun control was once a tool used to insure that whites were armed but blacks were not, following the Civil War. The larger point is that gun control has historically kept those in power better armed than those considered subservient at the time. In the post-Civil War era this meant that Democrats throughout the South passed “black codes” to prevent blacks from being armed and to heavily regulate any arms they might obtain. 

At one point in the film Ice-T explains more recent events, like the Supreme Court decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010). Regarding McDonald, he discusses how the Second Amendment “applies to the states through the 14th Amendment. It can have limited restrictions such as not allowing the mentally ill to possess guns, or banning guns in sensitive buildings and schools.” But he also shows that through these cases–particularly Heller–the phrase “in common use” came into play as well. 

UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, PhD, says that this phrase may prevent future gun bans at the state level based on whether the gun in view is “in common use” among the people. Other commentators in the film said this phrase may especially apply to attempts to ban the AR-15. 

Dead Patriot Films also uses Assaulted to show that politically driven attacks on “assault weapons” are part of a slippery slope: part of an “incrementalism” that allows politicians to stand in front of cameras and demonize a whole class of weapons based on cosmetic features that those same politicians often don’t even understand. 

In closing, the film reminds viewers that Seconnd Amendment rights are Civil Rights. And Civil Rights attorney Donald Kilmer, Jr., provides this enlightening information: “Gun crime [and] violent crime overall are down in this country … yet firearm ownership is at an all-time high.”

In the shadow of these sobering facts, Ice-T rhetorically asks: “So the question becomes, how much of our Civil Rights are we willing to give up for a sense of safety? … Do we abandon our natural rights for a promise of safety that the government can’t or won’t provide when we need it?”

Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire was written and directed by Kris Koenig. It can be purchased from DeadPatriotFilms.com and viewed over all major cable pay-per-view outlets. It also can be rented or purchased on iTunes, Vudu, Google Play and Amazon.com.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins