The Right to Bear Arms and the Confederate Flag

by Anne Kretsinger-Harries

Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow
Dept. of Communication Arts & Sciences

On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof opened fire at Emanuel African Methodist
Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, killing nine people. The shooting was a
hate crime purposefully inflicted upon the historically black church to
inflame racial tensions. Soon after the attack, a photo surfaced featuring
Roof holding a Confederate flag.  The photo incited widespread national
debates over the Confederate flag and the subsequent removal of the flag
from prominent sites such as South Carolina statehouse grounds, Virginia
state license plates, and even the shelves of Walmart. Some people have
claimed that these recent debates over the Confederate flag detracted from
the more important issue at hand: systemic gun violence and the need for
reform. Proponents of flag removal efforts, in contrast, have argued that
the Confederate flag symbolizes and sanctions racial violence and white