Condoleezza Rice Explains Why She Defends the Second Amendment

March 1, 2018

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that she defends the Second Amendment because her father used his gun to help protect their neighborhood from Ku Klux Klan members during the Jim Crow era.

Rice, who led the State Department in the George W. Bush administration, explained on ABC's "The View" that growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, showed her the value of private gun ownership. At the time, Theophilus Eugene "Bull" Connor was the commissioner of public safety, and he notoriously mistreated black Alabamians.

"Let me tell you why I'm a defender of the Second Amendment. I was a little girl growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, in the late '50s, early '60s," Rice said. "There was no way that Bull Connor and the Birmingham police were going to protect you."

"So when white night riders would come through our neighborhood, my father and his friends would take their guns and they'd go to the head of the neighborhood, a little cul de sac, and fire in the air if anybody came through," she added, saying she did not recall them ever shooting anyone.

Rice explained that the way her father and his friends protected the neighborhood depended upon law enforcement not being able to round up their guns easily.

"I'm sure if Bull Connor had known where those guns were, he would have rounded them up," she said. "So I don't favor some things like gun registration."

Rice called for a national conversation about guns, arguing that no single policy can prevent shootings like the one in Parkland, Florida, last month. She then said that discussion should focus on whether "military weapons" should be in civilian hands and whether age minimums should be imposed.

She drew applause by criticizing law enforcement for its inaction in the face of warning signs about the Parkland shooter.

"Finally, let me just say, we also need to realize if you get that many tips about somebody that they're going to cause harm, go and figure out what was going on," she said.

Co-host Joy Behar then pushed back on the idea that higher age minimums would affect mass shootings, which President Donald Trump has supported along with others.

"Out of the 156 mass shootings between 2009 and 2016, only 11 were under 21 and many of the ones who were under 21 got those weapons from somebody who was over 21," Behar said.

Co-host Meghan McCain then brought up the fact that no National Rifle Association member has ever perpetrated a mass shooting. She expressed concern that Trump said Wednesday that due process should come "second" in seizing people's guns.

"As a vocal NRA supporter and Second Amendment supporter, we feel vilified, and when President Trump says 'take the guns first, go through due process second,' that turns me into someone that gets very tribal and territorial because I'm not sure what he means," McCain said.

"He doesn't know what he's talking about," Behar interjected. "That's against the law."

Soon after, Behar held up the Australian mandatory buyback as an example. That policy led to the confiscation of about 650,000 guns in the country and created a registry.

"In Australia, they had a buyback, so you could give them back," Behar said.