July 7, 2016


During a subsequent press conference, Diamond Reynolds—Castile’s girlfriend—insisted that he had done nothing wrong. And she’s right. They were stopped because their car had a broken tail light. That’s it.

In Minnesota, citizens are allowed to carry firearms if they have a permit to do so. Castile was merely exercising his Second Amendment rights. His decision to inform the officer about his weapon was courteous, but not legally required. Permit holders in Minnesota do not need to tell cops that they are carrying firearms unless specifically asked.

It seems fairly clearly, then, that Castile is in some sense a Second Amendment martyr: He was killed by a police officer because he was exercising his rights.

I’ve seen some carry-rights advocates — e.g., Nikki Goeser — making just this point. On the other hand, I’m slower than I used to be to weigh in on these cases because the initial reports — see, e.g., Ferguson — were so one-sidedly wrong. For example, the officer who shot Castile was apparently “Chinese,” which suggests that efforts to shoehorn this into a Bull Connor-style white-racism narrative may be off base, not that that’s stopped anyone.

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