As we prepare to observe the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, it seems timely to remember that the first “gun control” in this country was focused on oppressing African-Americans in the wake of the Civil War. See “The Racist Roots of Gun Control”
If you’re not familiar with the work of my friend Kenn Blanchard, one of our most articulate spokesmen for gun owners’ civil rights, go to his website here, read what he has to say, and order his books.
I recently read “Sworn and Examined: Witnesses to Suwannee Valley Reconstruction Violence in Florida’s Third Judicial Circuit,” by Wilburn Bell (Instantpublisher.com, 2012). In one transcript, a black witness describes how a murder by night-riders came to an abrupt end before it could turn into mass murder… because a black victim shot back:
Witness: …The party rushed up to the door, and shot this man down dead; he did not speak but once or twice.
Question: Did the others return the fire?
Witness: There was one colored man who returned the fire, and it was believed he wounded one of them.
Question: Did that disperse them?
Witness: Yes, sir.
One of the loudest voices for gun ownership restriction is Obama crony Rahm Emmanuel, mayor of Chicago, where there were more than 500 homicides last year. Do some digging, and you’ll find out that the victims were overwhelmingly African-American. In 2011, Chicago murder victims were 75.3% black, 18.9% Hispanic, and only 4.6% white (stats from Chicago Police Department Research and Development Division). It was African-Americans’ vulnerability to such things that led Otis McDonald and Colleen Lawson to join in the lawsuit that, in the US Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in McDonald, et. al. v. City of Chicago, struck down that city’s unconstitutional decades-long ban on the mere ownership of handguns by its law-abiding private citizens. You can hear them tell their own stories on the ProArms Podcast: Colleen, Otis, downloadable free to your computer or iPod.
In the living memory of many of us, the Civil Rights efforts of the 1960s were largely a history of blacks using guns to defend themselves against murderous Klansmen and their cohorts. Groups like Deacons for Defense and Justice armed themselves and banded together to protect black communities from the night-riders. Order the made for TV docudrama about it, “Deacons for Defense,” from Netflix, or get a quick history fix here: http://www.blackpast.org/?q=aah/deacons-defense-and-justice. The Deacons were allied with CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality. I never did get to meet the late Ralph Connor, head of CORE, but you can hear him state his thoughts here:
I did have the pleasure of meeting Roy Innes, another leader of CORE, who was always a strong voice for the right to keep and bear arms.
More recently, we have read the balanced logic of Professor Walter Williams. Read his recent column, “Are Guns the Problem,”
And it’s clear from his record that our highest ranking African-American jurist, Justice Clarence Thomas of the United States Supreme Court, understands what the Second Amendment is about, too.
Dr. King kept guns in his home to protect himself and his family. After firebombing and numerous death threats by racists, his application for a permit to carry a gun was denied by the “may issue” white power structure in that time and place. Let the holiday that celebrates this man’s life include some reflection on the importance of the Second Amendment.