Something many gun control advocates are ignorant of is the root of gun control, which is racist in nature. Early gun control laws were enacted to prevent newly freed slaves from acquiring arms and fighting against aggression from organizations like the Ku Klux Klan. These laws persisted into the mid 20th century and prevented Martin Luther Kind Jr. from acquiring a carry permit:
A recipient of constant death threats, King had armed supporters take turns guarding his home and family. He had good reason to fear that the Klan in Alabama was targeting him for assassination.
William Worthy, a journalist who covered the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, reported that once, during a visit to King’s parsonage, he went to sit down on an armchair in the living room and, to his surprise, almost sat on a loaded gun. Glenn Smiley, an adviser to King, described King’s home as “an arsenal.”
As I found researching my new book, Gunfight, in 1956, after King’s house was bombed, King applied for a concealed carry permit in Alabama. The local police had discretion to determine who was a suitable person to carry firearms. King, a clergyman whose life was threatened daily, surely met the requirements of the law, but he was rejected nevertheless. At the time, the police used any wiggle room in the law to discriminate against African Americans.
At least we can give gun control advocates some credit for overcoming their racist history and finally advocating equal punishment for all individuals. Sadly what they advocate, disarming non-state entities, prevented and, if they have their way, will continue to prevent people such as Martin Luther King Jr. from obtaining the proper means to defend themselves.
One thought on “The Root of Gun Control”
Most current state prohibitions and regulations began in a racist way. Unionism? Keep black workers from depressing white wages! Marriage law? Can’t let the blacks marry the whites! Business licensing? How else will we keep the blacks from being successful entrepreneurs? Drug prohibition? Can’t let the habits of the Negro, and his Latino friends, corrupt our young white women!
And so on. The only thing that changes – the only thing that ever changes – is the apparent justification for state power. Then, it was racism, and now it is homophobia, promises of security from violence and hardship alike, and the rationale of inertia.
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