Over at takepart.com, New York-based Fulbright scholar and writer Rebecca McCray tells us Why Gun Control Isn’t at the Heart of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Only she doesn’t, really. Although the article’s subtitle proclaims Stricter gun laws could do more harm than good to poor, black communities, experts and activists say that’s not what I’m reading . . .
No expert or activist makes mention of the racist roots of American gun control (cited extensively in the Supreme Court’s Heller decision). No member of the Black Lives Matter or similar groups calls for African-Americans to exercise their natural, civil or Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms in their own defense. Instead, we get this . . .
Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, a national racial justice network, is one of the groups engaging in that debate with members of the gun control advocacy community. At a recent roundtable in Washington, D.C., representatives from the group met with leaders from organizations such as the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, which advocates for “sensible gun laws” and universal background checks for gun buyers. So far, according to Million Hoodies policy director Pete Haviland-Eduah, the conversation has been productive.
“I think it’s totally unfair to ignore the racial implications of gun laws,” said Haviland-Eduah. “The general sense I’m getting is that [people in the gun control movement] are understanding that these conversations need to have a racial context.”
Without that, Haviland-Eduah and Sinyangwe fear, black communities will unfairly bear the brunt of stricter gun laws.
How ironic can you get? They already bear the brunt of stricter gun laws. Current gun laws leave black communities throughout the United States defenseless against crime and yes, government tyranny. Just as they have since their inception in the Deep South, where the Powers That Be disarmed blacks to enable their disenfranchisement, discrimination, rape, torture and murder. But that’s not how these “activists” see it. Not at all.
“Many of the already existing instances of racial profiling and over-policing that contribute to mass incarceration come from gun control measures,” [Alex] Gourevitch told TakePart. “If we really care about the condition of people living in poor black communities, the issue isn’t just the destruction of physical lives but how low the quality of life is. The best thing would be to reduce the number of things we call crimes and instead look to things like social and economic policy.”
You and I might think that Gourevitch’s anti-policing argument supports the repeal of gun laws. Read it again. The Brown University Poli Sci Prof wants his anti-gun cake and eat his social welfare cake, too.
Anyway, it’s good to know that Ladd Everitt’s anti-gun extremists – supporters who openly call for the SWATting of open carriers – are trying to convince the BLM movement to argue for more gun control. Like this:
Haviland-Eduah’s and Sinyangwe’s ideas are having an influence on the gun control movement. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is trying to get more data on the racial implications of federal gun possession laws, a quest that was borne of conversations with members of the Black Lives Matter community.
“The dialogue we’ve started is critical and has been incredibly useful,” the coalition’s communications director, Ladd Everitt, told TakePart. “I don’t think we’re going to reach a point where their agenda is our agenda, but we are finding areas of common concern and working on those.”
If that data can be identified and collected, Everitt believes the coalition and the broader anti–gun violence community would gladly campaign around racial disparities in gun laws.
Haviland-Eduah would welcome such a change.
“Guns affect all communities in this country, and I think it’s important to make that distinction when people point their finger at the Black Lives Matter movement and say, ‘Guns should be a part of this,’ ” Haviland-Eduah said. “It almost feels like they’re saying guns are only a black or brown problem.”
So they’ve got it exactly backwards. The sooner The People of the Gun recruit and welcome minorities into the fold the better.