Is this what Michael Bloomberg expects when he writes those monthly checks that keep his anti-gun agitprop generating machine ‘The Trace’ up and running?
Police have always understood that firearms facilitate abuses of their power against Black people. As early as before the Civil War, “Slave Codes” — and later “Black Codes” — prohibited Black Americans from owning guns, enshrining this advantage in law. In the late 1960s, after racist ownership restrictions had fallen away, the Black Panthers tried to close the power differential, assembling shotgun-armed posses in Oakland, California, to observe officers as they interacted with Black civilians. They met the implicit threat of a police shooting with the equal threat of an armed intervention, and officers relented: With the Panthers present, traffic stops and arrests occurred without beatings.
“The Panthers understood that guns changed the dynamic, that an officer was going to be less likely to harass them if the officer thought that they could exercise self defense,” said Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America. “That’s why they carried the guns.”
The Panthers’ tactic didn’t last — state legislatures and Congress quickly passed laws restricting access to guns and the ability to carry them openly in public. In fact, many political historians believe that American lawmakers would never have found a cause in gun control without a parade of armed Black people on magazine covers and news shows stirring anxiety in the white populace.
– Champe Barton in Police, Power, and the Specter of Guns