WhiteHouse.gov photo courtesy Fox News
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Martin Luther King preached non-violence.  Privately, the man knew his limitations, and with that in mind, he owned guns for self-defense.  He even applied for a concealed carry license.  After all, he knew that the only thing that stops bad people with evil in their hearts is a good guy with a gun.

Of course, yesterday was the Martin Luther King national holiday.  The civil rights icon, who gave us the “I have a dream” speech, stands as a giant in American history.

He told us to judge a man not by the color of his skin, but the content of his character.  Amen, brother.  Preach it!

Today though, many on the gun-hating left react with utter disbelief when told of King’s gun ownership.

So imagine the surprise when the Huffington Post ran a story in 2011 by Professor Adam Winkler covering King’s membership in the gun owner fraternity.  Frankly, they should run that story every year.  From the Huffington Post:

MLK and His Guns

One issue on everyone’s mind this Martin Luther King Jr. day was gun control. King’s calls for resolving our differences through peaceful nonviolence are especially poignant after Jared Loughner gunned down six people and wounded several others in Tucson. Amid the clamor for new gun laws, its appropriate to remember King’s complicated history with guns.

Most people think King would be the last person to own a gun. Yet in the mid-1950s, as the civil rights movement heated up, King kept firearms for self-protection. In fact, he even applied for a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

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.”

What’s more, the great Martin Luther King had a place on the government’s terrorist watch list of the time.  These who wish to disarm those on today’s terrorist watch list without due process based merely on suspicions would have banned King from gun ownership in his time as well.

And, as Professor Winkler writes, civil rights activists had reason to own guns and maintain proficiency.  Because frankly, a lot of people wanted to kill them – or at least intimidate them into silence.

Indeed, after an attack, King applied for a concealed carry license.  Of course, with the racial roots of gun control, local cops had no problem finding a reason to deny issuance.  From Winkler’s piece in the HuffPo:

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.

Courtesy Oleg Volk via a-human-right.com

In the end, civil rights legislation didn’t protect Martin Luther King and his fellow civil rights activists nearly as effectively as fellow good guys with guns.

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  1. The celebrities that I like to mention to people who think you can defend yourself with something other than guns are Bruce Lee and Steven Seagal. Both masters of martial arts but smart enough to know their limitations!

    • I bring up Bruce Lee a lot. I know he carried a revolver of some kind, although I don’t know the caliber off the top of my head.

      “Bruce Lee needed to carry a gun for self defense. If THAT guy didn’t think his fists alone were enough, what chance do the rest of us have? Get a gun.”

  2. … possum “used to be “a very prejudiced individual, as a matter of fact his grandfather( mother’s side) was a member of KKK. MLK was a great man, and I admire him above most of the other so called greats. Yes Martin Luther King may have had armed guards, but his words were of peace, love, forgiveness, and tolerance. America had a great man in Doctor King, God bless you sir

  3. Here we are again, Us Vs Them. Me I don’t much like the right or the left, but I am willing to work a strong US. Free Your Mind, Be Party Blind. Don’t think as they want you to as it is a waste of another Free Mind.

  4. There is a reason why white Liberals only talk about the Black Panther party for Self-Defense. And they NEVER talk about the Deacons for Self Defense and Justice. The Panthers were a communist group. The Deacons publicly stated they supported capitalism.

    The Deacons got many of their guns through mail order delivery to their homes. Since they lived in southern states. No white owned gun would sell to them. The 1968 gun control act ended mail order delivery. Even white senators said “it was for the good of the blacks”.

    White owned gun stores in California were no better. The Panthers drove from Oakland to San Francisco to by guns from Chinese owned gun stores. Now the last gun store in SF was forced to close by the white gay power structure there.

  5. MLK was a communist who stole church money to invest in white hookers.

    Fuck their movement. I hate the racism too but all these heroes are frauds. Wish we could just move past all this crap, but we never will as long as there is an entire month devoted to racism.

    • In the age of the internet there can be no more heroes. 24/7 scrutiny with every word, deed or thought recorded does not allow for it.

      As for the communism bit. I understand why a person that can’t get justice from his own .gov would be attracted to an outside source of relief. I was born in WV and I’m old enough to have traveled in the ‘old’ south. I saw first hand the signs that read ‘Whites Only’ and ‘Colored”. That was still happening as late as the 60s.

      I don’t think he would have been satisfied with communism. But in his mind it was probably worth a shot.

      • Those who have not seen the movie “Hidden Figures” owe it to themselves to look it up. The bride and I watched it for a second time with my sister and her husband, and when it was over he was shaking his head. He’s 75, and had no idea things were like that in the late 50s – early ’60s when he was in school. He was raised in south FL when it was essentially all white, had never seen any of that. My sister, I, and my wife were all in high school and college in VA, knew every bit of it, but among our own families the subject never came up, even between him and his wife of (now) 30+ years. The portion of the (true!) movie concerning the “colored women” bathroom at NASA was priceless.

  6. Alas, all the guns he owned couldn’t protect him from a chain smoking G-man with a Remington 740….

  7. That’s an FN-49 with an original scope and mount. Nice, very nice. Could be 7 or 8mm Mauser or 30-06.

    • Or 7.65. Although some in a South American country were arsenal converted to 7.62 with 20 round magazines.

      • Southern Cross – you are correct about the 7.65 mm. Only 5,541 FN-49 rifles were produced for Argentina. I got this information from The Combat Bookshelf, by Normount Technical Publications, Forest Grove, Oregon, written by Donald B.McLean and published in 1971. I purchased the brochure in 1972 and still have it. In 2004, Southern Ohio Gun sold a limited lot of this rifle that were converted to 7.62 Nato by the Argentine Navy with a detachable magazine. SOG sold them for ~$700. These rifles were probable converted from 7.65 mm, although I wasn’t there to witness the conversion … lol.

  8. Even Ghandi was on board:

    “Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.”
    – Mahatma Gandhi

  9. Well, the Jim Crow South and KKK wanted to keep blacks disarmed, back in the day. I wonder why the D-party is on about doing that again, now.

    Oh, right. Their history. Using the same playbook to Git Er Done, too.

  10. It is terrible to be just a civilian and keep a thing that can kill in the streets. I am a law student, and everything related to the civil rights movement and historical details attracts me since I studied a lot about it via free essays on the PhD Essay service. Therefore, expert writers helped me find more info for my university homework and get the right opinion about historical deeds and personalities like Martin Luther King and others. In this century, I say that everyone should feel secure in our community and feel that their civil rights are respected and taken into account. But even social movements in the past couldn’t make it real.

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