The ‘government is needed to make us feel safe’ proposals are not limited to white nationalism, of course. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney used the shooting of six police officers in his city to crow, “Our officers deserve to be protected and don’t deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with unlimited amount of weapons and bullets. It’s disgusting.”
Salon’s Amanda Marcotte went so far as to suggest conservatives are hypocritical for their support of police and guns by crying, “Conservatives’ utter lack of interest in stronger gun laws to protect police, despite all the “blue lives matter” talk, is certainly hypocritical. But it’s hardly surprising.” She then proceeded to re-enact Thelma and Louise’s drive off a cliff by suggesting, “Both the sanctimony about police and the attachment to guns are symbolic issues for conservatives. They have less to do with real concerns for public safety and more to do with the racist, nationalist resentment that also led to Donald Trump’s election.”
The facts are quite the opposite. Gun control laws had their origins in racism – not against whites, but against African-Americans. Robert J. Cottrol wrote in Gun Control and The Second Amendment, “Most laws restricting the possession of firearms were to be found in the slave states of the antebellum South. Generally, they prohibited the possession of firearms on the parts of slaves and free blacks.”
The 1994 tome also features an essay by David C. Williams looking at an 1825 law in Florida allowing whites to go into the homes of non-slave blacks and confiscate weapons. Jane Coaston also wrote at MTV.com in 2016 how California, run by then-Governor Ronald Reagan, passed its open carry ban two months after armed Black Panthers gathered on the steps of the State Capitol in a protest against the government.
Whites were wary of armed blacks so their ‘feel safe’ solution was disarmament. One would think those who intone the phrase, “Black Lives Matter” – and condemn the idea of trigger-happy police – would embrace whole-heartedly the idea of “Black Guns Matter.” Yet, they are full of hypocrisy by desiring disarmament and leaving all weapons in the hands of the police they protest. Their ache to ‘feel safe’ simply allows them to ignore the history of racism in gun control.
– Taylor Millard in Government and the Need to Feel Safe