Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gun rights fanatics and some moderates say gun control is racist

Ladd Everitt Director of Communications for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has written an article on racism as a concept to explain gun control.  You might laugh at the thought that the gun nuts would come up with this ridiculous hypothesis, but in his piece, Ladd quotes author Adam Winkler, who is a UCLA Law Professor, as declaring that “gun control is racist” in his new book, Gunfight. 

According to Everitt, Winkler implies that gun control is defined by extremists who want to take away all guns from owners and establish a system much like the United Kingdom.  I have been writing on gun control for over seven years now and know this is not true as Ladd Everitt confirms.  He even cites others who concur like Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D-NY) and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns. 

See Ladd Everitt question Adam Winkler over racism and gun control below:

There are others that add to this misconception like historian and author, Clayton E. Cramer, who says, “The historical record provides compelling evidence that racism underlies gun control laws -- and not in any subtle way.”  He underlines that with, “Throughout much of American history, gun control was openly stated as a method for keeping blacks and Hispanics "in their place," and to quiet the racial fears of whites.”  Shades of Mississippi and Arizona.

Cramer continues in his article with examples like the French Black Code that required Louisiana colonists to stop and if necessary beat blacks carrying any weapon, even a walking cane.  He also talks about the Haitian Revolution of the 1790s, the fear of the first North American English colonies slave revolts, and the 1834 change to the Tennessee Constitution that allowed only “white” men to bear arms in their defense. 

The author sums up the article with the statement, “…gun control has historically been a tool of racism, and associated with racist attitudes about black violence.”  Interesting, but still not proving a real connection between gun control and racism other than the fact that the days of slavery in this country were violent ones.

Everitt says that Winkler “…even acknowledges that an overwhelming majority of African-Americans today support strong, strict gun laws.”  And he adds that “Winkler can cite no example of the contemporary gun control movement being racist.  This is a modern day comparison unlike the historical one by Cramer. 

And growing up in the South in Mississippi and Tennessee, I was well aware of the killings of the Ku Klux Klan. 

KKK hanging

Once, after I was old enough to drink I said to my father when we were having a beer together in a local Tennessee tavern, that I thought the KKK was a bunch of illiterate barbarian murderers.  He quietly let me know that this wasn’t something you said in this part of the country, particularly in a saloon where everyone had been drinking.  Actually, I grew up in this West Tennessee small town thinking I was the one that was crazy because of my beliefs, but I never gave them up.  I was for gun control then and not once experienced anything racist about it.

If you are interested, I would suggest that you Google “gun control is racist” to see a multitude of sites on the subject.  The gun rights extremists will go to any length to try and prove their point that everyone should be able to own a gun, no matter what their status, and be allowed to take their firearms anywhere in the USA—perhaps even the world—they want to.  But connecting gun control to racism is just wrong.

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