New Meme: Gun Rights Not for Blacks?

I’m a strong believer that Black Americans often unjustly draw the short straw from our legal system, and the police are often guilty of systemic bias in their enforcement of the law, but I have to agree with Bob Owens in this particular story which highlights a black v. white open carry encounter. I’ve seen some white guys get treated equally poorly, and sometimes worse, depending on jurisdiction, and how familiar the officers are with handling open carriers. I’m open to the hypothesis that Black Americans will, on average, have more negative experiences, but these two encounters are do necessarily represent an example of such bias.

My purpose in bringing this incident up is to note there seems to be a meme going around. I go over a LOT of news in this issue. You only ever see a fraction of it here, because I don’t often decide to write about a topic until I notice new patterns. This has become a new pattern. There seems to be a concerted effort to convince African-Americans that gun rights are for white people, and white people are only interested in preserving this right for themselves, and blacks can never hope to exercise it on an equal basis with whites.

While I have no doubt in a country of 300 million, you could find people who believe that gun rights are only for white people, it is not even remotely mainstream opinion even among the most gun nutty of gun nuts. Even at my working-class, aging suburban gun club, we have African-American members, and the guy who ran my qualification test for my membership was an African-American. I won’t say there ain’t a racist among us, it’s a 1200 person club, and you can find plenty of assholes among any 1200 people, but I think you’d be hard pressed to find many people who would agree Second Amendment rights are for whites only.

So why would someone try to float this meme? I think this all started with the recent Pew Poll, showing support for gun rights swinging in our favor among Black Americans. Nick Johnson, who’s written a whole book on the topic, has noted that support of African-Americans in favor of gun control seemed to come more from a desire to coalition with progressive-minded whites than out of any deep cultural or historical inclination from within the black community.

It’s not that I believe there’s any overarching or coordinated conspiracy to put meme out there, but if you can plant the idea with a few sympathetic and influential opinion leaders, and then let other influential people chew on it a bit, you can get a meme to spread. Progressive Democrats are completely dependent on owning the black vote. They can’t let any issue drive a wedge, and this one is now threatening to do that, so they need to bring their base back in line. The real solution for Democrats would be to abandon gun control, return to more traditional liberalism, and leave the progressive mouth foamers hung out to dry. But how many traditional liberals are left these days?

8 Responses to “New Meme: Gun Rights Not for Blacks?”

  1. BTR says:

    Blacks tended to be pro RKBA up until fairly recently… Black politicians started to go anti when they joined up in a coalition with white librals who hated guns.

    MLK Jr. for example, was pro-gun ownership; he was denied a carry permit in AL.

    CORE is only remaining major black civil liberties group that is still pro RKBA.

  2. The_Jack says:

    And /interestingly/ this is coming from people who will talk about how guns are an “urban” problem and that cities need different laws than the boonies (and we all know what urban is a dog whistle for), endorse May Issue politices (which mean those same racist Metro cops get to pick who can and cannot have a gun), and demand Universal Background checks (I mean if Voter ID is racist then…).

  3. Patrick says:

    The primary meme recounted is that gun owners are racist. We’ve all heard “NRA Member” equated to racist many, many times – in the open and even by members of Congress on national TV.

    It’s a concerted effort to make gun owners and the NRA toxic to minorities, so they do not engage us and learn of their rights and how they are abused. By making gun owners the Boogeyman, they hope to prevent people from even talking to us, lest they learn something.

    Gun Control only works if there is no engagement with us. I can tell you that in my personal experience, engagement works quite well regardless of race or sex.

    My only advice is to not argue the meme – defeat it by defying it one new shooter at a time.

  4. Other Steve says:

    The people in your article were almost certainly NOT African-American. They my have been black, and Americans, but have not emigrated at any point in their lives from Africa.

    Try traveling abroad. No one else in the world calls people the country their ancestors may have been from. Go to England and call a black guy and African-Englishman and see how well it goes over.

    It’s ok, you can say it, the proper term is just black.

    • Sebastian says:

      I used the term black multiple times in this post. I switched it up a few times for variety. My understanding is that some blacks prefer black, some prefer African-American. I’ll call them what they want to be called.

  5. Philbert says:

    It might also be part of the lazy tendency to see a black guy and a white guy in superficially similar situations and assume that the black guy was treated worse because of his race. Never mind their individual histories with the police, the different locations, and different officers. Never mind that it’s easy to find white open carriers (even of handguns) who have had police guns pointed at them for no reason.

    I agree with your opening statement that there are real biases against black Americans in the legal system. It doesn’t mean every individual incident is solely decided by the race of the actors.

  6. Alpheus says:

    I have a funny suspicion, though, that such attempts could also backfire. In addition to the vast majority of NRA-types not being racist (and so would just be angry at such a video, regardless of races involved), there’s even going to be the occasional racist who is going to be more angry at the violation of Constitutional rights, regardless of race. It’s possible for a racist to consider other principles more important than race!

  7. Michael P says:

    The whole point of gun control laws back in the day was to keep guns out of the hands of black people. Indeed, one of the arguments in favor of the Dredd Scott decision that presaged the Civil War was that if blacks were recognized as citizens they’d be able to carry guns, and so of course the court ruled that black people couldn’t possibly be citizens, and hundreds of thousands of Americans died as a result.

    “It would give to persons of the negro race, …the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, …to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased …the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.[22]” – US Supreme Court


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