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January 18th, 2017

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Hey, 'Black Lives Matter' -- Do Black Opinions on Guns Matter?

Larry Elder

By Larry Elder

Published Oct. 22, 2015

Hey, 'Black Lives Matter' -- Do Black Opinions on Guns Matter?

"Gun control advocates," reports Politico, "frustrated by repeated failures to pass even moderate restrictions on gun ownership, are trying to forge an alliance with Black Lives Matter and the criminal justice reform movement in a strategy shift aimed at overcoming the lobbying power of the National Rifle Association."

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently said: "I think that we have to look at the fact that we lose 90 people a day from gun violence. This has gone on too long and it's time the entire country stood up against the NRA. The majority of our country supports background checks, and even the majority of gun owners do."

Clinton's Democratic rival Bernie Sanders echoed: "All the shouting in the world is not going to do what I would hope all of us want, and that is keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have those guns and end this horrible violence that we are seeing. I believe that there is a consensus in this country. A consensus has said we need to strengthen and expand instant background checks, do away with this gun show loophole, that we have to address the issue of mental health, that we have to deal with the straw-man purchasing issue, and that when we develop that consensus, we can finally, finally do something to address this issue."

And President Obama readies yet another executive order for further gun control. "President Obama," writes the Washington Post, "is seriously considering circumventing Congress with his executive authority and imposing new background-check requirements for buyers who purchase weapons from high-volume gun dealers. Under the proposed rule change, dealers who exceed a certain number of sales each year would be required to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and perform background checks on potential buyers."

The civil rights movement, writes professor Thaddeus Russell, author of "A Renegade History of the United States," would not have been successful but for access to guns:

"The philosophy of nonviolence as propounded by Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights leadership that emerged in the 1950s was a new and exotic concept to black Southerners. Since before Emancipation, when slaves mounted several organized armed rebellions and countless spontaneous and individual acts of violent resistance to overseers, masters, and patrollers, black men and women consistently demonstrated a willingness to advance their interests at the point of a gun. In the year following the Civil War, black men shot white rioters who attacked blacks in New Orleans and Memphis. Even the original civil rights leadership publicly believed that, as Frederick Douglass put it in 1867, 'a man's rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.'"

In her book "A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me," former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice writes about guns and her minister father. In 1963, four little girls were killed in the bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama, black church. "After the first explosion,' writes Rice, "Daddy just went outside and sat on the porch with his gun on his lap. He sat there all night looking for white night riders.

"Eventually Daddy and the men of the neighborhood formed a watch. They would take shifts at the head of the entrances to our streets. Occasionally they would fire a gun into the air to scare off intruders, but they never actually shot anyone.

"Because of this experience, I'm a fierce defender of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. Had my father and his neighbors registered their weapons, Bull Connor surely would have confiscated them or worse. The Constitution speaks of the right to a well-regulated militia. The inspiration for this was the Founding Fathers' fear of the government. They insisted that citizens have the right, if necessary, to resist the authorities themselves. What better example of responsible gun ownership is there than what the men of my neighborhood did in response to the KKK and Bull Connor?"

Today, a disproportionate number of gun murders are committed by and on blacks. Blacks are, therefore, uniquely affected by this issue. Have Democratic politicians bothered to ask blacks how they feel about more gun control laws?

A new SurveyUSA News Poll of 500 adults in San Diego, California, did just that. It asked, "Should America have more laws concerning guns? Fewer laws concerning guns? Or just about the right amount of laws concerning guns?"

Half of the white respondents — 50 percent — want more gun laws. Only 26 percent of blacks agreed. Twenty-one percent of whites want fewer laws, while 47 percent of blacks want fewer laws. And 25 percent of both groups thought the amount of current laws are just right.

Altogether, 72 percent of blacks felt that our current gun laws were sufficient — or that we needed fewer. Only 46 percent of whites felt the same way.

If black lives matter, what about black opinions on guns?

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Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host.

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