Gun Control: Playing the Race Card

Article by Stuart Bramhall.


1967 Detroit Riots1967 Detroit Riots

Progressive “scholarly” research into gun control generally makes two equally salient points: 1) the aim of gun control legislation is to control people (mainly disenfranchised minorities and the poor), not guns and 2) in countries with strict gun control laws, the use of deadly force is restricted to the police and army, as ordinary citizens aren’t trusted to play any role (including self-defense) in maintaining law and order. Someone has just sent me an excellent article called “How Governments Create Crime” by a New Zealand public health officer that elaborates on these concepts (Dr Lech Beltowski – How Governments Create Crime).

Using Gun Control to Control African Americans

America’s extreme preoccupation with gun control appears directly related to their 200 year history of slavery and the oppressive Jim Crow laws that followed emancipation. As Steve Ekwall writes in the “Racist Origins of US Gun Control” (http://www.blackwallstreet.freeservers.com/gun%20control.htm) and Clayton Cramer in “The Racist Roots of Gun Control” (http://www.firearmsandliberty.com/cramer.racism.html) the targeting of African Americans with early gun control laws is extremely blatant.

In the south, pre-civil war “Slave Codes” prohibited slaves from owing guns. Following emancipation, many southern states still prohibited blacks from owning guns under “Black Codes,” on the basis that they weren’t citizens and not entitled to Second Amendment rights. After the 1878 adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, acknowledging blacks as citizens, southern states imposed high taxes or banned inexpensive guns, so as to price blacks and poor whites out of the market. Ekwall quotes from the 1909 Virginia University Law Review, which describes the need for “prohibitive tax…on the privilege” of selling handguns as a way of disarming “the son of Ham,” whose “cowardly practice of ‘toting’ guns has been one of the most fruitful sources of crime…. Let a negro board a railroad train with a quart of mean whiskey and a pistol in his grip and the chances are that there will be a murder, or at least a row, before he alights.” [Comment, Carrying Concealed Weapons, 15 Va L. Reg. 391, 391-92 (1909); George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal (GMU CR LJ), Vol. 2, No. 1, “Gun Control and Racism,” Stefan Tahmassebi, 1991, p. 75]

Lyndon Johnson Introduces Federal Gun Control


Ekwall also quotes gun control advocate Robert Sherrill, author of The Saturday Night Special and Other Guns (1972), who states unequivocally that “The Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed, not to control guns, but to control blacks.” Ekwall goes on to describe the unprecedented 1965-68 race riots in 125 American cities, in which the violence was graphically magnified by extensive TV coverage. In 1965, thirty-four people were killed in a race riot in the Watts area of Los Angeles. In 1967, twenty-six were killed in Newark alone, and forty in Detroit. Over 5,000 were left homeless in the Detroit riot, which was finally quelled by 4,700 federal paratroopers and 8,000 National Guardsmen.

The paranoia this engendered in the corporate and political elite was greatly heightened by public statements by Stokely Carmichael and other Black Panthers who openly advocated advocating violent revolution and the well-publicized protests (and police riot) at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

The Move to Ban Gun Ownership Among the Poor

Ekwall goes on to outline a series of state laws enacted during the Reagan administration, in conjunction with the federal Weed and Seed program, which in most cities specifically targeted blacks and low income whites. The latter re-funded social programs that Reagan had cut for states and cities that enacted draconian law and order legislation. In 1988, Maryland passed a ban on cheap imported handguns. The same year Chicago enacted Operation Clean Sweep, whose purpose was the confiscation of firearms and illegal narcotics in Chicago Housing Authority buildings. It allowed the Chicago police to conduct warrantless searches on all CHA tenants. Tenants who objected or attempted to interfere with these warrantless searches were arrested.

In 1990, the Richmond Housing Authority in Virginia imposed a ban, upheld by the state supreme court, on the possession of all firearms in public housing projects.

In 1994 the Clinton Administration tried to introduce H.R. 3838 to ban guns in federal public housing. It was defeated in the House Banking Committee. Similar legislation was filed (but unsuccessful) in 1994 in the Oregon and Washington state    legislatures.

A 1995 Maine law banning guns in public housing was struck down by Maine courts the same year.

To be continued.

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