Led by conservative activist Star Parker, the founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, more than a dozen black leaders spoke out in favor of gun rights at a press conference at Washington’s National Press Club.
“The call for universal background checks as qualifiers for constitutional rights invokes painful memories of Jim Crow laws and Black Codes,” said Parker, who was an unsuccessful California GOP congressional candidate in 2010.
Parker said the press conference was called during Black History Month because the lessons learned by the black experience in America teach that all Americans should be able to exercise their gun rights.
The press conference was dedicated to the tradition of abolitionist and civil rights leader Frederick Douglass, she said. “Douglass reminded us: ‘A man’s rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box.’”
What was true in Douglas’s day, is true today, she said.
“Regarding black reality, blacks are the least armed, least protected and defended and the most assaulted citizens in our country,” she said.
Parker said in a recent survey 42 percent of whites and only 16 percent of blacks reported that they had either a handgun or long gun in the home, she said.
“Does anyone really think that universal background checks, in which some past legal infraction might nullify a gun application, would not result in even fewer law-abiding black men from obtaining a weapon to protect their family?” she asked.
“What about black women?” she said. “Studies show an 81 percent higher risk of mental health problems with women, who have had an abortion—will abortion be one of the questions on the universal background check?”
Capitol Hill proposals that restrict gun rights ignore why people should be free to keep and bear arms, she said.
Black Americans cannot rely on the establishment law enforcement to protect them, she said.
“Law-abiding black citizens live under siege in crime-ridden communities,” she said. “Yet, somehow they are supposed to buy the logic that giving more power to those in law enforcement—already trying to maintain order, but don’t, while stripping the freedoms of those who do obey the law—will somehow make us better off.”
Parker, who writes a nationally syndicated column carried in 300 newspapers, said the opponents of gun rights can never answer the question: “How do you take a gun away from the underground? The criminal? A racist cop? Or a tyrannical government?”
Among the other leaders joining Parker were Rev. Kenneth L. “The Hutch” Hutcherson, the pastor of the Antioch Bible Church, Kirkland, Wash., a former Dallas Cowboy linebacker; Rev. Kenneth V. Blanchard, a Marine veteran, a Washington pastor and the host of the “Urban Shooter” podcast and Harry C. Alford, the founding president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.
Hutcherson, who led the participants in prayer shortly before the C-SPAN technician called out: “We’re hot!,” said he was surprised how many of his former teammates and opponents from the NFL were supportive of restricting gun rights. “It made me re-consider that maybe there are serve brain injuries from playing football.”
The former linebacker said he prays that he will always have the Second Amendment, which allows him to protect his family.
Alford said the real reason why the Democrats are making a big issue out of gun violence is to distract the American people from the fact that President Barack Obama’s economic policies failed to create jobs or revive the economy.
The former Army company commander said besides being a diversion, the movement to restrict gun rights ignores that many rural Americans rely on guns to protect themselves from wildlife. “Alligators? They just show up—they don’t knock on the door.”
When Blanchard began his remarks, he described his background growing up in the country with a grandmother who kept a loaded shotgun hanging on the wall of her humble home. He recalled a day when two white men drove up to the house and came to the door to ask his grandmother if she wanted any of their deer meat as they had come back from a hunting trip.
Blanchard said the men were very polite, and they were very aware that his grandmother was holding her shotgun as she spoke to them through the screen door.
After a short break the press event was followed by a closed-door meeting, where Parker and the others discussed strategy and tactics in the fight to protect gun rights for the black community.