The runoff elections for the two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia are shaping up to be another close race, but gun owners in the state have a lot of reasons to get out and vote on January 5th (or before, if you’re planning on voting absentee). Democrats Jon Ossoff, who’s running against incumbent Republican David Perdue, and Rev. Raphael Warnock, who’s facing incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler, have embraced an extreme anti-gun ideology that leaves little room for the lawful exercise of our right to keep and bear arms.
In fact, the National Rifle Association highlighted a video from Warnock on its social media this week in which Warnock mocks the idea that anyone would want to carry a gun in church to protect themselves or others from an attack.
BOMBSHELL: Newly found video shows Georgia Senate candidate @ReverendWarnock LAUGHING at church-goers who defend themselves with guns.
First Warnock goes after our veterans, now our Second Amendment.
— NRA (@NRA) November 30, 2020
In the video the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta is speaking from the pulpit about a law passed in Georgia back in 2014 that allowed for churches to permit concealed carry on the premises.
“And so somebody decided that they had a bright idea to pass a piece of legislation that would allow for guns and concealed weapons to be carried in churches. Have you ever been to a church meeting? That’s the last place…” Warnock trails off as the crowd guffaws.
The NRA video then cuts to interviews with Jack Wilson and Stephen Willeford, two men who used their guns to stop attacks at churches in Texas. Wilson had his gun with him as part of the church security team at the West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas in December of 2019 when a man walked into the sanctuary with a shotgun and began to open fire. Within seconds, Wilson was able to stop the attack, saving countless lives in the process.
Willeford, as you remember, was asleep in his home in Sutherland Springs, Texas on November 5th, 2017 when a man walked into the First Baptist Church across the street and opened fire on parishioners. Willeford grabbed his AR-15 and engaged the attacker as he exited the church, preventing any more loss of life.
Of course, when Warnock mocked the idea of carrying guns in churches for self-defense back in 2014, Stephen Willeford and Jack Wilson were just ordinary gun owners who had no idea that they would one day use their Second Amendment rights to save others. Even in 2014, though, Raphael Warnock ignored the significant role that armed self-defense played in the civil rights movement, including the “arsenal” and armed guards who protected an earlier pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church; Martin Luther King.
Back in 2014, as Warnock was laughing at the idea of armed self-defense, Charles Cobb, a former field secretary with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was busy promoting his book This Nonviolent Stuff Will Get You Killed: How Guns Made The Civil Rights Movement Possible. In an interview with historian Danielle McGuire, Cobb spoke of the ubiquitous presence of firearms in the civil rights movement.
Protection was common, even if it wasn’t publicly acknowledged. You couldn’t live in any household in a rural Southern community without guns, and people weren’t afraid to use them. During the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott, Reverend King had guns all over his house. Glenn Smiley, one of King’s advisers, called King’s home an “arsenal.” That’s a Southern thing. I’ve been in houses where guns have been in the nightstand, under the pillow, in the chair.
McGuire agreed with Cobb, noting her own conversation with a Birmingham, Alabama man who helped protect Martin Luther King when he would visit the city. When McGuire asked the man how he would protect the civil rights icon, he replied “With a nonviolent .38 police special.”
Raphael Warnock may view the right of self-defense as a punchline, but the truth is that good guys with guns have defended innocent lives in church sanctuaries and pastoral homes for decades. Warnock isn’t just ignoring our constitutional right to keep and bear arms by embracing an anti-gun agenda. He’s ignoring the history that armed self-defense played in the fight for equality as well.