New Black Panther Party chapter opposing Constitutional Carry bill

AP Photo/John Minchillo

The gun-owning lefty has never been a unicorn in the 2A world. They’ve always been around, though their numbers have definitely increased in recent years. And there’s more than one variety of gun-owning liberals or progressives; the “I own guns, but only the kind my peers find socially acceptable like a hunting rifle or a shotgun to shoot skeet” model, the “I don’t mind (at least some) gun control laws because I think they make sense” middle-of-the-roader, and the “gun control laws are part of a racist and inequitable justice system that needs to be dismantled” revolutionaries, to name a few.

I fully expect that the first two groups are going to be on board with most, if not all, gun control proposals that Democrats push in Congress and state capitol buildings, but I will confess to being taken by surprise with one of the self-styled revolutionary groups coming out opposed keeping the status quo in place.

… opponents of the bills like the Dayton New Black Panther Party say these bills do more harm than good, “I don’t think the bills need to pass because people need to be responsible to bear arms,” said Allyson Youngblood, the Chairwoman of Dayton New Black Panther Party.

The party said while it supports the right to carry it should be done safely, “Our soldiers are required to be trained to bear arms, they are licensed to carry and they do that responsible,” said Youngblood.

The party believes under this current climate these bills should not become law, “Gun violence, school shootings, mass shooting.”

I completely agree with Youngblood that people carrying guns should be responsible. But does a licensing system, even one that’s “shall issue”, actually achieve that goal? There are still plenty of people irresponsibly carrying guns in Dayton (and Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, etc.), and if we’re being honest, some of them may even have their carry license. Proof of training is not proof of responsibility. Being responsible is a choice we continually make. It’s not a one-off you can check with a test.

I’ll also agree that education and training are great ways to encourage responsible gun ownership. But I don’t like the idea of requiring any government test before you can exercise a right, and I am truly surprised to see the NBPP chapter in Dayton give the current law a big thumbs up.

The Constitutional Carry bill also contains a provision that clears up the current ambiguous language in state law about when gun owners have to notify police that they’re carrying if they’re stopped. Given the New Black Panther Party’s issues with policing, I would have thought that provision alone would be enough for the bill to receive the Dayton NBPP chapter’s support, but it appears that’s not the case.

Youngblood frames her opposition to Constitutional Carry as being safety-oriented, but also seems to suggest that at least part of the problem is that this is being proposed while violent crime is on the increase. If we weren’t still living with the sudden surge in violent crime that began last summer after the murder of George Floyd, then maybe things would be different.

A bad law is a bad law, though, even in good times. Are “shall issue” laws the most egregious infringement of our right to keep and bear arms? Of course not.

Do they criminalize the exercise of a constitutionally-protected right? Yes they do.

Do they impose a disproportionate burden on people scraping money together to make ends meet each week or even each day? Yes they do.

Do they prevent bad actors or irresponsible gun owners from carrying? No they don’t.

Do they prevent at least some legal gun owners from lawfully carrying? Yes they do.

Can we encourage responsible gun ownership and even foster a culture of responsible gun ownership without government mandates? Yes we can. And that’s exactly what the Dayton chapter of the New Black Panther Party (along with every one else who considers themselves to be Second Amendment supporters) should be working towards.

Constitutional Carry doesn’t create violent criminals. Possessory firearm offenses like “carrying without a license”, on the other hand, absolutely do create non-violent criminals out of citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights. And personally, I don’t consider supporting such laws to be either progressive or revolutionary. SB 215 would be of huge benefit to the rights and freedoms of Ohioans, and as Dallas, Texas has shown us, as long as police actually focus on violent offenders, there’s no reason why murders, assaults, and robberies can’t dramatically decline after Constitutional Carry takes effect.