Violence Policy Center Seems To Have A Problem With Black Gun Owners

A release from Black PR Wire begins with: “In response to stagnation in the traditional white male market, the gun industry and National Rifle Association (NRA) are now targeting Blacks and Latinos as potential new gun buyers according to a new study from the Violence Policy Center (VPC).”

This sounds alarming, although it’s entirely unclear what “stagnation” they’re discussing since gun sales were at record levels in 2020, continue to explode in 2021, and ammunition cannot be had for love nor money.. but I digress.

According to the release, this is a cynical manipulation by the gun industry akin to Big Tobacco marketing to children (no condescension there at all) to “find replacement shooters,” and apparently kill lots of people of color.

In its marketing efforts to communities of color, the gun industry frequently focuses on the self-defense use of firearms, despite the fact that guns are rarely used to stop crimes or kill criminals and are far more likely to be used in homicides, suicides, or fatal unintentional shootings. Recognizing that Blacks and Latinos are already disproportionately impacted by lethal gun violence, these efforts can only increase death and injury in these communities.   

Of course none of that is true, as the Heritage Foundation notes:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost every major study on defensive gun use has found that Americans use their firearms defensively between 500,000 and 3 million times each year. There’s good reason to believe that most defensive gun uses are never reported to law enforcement, much less picked up by local or national media outlets.

Moreover, in 2018, there were 39,740 deaths from firearms in the U.S. — only 35% of them or so were homicides, so it’s clear that defensive gun uses far outweigh homicides.

Additionally, a 2018 study found that According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the majority of violent crime happens within the same race, so it would seem wise for communities of color to want to defend themselves.

Something Josh Sugarmann at the VPC apparently wants to prevent, however. His statement is quite telling:

Much like the tobacco industry’s search for replacement smokers, the gun industry is seeking replacement shooters. Along with the hope of increased gun sales, a corollary goal of this effort is to turn more Blacks and Latinos, who historically support gun violence prevention measures, into pro-gun advocates for future political battles.

And later: 

As with the alcohol and tobacco industries, the joint actions of the NRA and the firearms industry should be seen for what they are: a cynical marketing effort by a rogue industry that values its own perpetuation above all, including any lives lost or communities adversely impacted.

Again, since defensive gun uses far outweigh criminal ones, it becomes apparent which side is truly worried about “lives lost.”

Rick Ector, an African-American Second Amendment advocate in Detroit, says, given the racist origins of gun control, this attempt by the VPC to keep communities of color unarmed should come as no surprise.

You know when you see articles out there which are portraying black people as uninformed and hapless people who are incapable of acting in their own self interest is really insulting. Here’s the thing, Black people, as well as other races and groups, they are acting in their own self interest which has absolutely nothing to do with undue, untoward influences from guns rights organizations.

Ector said that communities of color are turning to the Second Amendment and gun ownership for the same reasons white people are: crime, political uncertainty and a growing — and in their communities often justified — belief that the police cannot, or will not protect them.

All of these things in themselves and by themselves are enough to spur any community in the country as a whole to embrace gun rights and gun ownership, but we have all of these things working together simultaneously. And the results are predictable. There has never been more interest and embracing the Second Amendment and embracing gun ownership and at a very basic level, being a protector for your household.

Ector also noted that it’s not the NSSF, or NRA spurring interest, but often Black activists reaching their own communities.

There has now been … more people within the community, that is Black men, who have through their hard work and dedication and advocacy of gun rights and the Bill of Rights — Ken Blanchard, Black Man with a Gun, Maj Toure, Black Guns Matter, Colion Noir, and a host of other people. All of these people have done all of these great things in terms of Second Amendment and gun rights advocacy, without sponsorship without someone bankrolling, you know the movement, and it’s all been done organically and all of the people that I mentioned, it’s not just black people who are following them. Even to a greater extent is people of all races colors and creeds. Then there’s just the generic groundswell organic growing movement to adopt and support the Second Amendment .

The bottom line, is that Sugarmann and the VPC are treating people of color like children who have to be protected, not adults who have the right to think and act for themselves. It’s racist, it’s disgusting and as Ector notes, it has a long history.

Blacks and guns … there’s a sordid history … where it was done in this misguided, intentionally erroneous, paternalistic attitude that we need to be shielded from guns for our own good. Never mind the fact that without guns we would be subject to the predators, the Klan, the racist gun laws that were put on the books to keep us dependent on the government and the local police.

According to Ector, however, the gun ownership is being widely adopted by communities of all races, and creeds.

Gun ownership is widely being adopted by everyone, that’s why it has been adopted by women that’s why it is being adopted by black people, people of all colors, views, ideologies and religions, and is only going to grow. 

From your mouth to God’s (or at least Josh Sugarmann’s) ears, Mr. Ector.

Oct 24, 2021 2:30 PM ET