Gun owners get an awful rap in the modern media. While it’s fine for a Hollywood action hero to be loaded down with guns, the average citizen who does so is a ticking time bomb in their world. It’s worse with the news media, which routinely paints gun owners as being every kind of bigot imaginable. Recently, Bearing Arms has run two stories where this has come up. The first one, anti-gunners were trying to paint pro-gun folks as racists. The second, run just this weekend, liberal gun folks talked about the NRA’s supposedly “racist” policies.
Now, we all know this isn’t true. Gun owners are incredibly open to new folks, regardless of ethnicity. We love seeing new people shoot. Race is irrelevant for the vast majority of us.
I’m not saying there are no racist gun owners because we’re not some monolithic group, but you’ll have a far easier time finding racists at the Democratic National Convention than at the NRA’s annual meeting.
And that, my friends, is why the left tries to paint gun owners as the racists.
By now, many pro-Second Amendment advocates and activists understand the racist roots of gun control in this country. Even the more mainstream political site, The Hill, understands it.
One month after the Confederate surrender in 1865, Frederick Douglass urged federal action to stop state and local infringement of the right to arms. Until this was accomplished, Douglass argued, “the work of the abolitionists is not finished.”
Indeed, it was not. As the Special Report of the Paris Anti-Slavery Conference of 1867 found, freedmen in some southern states “were forbidden to own or bear firearms, and thus were rendered defenseless against assault.” Thus, white supremacists could continue to control freedmen through threat of violence.
Congress demolished these racist laws. The Freedmen’s Bureau Bill of 1865, Civil Rights Act of 1866, and Civil Rights Act of 1870 each guaranteed all persons equal rights of self-defense. Most importantly, the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, made the Second Amendment applicable to the states.
Because of the 14th Amendment, gun control laws now had to be racially neutral. But states quickly learned to draft neutrally-worded laws for discriminatory application. Tennessee and Arkansas prohibited handguns that freedmen could afford, while allowing expensive “Army & Navy” handguns, which ex-Confederate officers already owned.
The South Carolina law against concealed carry put blacks in chain gangs, but whites only paid a small fine, if anything. In the early 20th century, such laws began to spread beyond the ex-Confederacy. An Ohio Supreme Court Justice acknowledged that such statutes reflected “a decisive purpose to entirely disarm the Negro.”
The anti-gun left paints gun owners in general, and the NRA in particular, as racist because they don’t want anyone to see their own racist past. They’re the mean kid in school who picks on everyone so nobody will look too closely at their own flaws.
Unfortunately, most folks who don’t know the gun culture don’t realize that no, we’re not a bunch of racist rednecks. They don’t understand that we’re just good folks who want to protect ourselves and our families.
They might know an individual gun owner or two who they don’t think of a racist, but the media paints a picture that makes it easy for the average American to believe those are the exception, not the rule. The anti-gun left likes it that way because it makes it easier to disarm law-abiding gun owners if the rank and file voter thinks we’re all hood-wearing Klansmen.
Meanwhile, they hide the racism in their past all while still trying to keep inner city blacks from obtaining weapons to protect themselves.
They’ll paint us a racist because they don’t want anyone to see their own hoods.