Race is probably the one issue that may be bigger than gun control right now in the United States. Despite having elected a black president–twice–there are those who still claim we’re a racist nation and everyone is racist and everything is racist. All the “racial healing” under the Obama Administration, am I right?
Now, the two issues have collided in the debate over Pittsburgh’s proposed gun control, though, as activists worry that it will have an outsized impact on minorities within the city.
Since Pittsburgh’s leaders vowed to pass gun control legislation after the Tree of Life shooting, local debate has largely focused on friction between pro-gun groups and officials hoping to ban assault-style weapons, bump stocks and armor piercing bullets.
But as the bills near a vote at Pittsburgh City Council, Rev. De Neice Welch, president of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, explains a far different concern.
“Any ordinance like this… always lands on the backs of young African-Americans,” Welch said broadly about gun control laws. “Always.”
She generally supports gun control measures after the Oct. 27 mass shooting that left 11 people dead in a Squirrel Hill synagogue. Welch’s concerns about over-policing are based on scenarios where police across the country overreact when a black resident is seen holding a cell phone or raising a fist.
“The phrase, ‘I’m in fear for my life,’ has literally given [officers] permission to fire at will,” Welch said.
PIIN is a Pittsburgh faith-based organization focused on equity and social justice in the region. Welch said the organization is still looking at the specific language of Pittsburgh’s ordinances.
The city’s proposed bills to ban assault weapons and accessories are enforceable with a $1,000 fine per offense. If an individual refuses or is unable to pay, they could be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail. A third bill allows courts to temporarily remove an individual’s firearms if family or police think they pose a significant threat to themselves or others.
Now, I don’t by the crap about officers being given carte blanche to murder people just by saying they were afraid or the implication that they somehow focus enforcement efforts on black communities.
However, I do find it interesting that even gun control supporters believe this is a potential outcome.
Frankly, it probably is, but not for the reason Welch believes.
By and large, the black community in most cities tend to be poorer communities. It doesn’t matter why just now. What matters is that this is true. Because of this fact, they’re a lot less likely to be able to pay $1,000 fines, thus landing in jail for 90 days and potentially losing their jobs. They lack the resources to combat red flag gun seizures in the courts as well.
In other words, while I think Welch’s ideas of how this is a problem for the black community is wrong, she’s not wrong in believing it could end up being an issue.
Obviously, poor whites will be in just as much trouble and wealthier blacks won’t have the same problems as poor blacks, but I think my point still stands.
Not that the Pittsburgh leadership really gives a damn. They’re too focused on grandstanding by passing an illegal law.