AP Photo/Yakima Herald-Republic, TJ Mullinax

Gun rights are human rights, and it doesn’t matter the melanin content of your skin. These rights belong to every one of us by virtue of us being human.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that people didn’t always think that way. I know good and well how true that is. I’m from the South, after all. Our history on the topic is inescapable down here. I’m OK with that, though, because it’s a status that never should have been.

But today we know better. We know that rights either apply to everyone or they apply to no one.

Despite that, it seems Politico was a little surprised to see black gun rights activists at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

For a few minutes at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday afternoon, the message was more Malcolm X than William F. Buckley.

Sporting a red hoodie, his hair in cornrows, Maj Toure touted his group, Black Guns Matter. “We go where there’s high violence, high crime, high gun control — high slave mentalities, to be perfectly honest,” he said, “and inform urban America about their human right, as stated in the Second Amendment, to defend their life.”

A besuited interviewer seated on stage next to Toure told him, “You don’t look or sound like your stereotypical Second Amendment advocate.”

Indeed, Toure could not have looked more out of place at an annual conservative-activistconfab known for drawing throngs of clean-cut, mostly white, young conservatives in drab suits. That was precisely the point.

Opinion polling shows that black Americans view guns more negatively and are more supportive of gun control than whites and Hispanics. But some anecdotal evidence suggests that blacks have shown greater interest in gun ownership in recent years, fueled in large part by the rise of President Donald Trump, who has energized white nationalists and presided over a period of growing racial tension.

Ironically, conservatives have seen that dynamic as an opportunity to make inroads with black voters on gun rights. And CPAC has pounced.

Ah, the old “Republicans Pounce” bit.

But let’s be honest on a few things here. First, if blacks believe that white nationalism is on the rise–just as the media tells them it is–then, of course, some of them are going to arm themselves. White nationalists are extremists. It’s not enough to not like non-whites for them. They want to hurt them. If you’re concerned about people like that, it’s only rational to buy a gun and learn to use it.

Frankly, I’m more bothered by the people who think their lives are in such danger and don’t take steps to protect themselves.

But there’s another aspect of this that will be missed, and that’s a long-stated claim that if a bunch of black people started buying guns, the people defending gun rights today would call for gun control tomorrow. If anything, this should prove that line as completely and entirely false. We want to see more people armed, especially if they think there’s some push by extremists that wish them dead.

Along the way, though, I hope they learn the racist history of gun control. I hope they learn that gun control first rose in many places to disarm blacks. The laws didn’t specify blacks only, but the lawmakers knew no white sheriff was going to apply that law to a white man. That’s how they got them past a judicial system wait to find racism in the legal code.

Over time, the laws remained on the books, but that history has been mostly erased.

Instead, we see claims that gun rights advocates are racists, usually with no real evidence other than feelings. Meanwhile, people like Maj Toure and Colion Noir are embraced by the gun rights crowd. They’re not tokens; they’re our brothers-in-arms.

Since black men are many times more likely to be murdered than a white man, I can’t help but wonder why the anti-gunners are doing everything in their power to keep blacks from buying guns anyway.

Self-defense is a human right.