If The War On Drugs Is Racist, What About The War On Guns?

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

While some claim they’re really against gun violence, there really is a war on firearms and the Second Amendment as a whole. After all, every single proposal to address the issue involves infringing on your right to keep and bear arms.

It’s kind of ridiculous to claim it’s not.

Regardless, it’s a thing. It’s a serious thing.

In trying to address gun violence by passing laws, though, they create a problem not unlike we see in the war on drugs.

In a paper first published in the Fordham Law Review and posted online last month, [Associate Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Law School Benjamin] Levin argued that the “widespread recognition” of the failure of aggressive drug enforcement “has ushered in a moment of great possibility for criminal justice reformers.”

“Criminal law may have an important role to play in addressing gun violence [but] the criminal statutes that regulate gun possession risk reproducing the same systemic pathologies, collateral costs, and distributional inequities that have defined the War on Drugs,” he warned.

The same concerns about police and prosecutorial power directed at individuals caught with illicit drugs, along with worries about the social and economic costs of mass incarceration, are relevant to the questionable and often racially inequitable strategies used to apply to gun possession in at-risk neighborhoods, such as stop-and-frisk policies, Levin wrote.

“Appreciating the broader applicability of the drug war’s critiques should lead to an examination of flaws in the criminal justice system that lessen its capacity for solving social problems,” the paper said.

Guns, Drugs and Race

While critics of the War on Drugs’ disparate racial impact have offered up powerful statistical evidence of the racial breakdown of drug arrests and charges, Levin said scholars generally have not focused on the racial breakdown of weapons arrests and charges with the same level of scrutiny.

When you do look at those charges, though, you’ll see a similar racial disparity. Young black men are arrested far more often for weapons charges than white men, much like how drug charges tend to disproportionately hit young black men.

Oddly, many who decry the War on Drugs, citing racism, also openly support gun control without any regard for just how many young black men will end up incarcerated because of the laws they’re advocating for.

Now, understand, if people break the law then they should do the time. If they’re protesting the law by breaking it, I can respect that, but the punishment is part of the protest, so take it like an adult until/unless the courts side with you and overturn the unjust law. I’m not trying to suggest otherwise.

However, you don’t get to pretend the War on Drugs has some seriously racist motivation while pretending that the war on so-called gun violence doesn’t.

Especially when you look at the roots of gun control in this country and can plainly see these laws were enacted so as to disarm black men and women so they could be intimidated by their white neighbors more easily.

Honestly, in the last century, absolutely nothing meaningful has changed about gun control except that they’ve managed to gaslight entire generations into believing not supporting anti-Second Amendment laws is somehow racist. And the supposed arbiters of truth in this country, the media, just trot along with it like the drooling idiots they are.

But they might want to modify that approach because sooner or later, I suspect it’s going to come back to bite all of them in the posterior.

Dec 04, 2021 11:30 AM ET