I hate it, but it seems every issue has to be discussed through the lens of race, even if only for a bit. That includes an issue like constitutional carry.
Part of that is because of horrible misunderstandings about carrying a firearm and armed self-defense. Another part is that some have gotten it into their heads that guns are bad for black folks.
As a result, it seems some lawmakers in Pennsylvania think vetoing permitless carry in the state is some kind of win for black residents of the state.
Last month, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives debated a bill that ultimately was passed but will be vetoed by Gov. Wolf, thankfully. Senate Bill 565 would make Pennsylvania a permitless carry state, meaning you would not need a concealed carry permit across the Commonwealth, or a permit to carry – open or concealed – in Philadelphia.
I am not against a person’s Second Amendment right and all that comes with it. Every American has the right to defend themselves — but that right, like most laws in this country, has never been applied equally to all Americans. The Second Amendment was designed in part and has been consistently applied to regulate Black Americans and I opposed the bill because I fear that the application of it would disproportionately put the lives of Black and Brown Pennsylvanians at risk.
The Second Amendment doesn’t get “applied” to regulate black people. That’s literally the most insane argument one can make. Instead, gun control was passed to do just that. The Second Amendment makes it so that such laws are unconstitutional. That would be a benefit to black Americans throughout the country.
Black gun ownership, particularly that of Black women, is on the rise. But the simple act of exercising their Second Amendment right can put their lives at risk.
A perfect, yet heartbreaking example of this is the 2016 shooting death of Philando Castile, a Black man who was shot to death by a suburban Minneapolis police officer during a traffic stop, despite having informed the officer of the presence of the firearm and despite having a license to carry the gun.
Castile is one example — there are others — of Black men who were shot merely for possessing a gun. Armed Black folks are always seen as a threat, are never included in the larger conversation around gun ownership in America and are not recognized or supported by the NRA.
And the NRA was blasted for failing to speak out on Castile’s killing.
However, it should also be noted that white people are also killed by police for just having a gun as well. Neither, however, are particularly common.
What is common, though, is young black men being arrested for carrying a firearm without a permit. In fact, when you look at such arrests, in particular when there are no other charges, such arrests are disproportionately among young black men as opposed to whites. These aren’t convicted felons found with a gun that I’m talking about here, either, but otherwise law-abiding black men in their 20s who decided they needed a gun for self-defense.
If we’re going to judge things by how they impact the black community, then how is this not something to elicit concern?
Constitutional carry would have actually kept these young men out of jail, kept their records clean.
Additionally, I’ve seen no evidence that constitutional carry has resulted in more black people being shot while lawfully carrying than they had been previously.
Further, black people are also far more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than white people. As a result, black people are also far more likely to need to carry a gun than a white person, but may not be able to due to permitting requirements.
I get where the author is coming from, but constitutional carry isn’t something that will hurt any particular group of people with the sole exception being those who go about with evil intent.