Gun control won't reduce trauma to black Americans

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Gun control is a big issue in the United States, but race seems to be a much bigger issue. That’s especially true when race gets injected into so many other issues.

Like guns.

For a while, we had to deal with claims that gun rights were really racist and that gun control wasn’t. This was despite gun control’s history of explicitly being passed to disarm black people.

Now, they’re trying a different tactic in the wake of Buffalo.

Black Americans are facing a crisis of gun-related homicides, from personal disputes to mass shootings, according to figures released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gun deaths have reached their highest level in 25 years, and an outsize proportion of victims are Black, according to the report. Gun deaths were especially high among young Black men and boys ages 10 to 24, compared to white men and boys of similar ages.

The CDC’s figures were released days before a gunman killed 10 and injured three at a grocery store on Saturday in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York. Eleven of the 13 victims were Black. An 18-year-old white man was arrested at the scene.

Anti-gun violence advocates and community groups said several factors are at play in this disparity in gun deaths, including racial hatred, lack of funding for gun violence prevention programs and disinvestment in Black communities — all of which were exacerbated by the pandemic. But that’s why these groups also say their work is more crucial than ever.

Organizers at LIFE Camp, an anti-violence and wellness organization in New York, are among the many advocates calling on officials to allocate more resources toward tackling gun violence and its aftermath on Black communities.

“We have to address the disease of violence and its spread,” Erica Ford, the founder of the group, told NBC News. “This is not an accident that only one community is impacted so viciously.”

No, it’s not.

But with so much of the rhetoric about “gun violence” really being about gun control, I can’t help but wonder just how little some people actually understand the issue.

A firearm is just a tool. Remove that tool from people’s hands and they will find another tool.

If the black community is getting hit so hard with violent crime by gun-wielding criminals, that’s not likely to stop because you somehow pass a few gun control laws. Those criminals will still get guns–we’ve seen that time and time again.

If they’re targeting black victims now, they’ll keep targeting them afterward.

Now, in fairness, much of their focus does seem to be about the underlying causes of violent crime. This is a good thing and I firmly and wholeheartedly approve. Removing the underlying causes of people becoming criminals in the first place will do more to reduce violent crime than anything else.

It has the added benefit of not requiring gun control, so there’s that.

But gun control needs to be removed from the discussion, because even if you remove the gun completely–something you cannot do–those wishing to harm black folks will just use a different tool to do so.