Young NAACP leaders want gun control following UVA shooting

AP Photo/Steve Helber

The shooting at the University of Virginia has many people searching for answers. That’s to be expected after any tragedy. It’s just what we, as humans, tend to do in such circumstances.

However, some go a step further. They start demanding changes to the law, especially when a gun is involved.

Among those are some of the younger leaders of the NAACP.

A group of Millennial and Gen Z NAACP leaders sent an open letter to governors across the country demanding gun reform after three Black University of Virginia students were shot and killed by another student Sunday.

The letter, which called the shooting “another senseless and tragic school violent shooting,” calls for bold leadership, safety measures, solutions that do not criminalize Black communities and the need for all to come together in support of these steps.

In June, the NAACP supported a gun safety bill that was the most comprehensive bipartisan gun violence prevention bill Congress passed in nearly 30 years.

“We continue to work to support safe, sane, and sensible laws that help prevent gun violence as over 30,000 lives are claimed by gun violence annually in the United States — an epidemic in our communities,” the letter said.

“Politicians are responsible for stricter gun control and getting guns off the streets. Gun control requires more than just policing. Gun violence is a social cost created by individuals’ inappropriate use of the industry’s products that harm others. It should not be so easy to obtain a firearm in the U.S. Gun violence is also a part of a vicious cycle of race and inequities in America. Addressing the root causes must be the priority of our elected leaders.”

Now, I agree that we should address the root causes of violent crime in the United States, including the socio-economic issues that make it more likely the victim of a homicide will be a black man than a white dude.

But they’re pushing for gun control while simultaneously saying they don’t want policies that won’t criminalize black people.

Gun control laws shouldn’t criminalize one group over another, but when we look at who gets arrested more often for weapons charges, it’s usually not the white, middle-class family men ending up in handcuffs. That makes me wonder just how they figure there are gun control laws that won’t do just that.

Further, we need to recognize that the University of Virginia is a gun-free zone. That’s by law, not policy. While guns can be allowed on campus, that’s only if the school consents. As of now, Liberty University is the only campus in Virginia where that’s the case.

And this didn’t happen at Liberty University.

My point is that gun control laws failed. The measures meant to keep this guy from having a gun where he had it simply didn’t work. He ignored them and got away with it right up until it was too late to do anything about it. As a result, three people are dead.

So just what will suddenly make a difference? What?

The alleged shooter had several criminal charges in the past, but they all ended up in suspended sentences and misdemeanor convictions (even though in one case he’d been charged with a felony). He didn’t seem to have used a dreaded “assault weapon” or any other firearm people want to prohibit these days. He didn’t seem to need a “high-capacity magazine” or anything, so just what do these people want?

What happened in Charlottesville is awful. There’s no denying that. But making demands for things that simply wouldn’t have made a difference isn’t exactly productive.