Politics & Race
There’s Only One Thing That Can Reform Gun Laws: Racism

Last week John Lewis led House Democrats in a brief sit-in to bring a vote for gun control measures. Although the protest gained headlines and the attention of almost every American, in the end it was another failed attempt to bring common sense gun laws to America.

I am not an advocate for gun control measures. Until we repeal or rewrite the Second Amendment, I believe nothing will change. Pragmatism and statistical evidence shows that the measures most people advocate have no effect on gun deaths or gun crime. The assault weapons ban did not change the trajectory of gun deaths in America, and banning people on the terrorist watch list from owning guns is useless. So far, there has only been one incident of someone on the terrorist watch list committing a murder. Also, study after study shows there is no correlation to strict gun laws and decreased gun crime.

I am also not a gun nut. I believe that until we change the stupid Constitutional Amendment that may have been practical 200 years ago for people who needed to hunt for their food and form groups to defend themselves against they tyranny of a government whose soldiers carried gunpowder and musket balls, then we are doomed. All these other small measures are inconsequential, symbolic moves meant to lull a stupid populace into believing that the only thing standing between evil people bent on murdering as many people as possible and beautiful, harmonic peace is background checks and closing gun-show loopholes. I don’t buy the idiotic argument that passing a few laws will stop gun deaths, because you know what else is already against the law?


Now I know many of you are sitting there thinking that there is no way that America will ever repeal the Second Amendment.

You’re wrong.

Even though this country’s populace is very fickle and its politicians are resistant to change, there is one thing America fears more than terrorists, white boys in Black trenchcoats or crazy, lone gunmen:

Black people with guns.

This is not an opinion.

This is evidence-based fact based on historical proof over hundreds of years.

Do you know who the first major gun control organization was?

After the Emancipation Proclamation legally freed slaves in Confederate States in 1863, and the Civil war ended in 1865, a group of men set out to reduce the threat to the Southern Whites by making sure none of  the newly freed slaves owned guns. By 1866 they had formed a secret organization notorious for its distinct uniforms and unique calling card. Wherever they performed their acts of disarming  Black freedmen, they would wear white hoods and burn a cross.

That first gun control group called itself the Ku Klux Klan.

In 1967 a group of Oakland activists calling themselves the Black Panthers began popping up around town with loaded weapons whenever they spotted police arresting or harassing a Black citizen. They would shout out legal advice and patrol the officers. They warned the police that if they police tried to take their guns or shoot at them, they would shoot back. When a Republican Assembly man named Don Mulford heard about this, he was incensed. He tried to convince his fellow lawmakers to stop these radicals by restricting their gun rights. The legislators were upset, but reluctant to take away gun rights for fear of angering gun rights advocates. When the Black Panthers heard about his proposals, they marched down to the State Capitols steps wielding loaded firearms, but the police had no legal right to stop them.

A few days later California’s governor signed The 1967 Mulford Act–repealing the law which allowed the public possession of loaded firearms.

In 1994 Bill Clinton responded to America’s fears of a “crack epidemic” by putting together a bill that eliminated higher education for federal inmates and punished the mostly minority dealers of crack cocaine disproportionately to the mostly white pushers of the same amount of powder cocaine. Although later research concluded that tales of crack babies and first-time user addictions had no factual basis, the Republican legislature was reluctant to support the bill because of another provision in the bill which restricted the sale of “assault weapons.” To garner support for the bill, Clinton enlisted the support of his wife, who warned America of a growing tribe of “Superpredators” who sold drugs to babies and turned them into roving assassin squads. The insinuation was clear–we need to stop these Black nuisances from owning guns before they get us all.

The Federal Assault Weapons ban passed in 1994 and didn’t expire until 2004.

So here we are. Even though Americans are cowering in corners hiding from “Islamic Jihadists” and disgruntled teenagers at movie theaters and high school lunchrooms, they still won’t enact common sense gun reform. Even after a “troubled young boy” killed scores of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Even after a suspected terrorist opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Even after a “challenged teen” shot a member of the House of Representatives in the face. Even after a”disillusioned loner” mowed down moviegoiers at a theater in Aurora Colorado.

But there is a solution.

If racism has any positive attributes, there is one: It is pervasive.

If Black people started legally buying and brandishing guns, I’m willing to bet the public sentiment would rapidly shift. If concealed weapons permits started skyrocketing in Black communities, there would be an outcry for gun control. If the next Million Man March or Ferguson protest was filled with Black protesters with legal guns on their hips, America would get a case of the collective bubbleguts. What do you think would happen if dreadlocked Black boys and nappy-haired sisters started showing up en masse at Walmarts and Targets carrying semiautomatic rifles like the other open carry advocates?

That was a rhetorical question, because we all know what would happen:

They would shut that shit down.

I might be wrong, but the evidence doesn’t suggest it. From the moment we escaped the bonds of slavery they have been afraid of negroes with fingers on the trigger. They even shoot us when they visualize us reaching for a gun.

I know it sounds antithetical, but believe me, it makes sense. It is apparent that only Black people can stop America’s idiotic fascination with out of control gun laws, and there is only one way to do it:

Black people need to start buying more guns.

The answer to the gun control dilemma lies in the only other thing that America has held dear since its inception:



About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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