Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shooting Through Detroit

The gun-loving boys at The VC would love this post at the Detroit Blog, about Detroit's one remaining (legal) gun store -- owned by a Black man who counts Robert F. Williams as a personal hero and considers gun-control laws an outcropping of White racism. That's because they actually do the historical work of tying gun control to White supremacy. I wonder if, say, the National Rifle Association would be quite as fan-friendly to the Black Panthers though?

Look. You can't be pro-gun control and not recognize the fact that many of those laws have deep, deep racist roots. At the same time, I think it's pertinent that nowadays, it's the Black urban political leadership that is among the heaviest supporters of gun restrictions.

I think gun policy is a complicated issue. Though I think the laws do need to be tightened (primarily because extremist groups like the NRA have managed to keep even common sense regulations off the books), beyond some of the more obvious reforms (background checks, registration, assault weapons bans) I can see the arguments on both sides. It's important, I think, to remember that there is a significant branch of the urban Black community whose position on guns is fundamentally conservative, precisely because their current environment is so violent and deadly that they feel they need a gun for protection.

Anyway, the post is interesting. And if you want to know more about Robert Williams, I can highly recommend Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Willaims and the Roots of Black Power.


Cycle Cyril said...

I would presume that the NRA would affirm the Black Panthers right to bear and keep arms but disagree with their criminal activities which would negate their right to B&KA - they would be in jail.

So do you think pro-2nd amendment people are less racist than anti-gun people? Are there any polls asking this question?

Dave Hardy said...

Many NRA members, myself included, consider Robert Williams a hero. That's why I featured his story in my documentary film "In Search of the Second Amendment" (Google it for details). And the president of the Congress on Racial Equality is a director of the NRA. Some fellow who is a black panther and has a pic of Williams on his wall runs a gun dealership? No big deal, he had to pass a criminal records background check to get his license, and is presumably a good guy. I could care less what groups he belongs to, or once belonged to.