Citizen disarmament for white supremacy

Yesterday, I wrote about a 1994 article in Reason Magazine, titled “Gunning for Change”. The article is about then Chicago Alderman (now Cook County Commissioner) William Beavers’ push to end Chicago’s de facto ban on handguns. Yesterday, I focused mostly on the enormous change in Beavers’ position–from insisting that Chicagoans have a right to defend themselves, to wanting to disarm every law-abiding citizen in Cook County. It should be noted, by the way, that even in 1994, Beavers had a great deal of faith in so-called “gun control”–he wasn’t in favor of scrapping Chicago’s egregious firearms registry–he simply wanted it to be possible to register handguns.

The Reason Magazine article, though, also discusses another topic–a topic that I think is worthy of a blog post of its own. What I want to discuss today is the inherently racist nature of laws intended to disarm inner city residents–a largely black and Hispanic demographic–who are precisely the people most likely to need the ability defend themselves. The article points out that (at least at that time) there was a significant portion of black political leadership in Chicago that opposed mandated defenselessness for those in our society most vulnerable to violence. For example, it notes David Reed (at that time leader of the Harold Washington Party–named after Chicago’s first black mayor) as having “caused a stir at a candidates’ forum when he derided gun control as ineffective.” Reed is also quoted directly in the article.

“I’d rather be tried by 12 than carried by six,” said Reed, a business consultant.

That sentiment is common among the residents of Chicago’s tougher neighborhoods. It’s easy for people with wealth and political power to push stricter and stricter gun control laws, notes Alderman William Beavers, who represents the working-class, mostly black South Shore district. The wealthy, he says, “can afford to pay a detective agency or some kind of police agency to act as security.” His constituents, he argues, deserve the right to protect themselves.

In fact, the article describes what seems to have been a concerted effort among some black politicians to fight against the disarmament of their constituents.

Now, for the second time in five years, he [Beavers] has proposed legislation to reopen handgun registration. The idea is endorsed by other prominent black political leaders, including activist Sokoni Karanja of the Center for New Horizons and Aldermen Virgil Jones and Robert Shaw, who feel that gun bans prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves.

Where has such pro-civil rights leadership–leadership in the fight against the denial of lifesaving firepower–gone in the Chicago area black community? We certainly won’t find it in Jesse Jackson. Nor will we find it in Barack Obama, who says:

“So the point is, though, we should be able to do that, and we should be able to enforce laws that keep guns off the streets in inner cities because some unscrupulous gun dealer is, you know, letting somebody load up a van with a bunch of cheap handguns or sawed-off shotguns and dumping them and selling them for a profit in the streets.”

Nope–those two may as well be pushing for the kinds of post-Civil War “Black Codes” as this one, from a Louisiana parish in 1866:

Sec. 7: No negro who is not in the military service shall be allowed to carry firearms, or any kind of weapons, within the parish without special written permission of his employers, approved and indorsed by the nearest and most convenient chief of patrol.

. . . Or perhaps this one, from Mississippi:

Sec.1. Be it enacted, . . . . That no freedman, free negro or mulatto, not in the military service of the United States government, and not licensed so to do by the board of police of his or her county, shall keep or carry fire-arms of any kind, or any ammunition, dirk or bowie knife, and on conviction thereof in the county court shall be punished by fine, not exceeding ten dollars, and pay the costs of such proceedings, and all such arms or ammunition shall be forfeited to the informer; and it shall be the duty of every civil and military officer to arrest any freedman, free negro, or mulatto found with any such arms or ammunition, and cause him or her to be committed to trial in default of bail.

The Deacons for Defense and Justice are long gone. It would seem that the Dolores B.’s of Chicago are on their own–easy prey for the likes of Chuck Goudie and the other Chicago thugs.

For a vastly more thorough treatment of this subject, read Clayton Cramer’s superb “The Racist Roots of Gun Control.”

UPDATE: Days of Our Trailers has more.

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