On Wednesday, June 17th, a shooter murdered nine members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historically Black church in Charleston, South Carolina. After sitting in church for about an hour, the gunman made racist comments before opening fire. After what was clearly a crime directed toward Black people because of their race, President Barack Obama commented, saying that, “innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.” Obama (predictably) relayed more of the same tired rhetoric that comes into the spotlight every time the United States sees a mass shooting — guns kill innocent people, and more gun control will save them.
The Black community in Charleston, South Carolina has had a bad year. Tragedy struck Charleston earlier this year, when a police officer shot an unarmed Black man, Walter Scott, eight times in the back, killing him. The incident was caught on video and, in an unusual turn of events, the officer was charged with Scott’s murder. Cops disproportionatelymurder Black citizens, a reality that has come into focus in popular media since the 2014 murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Obama’s recent comments calling for more gun control are ironic and almost laughable to a community that is the constant victim of the violent monopoly the State has over weapons. Guns kill Black people all the time — in the hands of the police. The statist leftists I refer to are people who seem to recognize the omnipresent systematic racism in police institutions, but rather than get to the root of the issue by stripping police of their power, they continue to push for reforms that take power away from Black communities and place it in the hands of police.
Prohibition of any consumer good creates black markets. This is true in America’s drug war, and it will be true with increased prohibition of guns. Illegal products are always available to those who want them and don’t mind committing crimes. Not only is gun control ineffectivein preventing violent crime, but it also takes away the ability of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from those who do have guns — violent criminals and the police.
Ronald Reagan, heralded as an NRA hero, passed the Mulford Act of 1967, banning public carrying of loaded firearms, with the intention of disarming Black communities in California. The Black Panthers marched upon the state capitol in protest. Reagan knew what liberals now forget — the best way to suppress Black communities is to render them powerless in the face of State violence. President Obama continues to increase the requirements of gun ownership, using executive orders when Congress won’t cooperate. In the face of Wednesday’s church shooting, Hillary Clinton called for stronger gun control as well. Leftists seem to forget the conservative, racist roots of gun control, and ignore their own claims about the nature of policing when looking for solutions. The answer is clear — the best way to protect Black communities from racist police or racist civilians is to arm them, not to take their guns away.
Black people cannot rely on the police to protect them from criminals. This is evidenced every time police murder an innocent Black person. My message to the statist left is this: asking the Black community to disarm themselves and look to the police for protection instead is the essence of white privilege.
This article was originally published on June 20, 2015 at C4SS.org.