The following is a lightly edited transcript of remarks made by Jeff Charles during a Newsweek debate about gun control laws being racist. You can listen to the podcast here:
The Second Amendment guarantees our right to bear arms. And if you look at the lives that are taken by gun violence, it’s a very minuscule percentage that are taken by these so-called weapons of war, which are not weapons of war. These are not weapons that the military uses. People actually use AR 15s for hunting. There’s a lot of people who do. There’s a lot of people who use it for home defense. And you have the right to have that. And to me, this whole assault weapon hysteria is just a precursor to putting restrictions on the more commonly used guns that are actually used in gun violence: handguns. There’s no good reason to deprive responsible law-abiding citizens of the right to bear these arms.
The very roots of the gun control movement in America were designed to disarm black people as slaves even as they became freedmen, because they would use these to protect themselves from external racist threats. So as time went on, they had to change the nature of these laws because you can’t pass laws saying we don’t want black people owning guns, but now they do it in a way that’s a lot more subtle. And I’m not necessarily talking about assault weapons bans, although that could classify. But if you take the Supreme Court‘s decision in Bruen for instance, and the measures that California, New York, and New Jersey are passing to get around that ruling, what they’re doing is making it much harder for black Americans to legally get firearms to protect themselves. It has a disproportionate impact on black communities.
And by the way, when we’re talking about this homicide wave that happened over the past three years, who was disproportionately the victims of that? That would be black Americans. And despite a lot of these laws, gun ownership in the black community has been going up, because black people recognize that the government’s not going to be there to save them, it’s not going to protect them, and that they need to be able to defend themselves. But when you have these licensing schemes that have exorbitant fees just to get a license to carry, and all these taxes that they pile along with all of these requirements which cost more money, then you basically have to be a middle class or upper class white person to be able to legally own a firearm, which puts a lot of black people in a position where they have to carry anyway in violation of the law, which further exposes them to being arrested and sent to jail. The vast majority of gun violence is committed by people who obtain their guns illegally outside of the law. These aren’t gang members who went to the local gun store, went through the background check, got a gun, and then went out and shot somebody. These are people who got them illegally. So, when you restrict black gun ownership or try to curtail it, you’re leaving black people a lot more vulnerable. To me, it’s absurd. You’re actually making people more vulnerable to the people who don’t follow the law.
Jeff Charles is the host of “A Fresh Perspective” podcast and a contributor for RedState and Liberty Nation.
The views in this article are the writer’s own.