Anti-gunners will use any opportunity to advance their agenda — both national tragedies and national celebrations.
The most recent example comes from Moms Demand Action Founder Shannon Watts, who took to Twitter on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day to suggest that King fought for all civil rights except the one located in the Second Amendment.
There’s just one problem: Dr. King applied for a concealed carry permit in Alabama in 1956 to protect himself after his wife and daughter’s home was fire bombed. Law enforcement officials denied his request, but, as NRA spokesman Colion Noir explains, he still surrounded himself with people who carried guns.
Dr. King’s home was also described by one of his advisors as an “arsenal.”
It’s ironic, then, that Moms Demand Action leaders and volunteers seem to believe Dr. King would have championed their cause. Not only is the anti-gun agenda an anti-civil rights agenda, but Dr. King himself was by all accounts supportive of the right to bear arms.
The revisionist history Watts is peddling couldn’t be further from the truth. As African-American Professor Nicholas Johnson outlines in his book Negroes and the Gun, there is a long and storied history within, what he calls, the “Black tradition of arms.”
The first gun control policies were designed to keep African Americans from owning guns. These laws ensured that the black population would be kept in a state of servitude by denying them the legal ability to effectively defend themselves.
So, once African-Americans gained the right to own firearms, they used these tools to protect their homes and their families.
Johnson explains how in 1946 armed African American men stopped plans to lynch Thurgood Marshall. At Rosa Parks’ activist meetings on Huffman Street, the attendees carried weapons for self-defense. Another famous activist named Daisy Bates kept “Old Betsey” at the ready. Her memoir shows that she often carried a gun and once actually fired it at a man who had launched a firebomb at her home.
Like Dr. King, all of these individuals understood the difference between self-defense and aggressive violence. They owned and carried firearms while advocating for peaceful protest because they knew that responsible Americans can be trusted with guns. The ability to own and carry a firearm is a civil liberty granted to all Americans, and they weren’t about to relinquish their right to self-defense.
Modern anti-gunners don’t understand this distinction. They believe that “peace” equals “no guns,” so when Dr. King advocates for peace he must also be advocating for gun control.
History demonstrates the flaws of this way of thinking. Gun ownership gives the weak, the downtrodden, the marginalized the opportunity to live in peace and security. Dr. King knew this to be true, and the record of African-American gun ownership demonstrates that gun rights truly are civil rights as well.