CBS News rereleased this 2016 video that purports to tell the history of guns in America. Given the fact that it’s only about six minutes long one cannot expect it to be a comprehensive or exhaustive telling.
That said, the producers did miss two key points that should’ve been addressed. Because the story of guns in America cannot be told without talking about (a) the preponderance of defensive gun uses (DGUs) relative to the number of crimes committed with firearms and (b) the racist roots of gun control and its impact on poor and minority communities.
Good guys with guns defend themselves, their families, and their property with firearms probably as often, if not more often, as bad guys use guns in the commission of a crime. Historically, this has always been the case and it continues to this very day.
While the exact number of DGUs is unknown, because the majority of self-defense incidents involving a gun are not recorded as no shots are fired as the mere presence of the firearm is enough to de-escalate the situation or send the perp running, estimates put the number anywhere from approximately 100,000 per year to as many as 3 million per year.
As a CDC study in 2013 noted:
Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence… Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million…in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008… On the other hand, some scholars point to a radically lower estimate of only 108,000 annual defensive uses based on the National Crime Victimization Survey…”
Supposing it’s even on the low end of the spectrum, it’s safe to assume that tens of thousands of individuals each year use guns to stop bad things from happening. There’s no way around it and CBS News should’ve mentioned it explicitly: Guns are life-saving tools. Millions of Americans keep and bear arms for self-defense and the country is better off for it.
Gun control is rooted in racism. It has always disproportionately affected poor and working-class people, but particularly blacks. Many laws following slavery were crafted with the sole intent to deny blacks their right to keep and bear arms. That tradition has continued over the years with laws targeting inexpensive firearms, e.g. “Saturday Night Specials” and the adoption of may-issue concealed carry standards that give law enforcement the capacity to arbitrarily prevent “certain people” from bearing arms.
Today it’s not postbellum racists leading the charge to keep blacks from owning guns but anti-gunners. What they don’t understand, or maybe they secretly do, is that disarming America only creates more victims. And since black people are the ones most frequently victimized by bad guys with guns, they are in essence creating more black victims.
Instead of disarming law-abiding blacks, they ought to be empowering them to learn how to defend themselves, their families, and their communities. Shift the paradigm from a community of victimhood to one of an elevated level of personal responsibility and self-sufficiency.
The truth is that the venerable black leaders of the ’60s like MLK and Rosa Parks always preached that latter approach (it’s why MLK and Parks obtained a gun license). It’s only in recent decades that black leadership (under people like Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Kamala Harris, Al Sharpton, etc.) has been pushing blacks to sacrifice their rights at the altar of the Nanny State, which works simultaneously to undermine individual liberties and line the pockets of those in power.
It’s a big oversight not to make this connection, to not explain how gun control turns minorities into second-class citizens, to not mention that famous quote from early civil rights leader, Ida B. Wells, “The only times an Afro-American who was assaulted got away has been when he had a gun and used it in self-defense. The lesson this teaches and which every Afro-American should ponder well, is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give…”
Armed men are citizens. Unarmed men are subjects. The history of guns in America cannot be told without examining this reality. To this point, CBS News ought to be covering the current massive civil disarmament campaign, primarily funded by Bloomberg and wholeheartedly embraced by the White House, and what it means for the future of the country, especially for those minorities most at-risk of being victims of violent crime.