There was a time in Black American history when Blacks were all for their gun rights. For instance, in the 70’s the Black Panthers began exercising their right to be armed. In addition, some actively participated in educating the Black community of their right to bear arms. In the early 1960’s Malcolm X urged Blacks to do the same. Throughout the 20th century, Black Americans have often been encouraged by their leaders to exercise their second amendment right. So, what happened, what has changed today, in 2013?
Today more and more Blacks have become outspoken, arguing against carrying a gun. Some see gun violence as a daily issue, so to see some Americans talking about their right to bear arms alarms them.
On the other hand, there are those that still believe in the right to bear arms, and do just that.
Personally, I agree, we do have that right to carry guns by virtue of the Constitution, but only if it is obtained legally, by someone who is both responsible and of sound mind. We have the right to do so but not everyone should. Not everyone is a responsible gun owner. Just as not everyone can get a drivers license or be behind the wheel of a car. Not everyone is fit to carry a gun.
Often times, kids get into their parents safes, or a disturbed person obtains a gun. There are also those who obtain firearms illegally. I don’t believe every gun owner is irresponsible. Many of them should have their gun rights taken away. Something must be done to keep firearms out of the hands of those who mean harm upon others.
One solution you often hear being tossed around is the enactment of comprehensive background checks. Well, just as we tightened security at airports following September 11, to avoid another tragic event, we must do the same to avoid another Columbine or Sandy Hook. Something must be done, we can’t just sit around awaiting for another tragic event to stir up debate. Instead, we must put our political differences aside, and work on a solution. We are Americans first and our political party affiliation should come last.
I for one will admit that I lean more Democrat in elections, but I am not a liberal. There are some issues where I agree with Republicans, such as their platform on abortion. However, I still believe that a woman has the right to do as she pleases with her body. God gives us all free will, what we do with it is between Him and us, as long as we don’t violate another person’s freedoms. Lawmakers can outlaw abortion all they want, but if a woman wants it bad enough, she is bound to the abortion, no matter how risky, legal or not. Outlawing abortion will not stop them from happening. Just as outlawing guns is not a solution.
Nonetheless, we need a solution that makes it tougher for criminals to possess firearms, without trampling over the rights of law abiding American citizens.
During the 70’s, Huey P Newton, Bobby Seale and the Black Panthers as a whole, studied and knew the law. They did everything they could to follow the law when exercising their right to bear arms. According to history, many were framed by police, the FBI and by their fellow Black neighbors who “worked” for the police or FBI. Arguably, the police and FBI didn’t like the fact that the Black Panther party had formed. In my opinion, government officials were not happy that the Panthers had become strong, engaging in programs that were good for their community. So to disrupt things they begin spying on their meetings and persuaded members to secretly act as informants for law enforcement in order to bring the Black Panther organization down.
They began with leaders, such as the deceased, Huey P Newton and Bobby Seale. Mr Newton at one point was forced to flee to Cuba after being accused of murder. According to Newton, he believed that, because Republicans were in power, he would not face a fair trial in the state of California. He later returned to face charges, when the California Governorship returned to the Democrats.
Following the dismantling of the Black Panthers, drugs, gangs and guns begin to infiltrate the Black community. It has caused many Blacks to stand for gun control. Blacks have seen their leaders abide by laws and still murdered, framed and/or locked up.
Thus, I can understand why so many Blacks are for gun control. Many have had to bury their sons, daughters, grandsons or granddaughters, some before their first birthday. It is a sad reality.
I have personally seen the effect of gun violence, and what it does to a family. It is a very serious matter.
Nevertheless, I agree, Americans have the right to bear arms, but stricter gun laws need to be in place. Many in the Black community will never change their stance. Everyone has their own opinion, but there is always room for compromise. For those in the Black community who have had to suffer due to gun violence, their stance on guns will always be informed by their experiences in the Black community. Some will favor guns, perhaps because they grew up in middle America and/or never experienced suffering due to gun violence.
Someone in Chicago or South Los Angeles or Oakland will have a different view on gun control and gun violence. It’s likely that they will disagree with those who have grown up in middle America or Texas.
The debate must take place. Everyone has the right to his/her opinion which should be respected.
Keep in mind, not everyone wants to carry a firearm. Those that say others would be better off if they had exercised their right to bear arms, is simply not an option. We will be better off if criminals are unable to possess firearms. Thus, we should begin to take steps that will prevent lawbreakers from owning guns. Until we enact stricter gun laws and background checks, let’s face it, we will continue to live in a troubled and dangerous world.
-Kelly J Newson