Originally published in the Winter 2020 edition of the Virginia Defender, issue 61, printed February 17. Reproduced here in for accessibility and archival purposes. To find other stories in the Winter 2020 issue or to download the full PDF, see this post. For the full web catalog, see our Full Issues page.
Throughout the history of America, gun control laws have always been used against people of color to deny them their rights, as well as their ability to defend themselves and their communities from racist terror attacks. Both political parties have been equally guilty of this.
After the Civil War, it was Democratic politicians that passed Jim Crow era laws prohibiting gun ownership by Black Americans in Virginia as well as throughout the south.
And in 1968 it was Republican politicians in California who passed what was known as the Mulford Act which prohibited the legal open carry of firearms. It was done as a response to the Black Panther Party carrying firearms while they peacefully conducted community patrols in city neighborhoods to protect people from police harassment, brutality and murder. The act was signed into law by no other than then governor Ronald Reagan who went on to be elected president in 1980.
Now, our state Democratic politicians are simply following the agenda of presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg who donated generously to their political campaigns. The same Mike Bloomberg who funds elections and gun control organizations throughout America is the same person who had Black and Brown people targeted with the racist, unconstitutional policy of police harassment called “stop and frisk” while he was the mayor of New York City.
Virginia has one of the lowest crime rates in the country, and now these politicians want gun control laws passed while claiming that it’s for public safety.
If these laws are passed, it will be people and communities of color that will be targeted first by law enforcement as we’ve always been. With the increase in domestic terrorism and the rapid growth of White supremacist groups, these laws will also put us in more danger by hindering our ability to protect ourselves if need be.
We are at a time in America’s history where political instability due to demographic change is increasing. We don’t need any more restrictions on our civil, constitutional, human rights to self-defense.
If these politicians really cared about public safety they’d fix our mental health system and improve security at our government buildings especially our schools.
Rather than more unnecessary laws what we really need is actual justice. The many unresolved issues with our justice system must be addressed and fixed first.
Categories: Letters to the Editor