The latest Supreme Court ruling guarantee’s the Second Amendment right of people to carry their firearms in public space for “self-defense,” according to the Los Angeles Times. As we know, these new gun laws were advocated for because white people grew concerned about their gun rights. You know who’s even more concerned than them? Black gun owners.
Amir Locke, Philando Castile, Atatiana Jefferson - the list of Black licensed gun owners killed by police for having a gun keeps growing. Kelly Sampson from gun safety organization Brady told NPR this is precisely why Black people feel left out from their constitutional protection.
“We live in a society that codes Black people in general as criminal but especially when we carry arms,” Sampson said. “So when you strip away all of the rhetoric around the Second Amendment, you still can’t get away from the fundamental issue that we live in a country where Black people are disproportionately dying from gun homicides, and Black people also are disproportionately impacted by police violence.”
More on Black Americans and gun ownership from NPR:
The National African American Gun Association boasts 30,000 members, predominantly of African American descent but across a range of ethnicities. Sixty percent of its members are women.
Tracy Brown, an artist and activist, is one of those women. She says that even though she’s a proponent of safe gun ownership, she has mixed feelings about the Supreme Court ruling.
“It means that more women will have the opportunity to get firearms in the interest of self-defense and protecting themselves. But you know, it’s such a complicated issue, especially for Black people,” she says. “There are a lot of very unhealthy perspectives held by those who typify the gun-owning population in this country.”
Brown points to the popular Rubber Dummie shooting target, which many people say looks like a Black man. She says it’s emblematic of dangerous attitudes toward Black people.
Historically, the government worked to keep guns away from Black people or apply gun control laws specifically to us. Jabir Asa, minister of social media for the Cleveland chapter of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, told NPR the court’s decision is a way to address the disparity.
Take California’s Mulford Act of 1967 for example. The National Rifle Association even backed it, though the bill prohibited the open carry of loaded weapons, a move directed toward the Black Panther Party.
“We have already seen historically that when you go on any kind of gun-grabbing campaign, the only people with guns are the kind of people who would never worry about the legality of having them in the first place. And then you find yourself in a position where you’re vulnerable to fascists,” said Asa, via NPR.