Today I learned that the largest gun control enforcers during the Reconstruction were the Ku Klux Klan, disarming black people with roving bands of "disarmament posses."
From the 2010 article by Adam Winkler entitled The Secret History of Guns:
After losing the Civil War, Southern states quickly adopted the Black Codes, laws designed to reestablish white supremacy by dictating what the freedmen could and couldn’t do. One common provision barred blacks from possessing firearms. To enforce the gun ban, white men riding in posses began terrorizing black communities. In January 1866, Harper’s Weekly reported that in Mississippi, such groups had “seized every gun and pistol found in the hands of the (so called) freedmen” in parts of the state. The most infamous of these disarmament posses, of course, was the Ku Klux Klan.
Repeat after me: gun control is racist.
History has repeatedly shown that gun control has never been about controlling firearms, but rather to disarm marginalized people.
Simply put, gun control is people control.
James Padilioni at Students for Liberty gives more in-depth information regarding the history of gun control in the United States specifically, pointing out the obvious: it was easier to control and enslave people who are disarmed than those who are not.
Contrary to popular opinion, gun control laws are nothing new in the United States; in fact, laws restricting guns have historical precedent going as far back as the seventeenth century. A 1639 law in Virginia banned all Africans from gun ownership, while simultaneously making non-gun ownership punishable by a fine for all Whites. This law is remarkable because it is one of the earliest legal provisions created in British North America that paved the way for a full-fledged, racially-determined system of chattel slavery. Indeed, partus sequitur ventrem, or the legal doctrine of maternally-inherited slave status, did not enter the law books until 1662, some 23 years later (it should be noted that English common law was jettisoned in favor of Roman civil law in order to accomplish this – Hayek would not be very happy!). Evidently, the rationality in Virginia was one of control: African slaves with guns were a lot more ungovernable than slaves without them.
It is such a shame that Republicans and the National Rifle Association (NRA) are the faces of the opposition to gun control, instead of anti-racist civil rights leaders. Even Martin Luther King, Jr. attempted to get a gun license, but was denied by the racists in power. It is also fact that the NRA supported gun control against blacks. It must be noted that conservative Republican hero Ronald Reagan supported gun control when it came to controlling blacks, stating in 1967 that there was, "No reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons." This and the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968 makes Republicans as credible on gun rights as the Democrats are currently.
Beyond the racist roots of gun control, let us also not forget to state the very obvious of any law that is usually passed in this country: the police will use gun control to incarcerate even more brown people.
Liberals never ask themselves: who will get the maximum sentence for gun control violations? Who will get convicted more? Who will the police stop for guns?
Kevin Carson puts it best regarding liberal rhetoric and the reality of what they are endorsing:
Regardless of the “liberal” or “progressive” rhetoric used to defend gun control, you can safely bet it will come down harder on the cottagers than on the gentry, harder on the workers than on the Pinkertons, and harder on the Black Panthers than on murdering cops.
That is right, brown people are the one who will suffer the most from gun control.
They never think about the fact that these new gun controls will lead to even more outrageous plea bargains, adding more counts to minor crimes. Current drug laws and gang control laws are already destroying minority communities, and these liberals want to give the police even more reason to put the poor and minorities behind bars?
Honestly, if you are a brown person with a gun and a white liberal say they support gun control, what they really mean is: "I want you to rot in jail."
This post originally appeared at Young Americans for Liberty.