I recently saw a video clip in which a gun control advocate gave UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler a great deal of flak because he documented the racist roots of gun control in his book “Gun Fight”. Gun control advocates are upset because Winkler wrote about the link between racism and past gun control – yet there is absolutely no question that modern day gun control is racist to the core.
All one has to do to rip the façade off of modern gun control laws and expose the racism is ask one question: Who is affected the most by current gun control laws?
Let’s look at two prominent examples:
1) New York City – Until very recently, when they were lowered as a result of the Heller and McDonald Supreme Court decisions, the yearly fee to register one handgun $340.00 per year. For long guns, the fee is $55.00 per year. Unlike many other cities and states where the fee is only due when the firearm is transferred, in New York City you must pay the fee every year. It amounts to a tax designed to make it impossible for the poor to own firearms – and who are the poor in New York City? Mostly minorities. Who are the well off who can afford to pay? Mostly white people.
2) California – Here racism assumes the cover of “safety”. In order to be sold in the state, each model of handgun must conform to the state’s idea of what a safe handgun is. Every model must be submitted for testing (commonly called a “drop test”) and must have state mandated features such as manually operated safeties and “magazine disconnects” that many self defense experts consider dangerous. For this reason California police are exempt from the law. That’s right, California allows police to use guns that the state considers “unsafe”. In addition, manufacturers must renew each model every two years by paying a fee to the state. If they fail to do so, the model instantly becomes “unsafe” and cannot be sold in gun shops.
The result of this law is a virtual prohibition on gun shops selling used guns. How is this racist? Simple, it makes obtaining a quality handgun mire more expensive. What would be the effect if the sale of used cars were banned? After all, older cars are “less safe”. The only problem would be that the poor, who are overwhelmingly from minority groups, would find it much, much harder to buy cars. The only problem with this illustration is that while a well made and maintained car may last 10-20 years, a well made and maintained firearm may last 100-200 years.
In recent years consumers have begun to favor semi-automatic pistols over revolvers. As a result, there is a surplus of used, high quality revolvers. If it were not for California’s “safety” laws, these could be purchased by people of modest means. A .38 revolver in good condition is a very safe firearm, but since the model is no longer made, it is never submitted for testing and cannot be sold in retail channels. This forces most buyers into the new gun marketplace – where a quality gun costs at least $500.00 out the door.
Who is impacted by this law? Simple: The poor, who are mostly minorities.
Sadly, California is not the only jurisdiction that does this – in fact some states and cities simply use the California list.
Ironically, this is exactly the same tactic used by the Southern states after the Civil War. They passed laws that mandated that the only handguns permitted were “Army Revolvers” – which were, of course, very expensive. These laws allowed Southern Sheriffs to seize most handguns owner by newly freed slaves.
Another evidence of the racism behind gun control is where the most oppressive laws are in effect. Poor whites tend to live in more rural areas, where they experience many of the same problems found in the city – yet the law in these areas usually allows them to own almost any gun they can afford. Most poor minorities live in cities, where the most restrictive laws are in effect.
Fear of guns is not the only fear that motivates gun control advocates. The real fear is the combination of Black and Hispanic people with guns.