The rarely discussed support for gun rights among black voters

posted at 2:31 pm on January 30, 2016 by Jazz Shaw

Gun rights is a topic which seems all too readily broken down among racial lines if you get all of your news from cable TV or the New York Times. Black Americans don’t like guns and white people are just crazy about them, right? (Or just crazy, I suppose.) But while there are some definite trends to support the stereotype, no group is ever as homogeneous as the press would have you believe. While I rarely turn to NPR for my news, I ran across an interesting interview this month conducted by Karen Grigsby Bates, speaking with one black gun owner from the Washington, DC area who definitely defies expectations. April Howard is very clear on how this is an issue which should (and does) break the color barrier.

APRIL HOWARD: I have a .22, a .38 and a rifle.

BATES: And she’s keeping them all. Howard’s had guns for several years now, the result of a close call at her D.C. metro area home that still makes her shudder.

A. HOWARD: Someone was breaking into my home while I was home alone at 7 a.m. in the morning. That prompted me to immediately get some form of protection for me and my home.

BATES: That doesn’t make Howard unusual, says Charles Cobb. Cobb’s book, “This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made The Civil Rights Movement,” looks at black Americans’ historic relationship to guns. For decades, Cobb says, most blacks lived in the rural South and had guns.

CHARLES COBB: And this is a tradition that goes all the way back to the end of the Civil War and the Reconstruction era. Black people have traditionally used guns for self-defense.

Further discussion reveals that increasingly heavy gun control laws in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington and other large cities left black citizens with few avenues of self defense while living in what are arguably some of the most dangerous, crime ridden portions of the nation. April’s husband Ken is very clear on that point and it influenced their decision to live outside the borders of the District of Columbia when looking for a home.

KEN HOWARD: D.C. is strictly very prohibitive, legally. It seems as though the only ones who are able to have weapons like this are the criminal element.

I got to wondering just how this has been trending around the country. Given the shape most of the urban centers are in, you’d think that support for gun rights would be rising in minority communities. And while it’s still far from a level of parity, you’d be right. I checked out the tracking average at Pew – where they follow questions such as these over long periods – and there does seem to be a shift taking place.

GunRightsRace

During the power days of the Brady campaign back in the 90s, black support for gun rights was tanked at 17 to 18 percent, but if you look at the graph above it’s been slowly rising at roughly the same rate as support among whites. At the end of last year it had reached 34% at the same time that white support peaked at around 60. I won’t read too much into this, but the Howard interview definitely makes a good case as to why plenty of black voters should, if anything, be more supportive of gun rights. I’ll embed the player here so you can listen for yourself.

ConstitutionalCarry


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Comments

Pretty interesting.

The need for protection is something that appeals to all.

Redstone on January 30, 2016 at 2:38 PM

Sure! I think American Blacks need to be armed to defend their civil rights! Well said. What did non violence get MLK? A bullet. Never again!

Mr.Mark on January 30, 2016 at 2:39 PM

I used to have several black guns, ’til the creek rose and took’em downstream.

vnvet on January 30, 2016 at 2:40 PM

I used to have several black guns, ’til the creek rose and took’em downstream.

vnvet on January 30, 2016 at 2:40 PM

Some of my best friends are black guns.

IDontCair on January 30, 2016 at 2:50 PM

Not OT

Live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUlJGZAMFNI&feature=youtu.be

Schadenfreude on January 30, 2016 at 2:53 PM

I never considered the gun issue was divided along racial lines. Glad it’s moving toward parity, but a bit disappointed that more blacks don’t see the value of legally blowing the friggin brains out of someone trying to take your life.

/boggle

If someone breaks into my home it’s an instant death sentence for them, period. I will not give orders, make demands, or give warnings. You don’t belong in my home, you die. Period. That’s not a view that should be confined to any one race.

But really liberals, if you feel differently, go ahead and hang a “gun free zone” sign on your front door. The feelings regarding self defense and gun ownership will reach parity among races that much quicker.

Andy__B on January 30, 2016 at 2:57 PM

Pretty interesting.

The need for protection is something that appeals to all.

Redstone on January 30, 2016 at 2:38 PM

See, one of the things I became sore about with you guys over the past year is when Rand Paul was the first to start trying to make these arguments, and actually present a message of liberty that would appeal to non-white voters, Trump and Cruz supporters started attacking him for it.

They accused him of “being Al Sharpton’s best buddy,” of “selling out his race,” of “race-baiting,” etc, all while he was simply trying to demonstrate that conservatives and libertarians do indeed have something to offer blacks.

So what gives? Paul pioneered the effort that you’re celebrating now, and he was ruthlessly attacked for it.

TBSchemer on January 30, 2016 at 3:03 PM

Worth a look.

It’s interesting, the racist roots of the modern gun control movement.

CurtZHP on January 30, 2016 at 3:04 PM

Oh for cryin’ out loud tbSchemp. Makin’ stuff up to make it about you, again.

cozmo on January 30, 2016 at 3:05 PM

The Schemer wears a motor on his head.

Schadenfreude on January 30, 2016 at 3:14 PM

I used to have several black guns, ’til the creek rose and took’em downstream.

vnvet on January 30, 2016 at 2:40 PM

That’s the stream that empties into Bishop Lake, right?

Del Dolemonte on January 30, 2016 at 3:15 PM

The rarely discussed support for gun rights among black voters – particularly for those living in Chicago.

Rod on January 30, 2016 at 3:18 PM

Sure! I think American Blacks need to be armed to defend their civil rights! Well said.

What did non violence get MLK? A bullet.

Never again!
.
Mr.Mark on January 30, 2016 at 2:39 PM

.
“Non-violence” is NOT what set up MLK to be assassinated.

Non-violent demonstrations and PRAYER … by Christian people who believe in it, is what began to win the “Civil Rights Movement”.

It remains my belief that MLK was assassinated by agents of our Federal Government, for the expressed purpose of HI-JACKING the “Civil Rights Movement”, and MISUSING it to promote a “Left-wing, Socialized Government” agenda.
.
But I agree with you, that blacks need to be armed, to defend themselves, no less than anyone else.

listens2glenn on January 30, 2016 at 3:24 PM

Oh for cryin’ out loud tbSchemp. Makin’ stuff up to make it about you, again.

cozmo on January 30, 2016 at 3:05 PM

I’m not making stuff up. Do you deny that Trump and Cruz supporters here were lambasting Rand Paul for being “Al Sharpton’s buddy”? Do you deny that Paul has long been one the strongest opponents of gun control? Do you deny Rand Paul’s point that big government is responsible for racial disparities in incarceration?

TBSchemer on January 30, 2016 at 3:33 PM

It remains my belief that MLK was assassinated by agents of our Federal Government, for the expressed purpose of HI-JACKING the “Civil Rights Movement”, and MISUSING it to promote a “Left-wing, Socialized Government” agenda.

listens2glenn on January 30, 2016 at 3:24 PM

That’s easy to say in hindsight, like all conspiracy theories. By the way, careful with that HI-JACKING talk.

HiJack on January 30, 2016 at 3:38 PM

Rand Paul was the first to start trying to make these arguments,

Sorry, Screamer, the RA was founded in 1870 on that argument. Not first by 100+ years.

SDN on January 30, 2016 at 3:42 PM

Rand Paul was the first to start trying to make these arguments,

Sorry, Screamer, the NRA was founded in 1870 on that argument. Not first by 100+ years.

SDN on January 30, 2016 at 3:43 PM

I’m not making stuff up. Do you deny that Trump and Cruz supporters here were lambasting Rand Paul for being “Al Sharpton’s buddy”? Do you deny that Paul has long been one the strongest opponents of gun control? Do you deny Rand Paul’s point that big government is responsible for racial disparities in incarceration?

TBSchemer on January 30, 2016 at 3:33 PM

Rand Paul says a lot of stuff that is true. It does not necessarily follow this makes him suitable to hold the reins of power, nor does it mean he is a principled individual.

gryphon202 on January 30, 2016 at 3:44 PM

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_boxes_of_liberty

A version that is close to the modern forms was introduced by Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave who became an influential public figure in the Union States and Great Britain before the Civil War, and had a long and distinguished career after the war. In a speech delivered on 15 November 1867, Douglass said “A man’s rights rest in three boxes. The ballot box, jury box and the cartridge box. Let no man be kept from the ballot box because of his color. Let no woman be kept from the ballot box because of her sex”.[6]In Douglass’s autobiography the Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, published in 1892, he described his conviction that a freedman should become more than just a freedman, and should become a citizen. He repeated that “the liberties of the American people were dependent upon the ballot-box, the jury-box, and the cartridge-box; that without these no class of people could live and flourish in this country…”[13][14]

BuckeyeSam on January 30, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Do you deny Rand Paul’s point that big government is responsible for racial disparities in incarceration?

No, that would be the fault of criminals and not the laws. We’re not going to take Rand seriously if he intends to pull very old lies out from the mouths of BLMers.

nobar on January 30, 2016 at 3:48 PM

I’m not making stuff up. Do you deny that Trump and Cruz supporters here were lambasting Rand Paul for being “Al Sharpton’s buddy”? Do you deny that Paul has long been one the strongest opponents of gun control? Do you deny Rand Paul’s point that big government is responsible for racial disparities in incarceration?

TBSchemer on January 30, 2016 at 3:33 PM

And Rand Paul is tweeting against Cruz today.. It’s politics.

melle1228 on January 30, 2016 at 3:50 PM

I have a feeling that there is a strong but silent majority of inner city African Americans who secretly approve of increased police activity, stop and frisk, broken windows policies. But they are frightened into silence by the activists.

moflicky on January 30, 2016 at 3:50 PM

I’m not making stuff up. Do you deny that Trump and Cruz supporters here were lambasting Rand Paul for being “Al Sharpton’s buddy”? Do you deny that Paul has long been one the strongest opponents of gun control? Do you deny Rand Paul’s point that big government is responsible for racial disparities in incarceration?

TBSchemer on January 30, 2016 at 3:33 PM

Don’t include me in that, but I don’t remember reading it either. That’s not to say someone didn’t say that.

Anyway, it’s not rand paul’s argument about liberties that I’d have a problem with, it’s rand paul, and his dumbass daddy. The apple did not fall far from the tree. If president, I believe paul would fold like a cheap kleenex to the progressives on both sides and say “well, we have to get along, and I can’t pass what I want when they all vote against what I want”. You know it, everyone knows it. It’s a puzzy way out of a fight and progressives do it all the time. He’s not alone though, cruz or rubio would do the exact same thing too.

Andy__B on January 30, 2016 at 4:19 PM

After the civil war the democrats made it illegal for blacks to own guns. Enter the NRA to fight for their civil right to own firearms. Once again the democrats are trying to make it difficult for US citizens to own firearms and the NRA is still fighting for everyone’s right to be able to defend themselves.

Jackson on January 30, 2016 at 4:42 PM

Andy__B,

What makes you think Paul would fold? If there’s one thing that most people agree on about the Pauls, it’s that they stand up for what they believe in and make forceful, principled arguments, even when their beliefs aren’t particularly popular.

If you’re looking for an unwavering ally of liberty and shrinking government, Paul is the only correct choice in this election.

TBSchemer on January 30, 2016 at 4:52 PM

What makes you think Paul would fold? If there’s one thing that most people agree on about the Pauls, it’s that they stand up for what they believe in and make forceful, principled arguments, even when their beliefs aren’t particularly popular.

If you’re looking for an unwavering ally of liberty and shrinking government, Paul is the only correct choice in this election.

TBSchemer on January 30, 2016 at 4:52 PM

He’s all talk. Sure, you can stand up for what you believe, and filibuster uselessly, but what action has he taken to put some oomf behind those words? Talk is pretty, talk is cheap, talk talk talk. Don’t feel bad though, I say the same thing about Cruz.

As far as the election goes then, I’m going to be inUNcorrect.

Andy__B on January 30, 2016 at 5:02 PM

There may be some disparities of incarceration rates due to the predilection of Blacks to certain crimes that have been found to be much more harmful than they may seem (crack).

But Blacks still have free will and can choose to not take that drug or get involved in its distribution.

Other than that any increased rate of incarceration by color is a fault of the community at least and most likely the fault of the parents and the individual make bad decisions.

Anyone who wants to sing that song of racism in prisons needs to address the racism by criminals.

jake1246 on January 30, 2016 at 5:05 PM

…aren’t they African-American guns?…or guns of color?

JugEarsButtHurt on January 30, 2016 at 5:11 PM

Hmm.. Makes one ponder if Blacks might change their politics if they were promoted to have guns to protect themselves.

Relying on the false faith in grubermint to protect you seems a weak religion since all the grubermint frequently does is show up to identify the dead (innocent) victims.

When folks have more faith in their individual responsibility to take care of themselves, there seems to be a strong (conservative) trend away from excessive faith in big grubermint to provide all things magnificent and ‘free’.

drfredc on January 30, 2016 at 5:44 PM

…aren’t they African-American guns?…or guns of color?

JugEarsButtHurt on January 30, 2016 at 5:11 PM

We have lots of different colored guns, ooops, I mean guns of color – purple, gray, brown, black, silver, zombie green….. – come to think it, no white ones though.
I guess that means I aint racissssss afterall…….

dentarthurdent on January 30, 2016 at 6:12 PM

I personally would like to see lots more law-abiding blacks getting and using legal guns to counter the thugs.

dentarthurdent on January 30, 2016 at 6:15 PM

It remains my belief that MLK was assassinated by agents of our Federal Government, for the expressed purpose of HI-JACKING the “Civil Rights Movement”, and MISUSING it to promote a “Left-wing, Socialized Government” agenda.
.
listens2glenn on January 30, 2016 at 3:24 PM

.
That’s easy to say in hindsight, like all conspiracy theories. By the way, careful with that HI-JACKING talk.
.
HiJack on January 30, 2016 at 3:38 PM

.
It’s easier to put the pieces of any “puzzle” together, after you have several of them.

The high-jacking “misappropriating” of the ‘Civil Rights Movement’ could never have happened, if MLK had continued to lead it.

Those political leaders in the ‘Civil Rights Movement’, who took over for the assassinated MLK, led the bulk of the “black” population right into a comfortable trap, set by LBJ.

That’s what “The Great Society” was, and remains.

MLK would NEVER have gone for it.

listens2glenn on January 30, 2016 at 6:56 PM

It’s not exactly THAT suprising, is it?

Gun ownership is is the bedrock of the Civil Society.

If I am as well-armed and able to defend myself, I have the ultimate control over my fate.

To Live…or Die…to stay free.

Without that, you *will* get slavery; the “Soft Tyranny” Levin refers to eventually leads to Hard Tyranny. The only difference is how wide open the throttle is and who’s hand is on the controls.

BlaxPac on January 30, 2016 at 7:21 PM

Considering that history clearly shows that keeping firearms out of the hands of blacks was the Democrat reasoning for gun laws….

ProfShadow on January 30, 2016 at 7:28 PM

He’s all talk. Sure, you can stand up for what you believe, and filibuster uselessly, but what action has he taken to put some oomf behind those words? Talk is pretty, talk is cheap, talk talk talk. Don’t feel bad though, I say the same thing about Cruz.

As far as the election goes then, I’m going to be inUNcorrect.

Andy__B on January 30, 2016 at 5:02 PM

All talk? What do you expect him to do, take up arms and start shooting all the Senators who stand in his way?

“Talk” is all that politicians can do until the voters start backing them up. You, as a voter, are the only thing standing between talk and action on Rand Paul’s part!

TBSchemer on January 30, 2016 at 7:53 PM

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_boxes_of_liberty

A version that is close to the modern forms was introduced by Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave who became an influential public figure in the Union States and Great Britain before the Civil War, and had a long and distinguished career after the war. In a speech delivered on 15 November 1867, Douglass said “A man’s rights rest in three boxes. The ballot box, jury box and the cartridge box. Let no man be kept from the ballot box because of his color. Let no woman be kept from the ballot box because of her sex”.[6]In Douglass’s autobiography the Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, published in 1892, he described his conviction that a freedman should become more than just a freedman, and should become a citizen. He repeated that “the liberties of the American people were dependent upon the ballot-box, the jury-box, and the cartridge-box; that without these no class of people could live and flourish in this country…”[13][14]

BuckeyeSam on January 30, 2016 at 3:45 PM

I saw that quote yesterday but it wasn’t credited.
People should read Douglass more, and listen to Sharpton less.

AesopFan on January 30, 2016 at 9:38 PM

I personally would like to see lots more law-abiding blacks getting and using legal guns to counter the thugs.

dentarthurdent on January 30, 2016 at 6:15 PM

Seems to go together with this.

I have a feeling that there is a strong but silent majority of inner city African Americans who secretly approve of increased police activity, stop and frisk, broken windows policies. But they are frightened into silence by the activists.

moflicky on January 30, 2016 at 3:50 PM

Indeed.

AesopFan on January 30, 2016 at 9:40 PM

Every person who supports Black Lives Matter should be asked this question. If the police are so bad, then why would you want then to be the only people who carry guns? The black population should also be reminded of how gun control was tried in the early 1900s. This was to keep guns away from certain people, namely blacks. Gun controls don’t prebpvent crimes, they empower one group over another.

djaymick on January 30, 2016 at 10:17 PM

Every person who supports Black Lives Matter should be asked this question. If the police are so bad, then why would you want then to be the only people who carry guns? The black population should also be reminded of how gun control was tried in the early 1900s. This was to keep guns away from certain people, namely blacks. Gun controls don’t prebpvent crimes, they empower one group over another.

djaymick on January 30, 2016 at 10:17 PM

Most of this comes from leadership in the black community. People like Elijah Cummings, who see the problems but refuse to look for solutions. Elijah Cummings brought over $1 billion into Maryland in stimulus funds, where did it go? Baltimore still has housing problems, school problems, job problems, and no hope any of that will get better. $1 billion, if targeted to help this community, would have gone a long way to solving problems. That didn’t happen, but I bet a lot of donors got their share. So, if your Elijah Cummings, and you realize you’re doing things that might get your constituents upset, you certainly want gun control.

There’s a reason a political party that claims to be for the rights of the individual, wants to take their guns, and it’s not to protect those rights, that’s for sure.

bflat879 on January 31, 2016 at 8:04 AM

It remains my belief that MLK was assassinated by agents of our Federal Government, for the expressed purpose of HI-JACKING the “Civil Rights Movement”, and MISUSING it to promote a “Left-wing, Socialized Government” agenda.
.
listens2glenn on January 30, 2016 at 3:24 PM

They didn’t need to arrange things like that, they did just fine taking advantage of them when they happened. Just look at the death of JFK: a political killing by a communist agent somehow turned into an indictment of American for racism and violence.

Count to 10 on January 31, 2016 at 10:43 AM

Count to 10 on January 31, 2016 at 10:43 AM

.
? ? ? . . . . .
.
In order for the pro-Socialized Government activists to take-over the Civil Rights movement, the Reverend & Doctor Martin Luther King had to be made to “cease-to-exist”, one way or another.

listens2glenn on January 31, 2016 at 2:03 PM

This mirrors the Washington Post poll in November whose twisted logic touted further gun control in DC. The big gorilla they would not research was that 40% of low income black residents did not support a gun ban. Tellingly they did not poll whether these same residents, who have seen a 50% increase in neighborhood violent crime since Barak Obama was inaugurated, Would rather have greater access to personal self defense weapons. Typically, the most supportive of a gun ban were upper Northwest hyperliberal, rich apparatchiks with their security contracts, bodyguards and Secret Service details.

ironked on January 31, 2016 at 3:16 PM

I personally would like to see lots more law-abiding blacks getting and using legal guns to counter the thugs.

dentarthurdent on January 30, 2016 at 6:15 PM

It will be a few years until we see what happens in Detroit. But it – God willing – will possibly be the first to turn, as the police there encourage citizens to take their defense into their own hands.

GWB on February 1, 2016 at 11:24 AM