…We cannot know if police would have reacted differently to the two allegedly armed men if Sterling and Castile were white, but simple fact is that deaths like these keep happening. And they keep happening to black men.
The whiteness of America’s gun laws, and of how those laws operate in practice, is nothing new. Indeed, when black activists took advantage of loopholes allowing them to rather extravagantly exercise their own gun rights, those loopholes were rapidly closed by an icon of white conservatism — the sainted Ronald Reagan himself.
Enter The Black Panthers
Yet the dramatic events that led to the Mulford Act becoming law also reveal how quickly white conservative lawmakers were willing to act when the face of gun rights was black. And this response stands in stark contrast to modern day conservatives’ reaction to similar antics by white activists.
When Gun Rights Are White
Rather, the point is that, as the face of gun rights grew whiter over the last several decades, white conservatives grew increasingly more sympathetic to efforts to elevate these rights. The position Ronald Reagan took on guns in the 1960s would make him a pariah in today’s Republican Party. Even the National Rifle Association (which, admittedly, was a far less political organization in the 1960s) supported legislation like the Mulford Act. Indeed, they actually helped shape similar laws in many other states.
You can get white conservatives to enact gun laws in the United States, but it’s hard to do if the face of gun rights isn’t black.
An excellent article, and a nifty recap of how swiftly gun restrictions were made into law when it was the Black Panthers holding the guns. I remember all that happening.