U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah) took to the floor of the House of Representatives with a reminder to the politicians pushing gun control. Those proposals have their roots in a racist past and it only serves to further victimize disaffected communities.
In 2020, African Americans led the historic gun-buying surge, taking self-protection into their own hands by buying firearms at a rate 58 percent higher than they did in 2019.
All told more than 21 million background checks for the sale of a gun were processed by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), including more than 8.4 million first-time buyers. While Democrats push to institute more gun restrictions, Americans’ appetite for gun control dropped to the lowest levels in years.
In opposing the bills, H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446, Rep. Owens said he received thousands of constituent emails and calls urging a “NO” vote.
“I absolutely will fight these measures with every tool in my grasp,” he said. “These rights protect my life, liberty and property, were granted to me by God and cannot be taken away from me by D.C. bureaucrats!”
Rep. Owens’ comments got personal.
“I grew up in the deep South at a time when African Americans were unable to defend themselves. After the Civil War, Black Codes and Jim Crow laws prohibited people of color from owning firearms,” he explained.
“As a child my father witnessed an altercation between his father and a Southern white man who thought my grandfather was being disrespectful and threatened to teach him a lesson. But my grandfather was prepared…without firing his gun on another human being, my grandfather’s rights to own a firearm ensured his rights to protect his life, liberty and property.”
In 2020 the coronavirus pandemic coupled with community violence, riots and looting was widespread in America. Police were stretched thin, criminals were released from jails and calls to “defund the police” rang out. Law-abiding Americans saw danger in front of them and acted by purchasing firearms. Black Americans were among them, for good reasons.
Danielle Campbell, an African American mother in Florida, didn’t like what she saw and bought a gun. “A lot of us are single mothers…We’re learning that we can protect ourselves; we don’t have to be victims,” Campbell said. “I decided I needed to take the safety and security of my family into my own hands.”
Another African American mother, Trish Wendt of Pittsburgh, left a local gun show with new purchases. “I have one for home defense and one for carrying. I have kids and we’re alone a lot, and it’s my responsibility to protect my children,” Wendt explained.
President and Founder of the National African American Gun Association Philip Smith knows these developments firsthand. The NAAGA saw membership grow by 2,000 each day at points during 2020, their normal yearly new membership total.
“We’ve seen a trend of more African Americans choosing to express their Second Amendment rights to own a firearm, especially for personal protection.”
Black Guns Matter Founder Maj Toure summed up why he is laser-focused on promoting black gun ownership, gun education and safety. Of the African American community, he says, “People somehow forget that we have the right to defend our lives with firearms…I pick my words very carefully: All gun control is racist.”
Attempted Point, Definitive Counterpoints
Back in Washington, D.C., U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has voiced support for gun control efforts before and will likely support current efforts in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Booker tweeted, “If you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to buy and possess a gun.”
If you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to buy and possess a gun. Some states are doing this already—and it saves lives.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) August 24, 2019
His counterpart across the aisle, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), disagrees, “The Second Amendment is fundamental to ensuring freedom and democracy and it should not be infringed upon.”
Rep. Owens’ House colleague Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) also came out swinging against the antigun bills.
Democrats in Washington, D.C., are trying to infringe upon your Second Amendment as we speak with HR 8 and HR 1446.
I will always stand up for law-abiding citizens’ right to keep and bear arms because I know gun laws only impact law-abiding citizens, not criminals.
— Byron Donalds (@ByronDonalds) March 10, 2021
“Democrats in Washington, D.C., are trying to infringe upon your Second Amendment as we speak with H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446,” Rep. Donalds said. “I will always stand up for law-abiding citizens’ right to keep and bear arms because I know gun laws only impact law-abiding citizens, not criminals.”
As President Joe Biden’s administration and Congressional Democrats continue their attempts at increased gun control, law-abiding Americans of all stripes and backgrounds will continue taking their safety and security into their own hands. This includes black gun owners. The Second Amendment is an American right for all.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.