The Harsh and Indisputable Truth About Guns, Open Carry and Racism

When it comes to guns in this country, there’s never a shortage of opinions based on what “side” you’re on and how you feel about them. From the folks on the extreme far-left who would like to see all guns banned, to the gun fanatics on the far-right who seemingly want elementary school students to carry weapons with them to class, the debate over guns and gun regulations is never dull.

Unfortunately for our nation and the thousands of lives lost to gun violence every year, the “gun debate” is rarely ever rational, either.

Gun fanatics have made it all but impossible to even attempt to have a rational debate about guns in this country. Even the slightest mention of universal background checks sends many of these gun-obsessed lunatics into frenzied conspiracies about martial law and gun confiscations.

The truth is, the debate over guns is as much about race as it is anything else.

Look at what happened in Minnesota with Philando Castile.

By all accounts, he was an upstanding citizen, a hard worker and a great human being — who’s now dead.


Well, to put it bluntly: Because he was an African-American male who admitted he had a gun. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that had Castile been white, he would still be alive today. Whether the officer who shot him was overtly racist, or simply subconsciously became more “trigger happy” because of Castile’s race, based on the evidence, it seems clear that Castile’s race played a part in this.

But this is nothing new.

Gun fanatics (even though there are African-American and other minorities who fall into this category) are typically white. What most of these folks really mean when they say they support extremely lax gun laws like open carry and less-strict background checks, is that they support them for, you know – people like them.

It takes me back to a discussion I had over two years ago with a gun fanatic family member of mine over open carry laws. During this discussion I asked him this question:

What if you saw various groups of 100 or so African-Americans, Mexicans or Muslims gathered on the side of roads all over Dallas-Fort Worth with loaded AK-47’s, AR-15’s and a whole host of other semi-automatic weapon they could get their hands on, can you honestly tell me you wouldn’t feel threatened or alarmed?

After stammering a bit, they finally tried to claim, “That’s different.” When I continued to press them on how it was different, they began to deflect away from answering and began accusing me of trying to make it about racism rather than guns. Clearly, their struggle to answer my question was rooted in the fact that there was no way that they could do so without admitting that it was about race or ethnicity — and nothing else.

When you get right down to it, while gun fanatics claim they’re “fighting for the Second Amendment rights for all Americans,” that’s not really true.

Here’s a perfect example of what I mean.

Pop Quiz: If 10 armed men, legally open carrying AK-47’s, marched them up and down a busy street, which of the following do you think would get the most amount of calls into 911 reporting their presence. Not only that, but which group would likely be safer from other “good guys with guns,” or even the police, potentially opening fire on them:

  • 10 White males
  • 10 African-American males

Then let me ask this: If “guns” supposedly make people safer (at least that’s what gun fanatics say), are you really going to tell me that 50 armed African-American males marching through an affluent white neighborhood would make those folks in that neighborhood feel “more secure”?

If your answer to that question is “yes,” you’re either crazy, lying or full of crap.

So, this idea that guns, gun rights and open carry are all equal among all Americans isn’t remotely true.

Armed black men, just by the color of their skin, are perceived as a much bigger threat than armed white males. This is true for all minority groups, not just African-Americans.

If a group of Muslim males marched down the streets of some mostly white Alabama town, the residents there wouldn’t suddenly feel “safe” and “secure.” Hell, you’d probably end up with a bunch of “good ol’ boys” showing up, assuming these men were terrorists, ready to kill all of them. It wouldn’t matter if every Muslim in that group was an American citizen who was legally exercising their Second Amendment right to openly carry their AK-47 (aka “long rifle”), they would still be perceived as a threat, not a protector, based on nothing more than their ethnicity and/or religion.

I live in Texas. I see racism constantly. Those who say racism isn’t an issue are either lying, gullible or simply in denial. And you can’t tell me for one minute that these racist white conservatives who seem so proud of their desire to openly carry firearms would feel safe with a large group of “stereotypical urban African-Americans” walking into one of their local establishments armed to the teeth with semi-automatic weapons.

As we just saw, an apparently law-abiding gun owner. who was legally carrying his weapon inside of his own vehicle, was tragically killed by a police officer — even after he voluntarily told the officer he had the weapon — seemingly for nothing more than the color of his skin.

So don’t even tell me that (like with many other things in this country) gun rights don’t come with an “asterisk” for African-Americans. Furthermore, don’t even attempt to claim that when many of these gun fanatics (who are mostly white) talk about how much they defend gun rights for all Americans, that they really mean — for all Americans.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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