Why Firearm Restrictions and Bans are Racist

Last Updated on May 8, 2024.

This is no joking matter. In this writing, we will touch on topics that might affront and offend. It might make you feel nauseated or outraged or impotent. That is okay. It’s always better to know and consider. Like Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Just be warned—this article will talk about violence in some ways that might be unexpected.

At the end of July and beginning of August 2019, three mass shootings happened across the United States.

  • Gilroy, California. 4 killed (including the gunman). 12 injured, according to The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/06/gilroy-shooting-domestic-terrorism-garlic-festival
  • Dayton, Ohio. 9 killed. 26 injured according to Time magazine. https://time.com/5643405/what-to-know-shooting-dayton-ohio/
  • El Paso, Texas. 22 deaths and 24 injuries according to CNN.
 These tragedies reignited cries across the nation to abandon thoughts and prayers and enact policy. While empathy is crucial and abundant in regards to the loss of so much, we can not enact new policy restricting gun ownership without endangering more people than we could ever hope to save through that legislation.

Gun control and a corrupt prison industry.

The problem with a new policy isn’t that something doesn’t need to be done. It does, but before it can it has to clear hurdles of reason and ethics. Near the forefront of which is white supremacy in our judicial and prison system. Until that is addressed, any new policy will be used to further oppress.

People of Color are incarcerated more frequently, convicted more routinely, and sentenced far more heavily than when a white person is accused of the exact same crime.

Any law that prohibits the ownership of firearms in any way, grants more ground to law enforcement to search and question. To arrest and imprison. Ipso Facto, any new firearm law will put a disproportionate number of PoC in danger of loss of liberty, and even life. It’s not just the second amendment under scrutiny. The fourth starts to look vulnerable, too.

With well over two million American citizens currently incarcerated—more than any other nation on Earth—and five million more under state/federal control (the vast majority being PoC), any new gun law would be inherently in support of the white supremacy that actually warrants new gun laws. It’s a Catch 22. (Click here for more about the makeup of America’s correctional facilities.)

Those incarceration numbers have already built a mistrust of police in communities of color. Combined with a family history of education and healthcare inequity fostered by second class citizenship (From slavery to Jim Crow, to Separate but Equal, to Red Lining, etc.), and accurate or not, police start to look like the weapon arm of white supremacy. Huge slices of the American populace are living generation to generation with less community. Because they’ve been enslaved, imprisoned, murdered, or had to labor wildly harder to provide for their children in a society that seems out to get them. 

Underfunded education feeds that corrupt beast.

Examine how public schooling receives funding from the district's property taxes. That means wealthy areas maintain massive budgets for their schools and services while poor areas remain underfunded and perpetually understaffed. Diminishing educational quality consistently. 

More than that, People and Communities of Color are already subject to FAR more police violence, brutality, and death. Make the reason for a police interaction the fear of a lethal weapon—which happens to be a constitutionally protected right—and the danger of increased systemic oppression and violence increases exponentially.

Even time and money requirements require scrutiny. 

From range time to classes, to maintenance equipment and accessories; the cost of exercising your second amendment right is already prohibitive. With every new qualifier and license and condition enacted, the cost of legal firearm ownership rises. Removing from more and more Americans the option of practicing their constitutionally-protected rights.

When we look at the way Communities of Color have been historically and continually systemically marginalized, the demographics of American poverty seem less interesting and more an indictment of American injustice. According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundations 2017 poverty study, less than 10% of white Americans live in poverty, as opposed to the 20-22% for Black and indigenous Americans. 

If you live in poverty and have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, do you lose the right to protect yourself, your home, or your loved ones? From poverty, a weekday off to file or take classes seems insurmountable. Millions of Americans (and growing every day) can relate.

Any increase in the cost of legal firearm ownership decreases the abilities of Americans from these communities to exercise their constitutional rights. Simultaneously increasing motivation for more police interaction in searching for potential illegal ownership of a weapon.

Let’s be the land of the free and the home of the brave.

None of this is to say that anything must or mustn’t be done. This is to shine a light on and open a line of dialogue about the complexities in American interconnectivity. Where one loses rights or is oppressed, they should find an ally in every liberty-loving person.

Despite being the most abundantly populated correctional industry on earth, we are still the land of the free and the home of the brave. We pursue life, liberty, and happiness and encourage everyone else to do the same.

So, tell your friends and family. Restrictions to one's second amendment rights are inherently harmful to People of Color, and that we all intend to stand up to that injustice, and then some.