By Mike Tront
This week’s latest controversial police shooting, the shooting of Alton Sterling, is putting anti-gunners in an awkward position. On the one hand, we have a black man who was shot and killed by police while he was posing no threat to anyone. On the other hand, he was carrying a gun.
If you’re an anti-gunner, there’s a good chance that you also consider yourself sympathetic to the plight and struggle that some minority groups face in America today. From the perspective of libertarian-minded people, these two concerns are mutually exclusive though. We know that any prohibition, whether it’s drugs, prostitution, or guns, will always take an exponentially worse toll on poor and minority communities. In other words, it is impossible to look at the realities of America today and be in favor of a ban on guns and still claim to be looking out for the interests of the lower classes of society.
The War on Guns will be another War on Drugs
At this point, we now know for a fact that the war on drugs was specifically designed by Nixon to put otherwise non-violent black people and anti-war white people in jail. Today, America now has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Largely this prison population is taken from poor and minority communities. White people are actually more likely to consume illegal drugs, but black people are arrested for drug violations at a rate three times greater than that of whites.
So why would a War on Guns be any different? Do we really think rural police departments are going to be conducting raids for guns? Or that federal agents will be descending on middle and upper class communities trying to sweep guns “off the streets?” Of course not! This War on Guns will be fought in the same poor and minority communities that the War on Drugs is fought in now. An otherwise non-violent black gun owner will be way more likely to get caught up in the system than an otherwise non-violent white gun owner will.
For one, America is used to seeing minorities get hauled off to jail. Just try to incarcerate an entire generation of middle-class white males and see how long the War on Guns lasts!
Secondly, white people simply have an easier time getting away with crimes, especially non-violent “crimes.” On average they have more money and connections, which leads to better lawyers and friendly treatment from judges, district attorneys, and police.
So I have a question to Matt Damon, who just days ago advocated for the U.S. to ban guns in “one fell swoop,” and other anti-gunners: If you’re also a champion of poor minorities, how is this War on Guns going to help?
We already know that violent criminals won’t give up their guns. Why would they? Do you really believe that someone who is willing to car jack someone, or rob a business, or murder someone will magically care about gun laws? The fact that violent criminals will always have guns will put otherwise law abiding people in a hard position. Especially those that live in a rough neighborhood. Do I give up my only means of self-defense, and rely on police that may not arrive for an hour, or do I risk going to jail just so I can have a chance at defending my family against a violent criminal?
Like the old saying goes: “I’d rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6.”
Judging by how the War on Drugs is handled, and judging by how justice in America is handled in general, a War on Guns means a lot more poor and minorities in jail, and a lot more Alton Sterling’s dead in the street at the hands of police.
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