Civil rights activists need to be armed for self defense

There is an urgent need for those who support civil rights to arm themselves for self defense. Supporting gun control and choosing to be defenseless in the face of armed and violent racists is folly.

Starting with some history, the inescapable fact is that gun control in the United States began as a means of ensuring the newly-freed slaves would be unarmed. That trend began in the South but spread to the North, beginning with laws that outright banned Black people from owning firearms. Later that goal of banning Black people from gun ownership morphed into laws that were color-neutral on their face, but which allowed the police to use their discretion in granting or denying gun permits to ensure that Black people (and other “undesirables” such as Italian and Irish immigrants) were unarmed. I discussed this and provided citation to other articles back in 2008: https://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/07/02/junk-guns-and-the-racist-history-of-gun-control-laws/. For those who prefer a video, the “No Guns for Negros” video series provides a recitation of the history and can be seen here: https://www.learnaboutguns.com/2010/04/17/no-guns-for-negroes-video-clip-part-1-of-2/.

Jumping forward to today, there is a rise of white supremacists and violent racists in this country. They are emboldened by Trump’s hateful rhetoric and the actions that Trump has taken to prevent racists from being held accountable. That too is something I have covered in another article that can be seen here: https://www.learnaboutguns.com/2020/06/05/trump-race-and-police-brutality/. Many of these violent racists are armed. Indeed, the one thing that those deplorable people get right is their understanding of the power of firearms. They know that a gun in the hand of a person (whether that person is good or bad) allows that person to effectively fighting multiple unarmed people and very likely prevail.

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Sadly, many people in the civil rights movement erroneously conclude that a desire for a peaceful resolution to police brutality and racism somehow means they should be unarmed and defenseless when seeking that peaceful resolution. They falsely conflate gun ownership with wrongful violence, and fail to see that being armed for self defense is morally right and desperately needed these days. While I appreciate the place of caring for one’s fellow human that such pacifist beliefs come from, that is a naive and dangerous approach to life that should be abandoned. I set forth my arguments on that issue more fully in this article that is also from 2008: https://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/10/03/pacifism-a-naive-and-dangerous-approach-to-life/.

To those who are still not convinced that they should be armed for self defense, please let me lay out a more concrete scenario: You just finished attending a peaceful protest when a group of racists follow you home and attack you. At home are your children and other loved ones. At that point in time, would you rather be unarmed or armed? For any sane person who is not engaging in mental gymnastics to avoid the clear answer, it is obvious that being armed is the right answer in that scenario. Since you can’t make a gun magically appear in your hand when you need it, and since you can’t make the training to effectively use that gun magically appear in your head either, the time to get the gun and training is now. The time when you desperately need the gun to avoid being murdered is too late to buy that gun and learn how to use it.

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For Iowa residents, I offer an online Iowa Permit to Carry Weapons class that provides all the training that is required by law to obtain the Iowa permit. It can be accessed at https://www.qcgunclass.com/. For those in other states, please contact your local gun stores and gun ranges to learn more, or ask a friend who is already a gun owner for advice on getting started. I’ve also put together a lot of free information on this website, to include the Guns 101 section that has basic information for beginners: https://www.learnaboutguns.com/category/guns-101/.

In terms of what firearms to buy, anything is better than nothing but I would generally recommend a concealable handgun for everyday self defense while outside of the home, a 12 ga shotgun loaded with 00 buckshot for home defense, and a rifle such as an AR-15 for self defense during civil unrest. The following articles provide more information on selecting defensive firearms:

https://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/03/30/selecting-a-gun-for-home-defense/

https://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/05/21/selecting-a-defensive-pistol-caliber/

Bullet-resistant armor is also a good thing to own. Here is a good option:
BulletSafe bullet-proof vest: https://bulletsafe.com/products/bullet-proof-vest

Finally, a few more articles that I’ve written to expand on some of the points above:

https://www.learnaboutguns.com/2015/06/18/the-charleston-church-mass-shooting/

https://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/06/11/self-defense-the-most-basic-right/

https://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/08/06/what-is-gun-control-an-introduction-to-firearms-regulation-efforts/