SIX GUN GROUPS THAT ARE EXPANDING GUN CULTURE BEYOND WHITE RIGHT-WINGERS
This article originally appeared in Salon and Alternet.
I have a theory that the quickest way to get legislative gun control in this country would be to start a movement that successfully convinces millions of black folks to join the NRA. I’m not pro-gun, I just know that a gun rights movement fueled largely by white fright would suddenly see the logic in gun restrictions if more people that didn’t look like them carried firearms.
That’s what happened in the late 1960s when the Black Panther Party for Self Defense started patrolling Oakland’s black neighborhoods while openly carrying guns, which was perfectly legal according to California law. It took only a few months of that for the state legislature to draft the Mulford Act, aimed at ending open carry in the state. After 24 Panthers showed up at the state Capitol armed to the teeth to protest the bill, Gov. Ronald Reagan couldn’t sign it fast enough.
The point is, throughout American history, the Second Amendment has mostly been an obsession of the right, but there are moments when it’s served the left as well. This is one of those moments. Having a president who sympathizes with neo-Nazis and fascists has helped mobilize and invigorate hate groups and other violent racists, inspiring some who oppose them to take up arms. To be clear, I am not in support of arming this country, and I’ve never thought throwing guns at the gun problem was a way to solve it. But with so much violence coming from the right, it’s unsurprising that some have decided to battle them on their own playing field. “We didn’t argue our way into white supremacy and slavery,” Drexel University professor George Ciccariello-Maher told Shadowproof, “we’re not going to argue our way out of white supremacy.”
So here are six gun groups that aren’t just for white right-wingers.