Martin Luther King, Jr. is a civil rights icon who used peaceful protests and non-violent means to show America his dream for a better future for blacks and whites.
It’s little surprise that President Obama would try to ride his coattails in a push for executive action on gun control.
Obama quoted King, saying “We need to feel the fierce urgency of now, because people are dying.”
The reality however is that MLK may have used peaceful methods to promote racial unity, but he was keenly aware of the dangers involved in promoting such a message amongst his racist enemies. As such, he was smartly concerned with self-defense for himself and his family.
UCLA Professor of Law Adam Winkler explained this in a Huffington Post blog in 2011:
One issue on everyone’s mind this Martin Luther King Jr. day was gun control. King’s calls for resolving our differences through peaceful nonviolence are especially poignant after Jared Loughner gunned down six people and wounded several others in Tucson. Amid the clamor for new gun laws, its appropriate to remember King’s complicated history with guns.
Most people think King would be the last person to own a gun. Yet in the mid-1950s, as the civil rights movement heated up, King kept firearms for self-protection. In fact, he even applied for a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
A recipient of constant death threats, King had armed supporters take turns guarding his home and family. He had good reason to fear that the Klan in Alabama was targeting him for assassination.
Worse, King was denied his request for a concealed carry permit. Tony Oliva at Bullets First writes that the reason was simple – gun control laws are “racist in nature.”
The basis for gun control has always been racist in nature. It started in the South to ensure that freed slaves wouldn’t be allowed to defend themselves.
It has expanded over the years to encompass a larger range of goals such as controlling the populace at large and centralizing power within the government; can’t have those uppity peons thinking they are citizens after all.
So it should come as no surprise that in 1956 when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr applied for a concealed weapons permit in Alabama, due to his receiving constant death threats and having his house BOMBED, he was denied.
If a man like Dr. King wasn’t “worthy” to be given a concealed weapons permit then I submit that as proof that any notion of needing to ask the government for permission before exercising a right is flawed. If a civil rights leader who promotes non-violence and is a national figure who gets death threats constantly and has attempts made on his life does not meet the measure of gaining a CCW in a state that can arbitrarily deny him his right to keep and bear arms then the states themselves should have no say in it.
“This is what oppression looks like,” Oliva continued. “This is tyranny.”
Winkler concurred that King’s denial was based solely on race.
“At the time, the police used any wiggle room in the law to discriminate against African Americans,” he wrote.
Not only is Obama using Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy improperly as a defense for gun control, he’s doing so in opposition to the civil rights leader’s own actions on self-defense, by implementing policies steeped in racist history.
Perhaps the President should find somebody who actually agrees with his policies to use during his speeches. MLK most certainly did not fall into this category.
Comment: Does MLK’s use of guns for protection contradict everything the President has said about gun control? Tell us your thoughts below.