Today’s gun control laws have a disparate impact on the black communities. While progressives recognize the racial basis of Jim Crow laws, segregation, and even the Clinton-era “super-predator” drug laws — they nonetheless reject the obvious basis of laws preventing black America from the ability to protect themselves.
Recognizing the impact on black America, President Trump is fighting new gun laws that disproportionately imprison black Americans and is working to undo the mass incarceration created in part by past gun control laws.
In 2014, the Washington Post found nearly 50 percent of those convicted of federal gun crimes were black — a racial disparity larger than any other class of federal crimes, including drug offenses.
According to one report by the Justice Department, state, local, and federal governments arrested black people for gun crimes five times higher than whites. Gun control is one reason why the U.S. is responsible for 25 percent of the world’s prison population, despite representing only five percent of the entire world’s population.
The trend accelerated dramatically since President Clinton’s 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, and the larger “Clinton Crime Bill,” that created “zero tolerance” sentencing and resulted in doubling the U.S. prison population.
For example, in 2015, nearly 5,000 were convicted under 922 (g) of the federal criminal code, which makes it illegal for felons to possess a firearm — 51 percent were black Americans. Even President Clinton admitted during the 2016 campaign his law “cast too wide a net and we had too many people in prison.”
Historically, U.S. gun control laws were rooted in racism and essentially left black Americans unable to defend themselves. Although Congress fully granted black Americans Second Amendment rights with the passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1870, and the ratification of the 14th Amendment, the long list of gun-control laws during the Reconstruction Era prevented black Americans from personally defending themselves against their own lynching and devastating race riots in their communities.
Samuel Pomeroy, a Republican senator from Kansas, spoke out against this racism in 1868, saying the “the right to bear arms” was one of three “indispensable…safeguards of liberty under our form of government.”
“If the cabin door of the freedman is broken open and the intruder enter…then should a well-loaded musket be in the hand of the occupant to send the polluted wretch to another world,” he said.
Almost a hundred years later, black Americans were still facing the discriminatory policies of gun control.
In a recent interview with the Washington Times, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, “Let me tell you why I’m a defender of the Second Amendment. I grew up in Alabama in the late ’50s, early ’60s. There was no way that Bull Connor and the Birmingham police were going to protect you. When knight riders would come through our neighborhood, my father and friends would take their guns and fire in the air if anybody came through…they protected the neighborhood.” Rice added if Connor, a racist southern Democrat public safety commissioner, would have known where to locate their guns, he would have “rounded them up.”
Most Americans have come around to recognize the racism of gun and sentencing laws. While this is certainly welcome, and the wounds of the past don’t need to be re-lived, the lessons from them cannot be forgotten.
President Trump hasn’t forgotten these lessons and understands millions of Americans have been hurt by racial injustice. Gun control and sentencing laws are two ways President Trump is resolving longstanding racial injustices against the black community.
President Trump supports desperately-needed changes to the criminal justice system to help right the wrongs of past administrations and has continuously defended the right for black America to defend themselves. This includes President Trump’s avid support for the FIRST STEPS Act, which would decrease mass incarceration by creating a new system for prisoners to earn early release, while also offering better reentry programs, such as job training, drug treatment, and life counseling.
Our president is dedicated to undoing all forms of judicial and economic injustices. His historic pardons, support for prison reform, and economic agenda show that President Trump is determined to partner with the black community to continue the Civil Rights Movement into the 21st Century.
Pastor Darrell Scott is the CEO of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump and a member of the Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. Advisory Board.