By Max McGuire
New Jersey --(Ammoland.com)- Everybody knows Martin Luther King, Jr. and his message.
As racial violence threatened to tear the nation apart, MLK preached resolving differences through non-violent means.
He was a hero, and a model citizen that today’s youth should try to emulate, regardless of their race or creed.
However Dr. King’s focus on non-violence has led many of today’s civil rights leaders to equate his messages of peace with modern gun control efforts. In his address at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, Former President Bill Clinton remarked that Dr. King’s vision for America remains incomplete. “A great democracy does not make it harder to vote than to buy an assault weapon.”
This is an obvious dig at not only the nation’s gun control laws, but also many states’ new voter ID laws deemed to be racist by many civil rights leaders.
Gun control advocates will argue that it is unconscionable to let individuals privately buy “assault weapons” without a background check. But the same argument could be made against people voting absentee with no safeguard but a signature and the honor system.
The only person who would claim it is more difficult to buy a gun would be someone who has never gone through the process. There is not a single law on the books in any state that makes it harder to vote than it is to buy a gun. Civil rights advocates argue that voter ID laws discriminate against low income and elderly individuals because they are forced to drive miles to the nearest DMV to get a license. But if that is the benchmark for outrage over civil rights infringements, why has no one noticed that buying a gun also has that same exact requirement. Gun dealers ask for not one, but two government issued IDs before they will even consider selling you a gun. My local NJ FFL will not even let you handle a gun without first showing ID to prove you are of age. Most states also force private sellers to verify that buyers are old enough to own a firearm. There is not a single requirement in Voter ID laws that isn’t also required to buy a firearm, and no one is proposing forcing voters to take a background check or fill out any bureaucratic forms (which are required for gun purchases).
Additionally, one wonders whether Clinton realizes there is currently an excise tax on firearms and ammunition (10% and 11%, respectively). If Rep. Bill Pascrell had his way, gun and ammunition taxes would be raised significantly (to upwards of 50%). Yet the Supreme Court has already ruled that poll taxes are unconstitutional.
And here is where Bill Clinton is really wrong: In today’s market, so called “Assault Weapons” are carrying a hefty price. While these prices are coming down, it still will cost upwards of $1000 (give or take a few hundred dollars) to buy a semi-automatic rifle. In this economy, that’s a lot of money. Considering that voting is available free-of-charge, buying a modern sporting rifle is significantly harder (especially on my wallet).
A day after the 50th Anniversary Event, the White House announced two new gun control executive orders. One of these executive orders would prohibit the re-importation of US-made firearms previously sold to our allies around the world. While this would impact multiple different types of firearms, it is most damaging to US collectors hoping to buy one of the tens of thousands of M1 Garands and Carbines decommissioned by the South Korean Army. It was hoped that the majority of these surplus rifles would be sold through the youth marksmanship programs. While this executive order was removed from the previous day’s festivities, it is impossible to remove Pres. Obama’s actions from the calls for gun control from the country’s civil rights leaders.
Unfortunately, banning the importation of WWII-era rifles will do absolutely nothing to lower the violent crime that is endemic in so many of our nation’s inner cities. Criminals aren’t robbing stores with 1903 Springfields and the M1 Garand isn’t the weapon of choice for drug dealers. What this does impact, however, is the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).
Created in 1903, the CMP was charged with promoting firearms safety training and rifle practice for all qualified US citizens, with a special emphasis placed on the country’s youth. This was a period when gun ownership was not only respected, but that firearms safety and marksmanship was actually promoted in the public school system. Whereas students once were able to keep rifles in their lockers, today the mere suspicion of a gun is enough to send a school into lock down.
Above is a picture of the Howard University Women’s Rifle Club, circa 1937. It is pictures like these that throw gun control arguments on their heads. This photograph has no place within the administration’s narrative. Even if the Women’s Rifle Club existed at Howard today (it does not), you’d be hard pressed to find enough participants.
There is nothing racist or hateful about this picture. Instead, this photo actually shows women’s empowerment in a time period when neither women nor African Americans were particularly empowered. The irony is that the very rifles once used by the country’s youth shooting clubs to promote responsibility, camaraderie, and leadership are now prohibited from re-importation under the banner of reducing gun crime.
Responsible gun ownership, especially in the African American community, is part of our nation’s history. Yet today, lawful gun owners are being convinced to surrender their firearms at gun-buybacks in order to prevent “gun violence.” Somewhere along the way, gun grabbers were able to convince people that responsibly owning a weapon in a city is a bad idea. They accomplished this, in part, by invoking the memory of Dr. King and his message of non-violence.
Before 1965, it was significantly harder for African Americans to vote than it was for them to purchase a weapon. If Pres. Clinton was referring to that time period, he would have been right. But unfortunately Clinton and Obama must come to terms with the fact that while Martin Luther was not able to vote, he freely exercised his right to keep and bear arms.
Yet when the Reverend applied for a concealed carry license for personal protection, he was refused by the Democrat local sheriff.
About Sanity Politic’s Max Mcguire;
Max McGuire is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Political Science at Villanova University. He graduated from Boston College, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Arabic Studies. Follow him on Twitter@SanityPolitics