By David Codrea
“The Fair Housing Act doesn’t include criminals as a protected class, but the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says refusing to rent based on a criminal record is a form of racial discrimination, due to racial imbalances in the U.S. justice system.”
The HUD rule does make a special point of saying you can’t give breaks to a white applicant with a criminal history that aren’t given to a black applicant with a similar history. But ominously, the bureaucrats can’t just let things go at that, and feel compelled to parrot “social justice warrior” talking points:
Because of widespread racial and ethnic disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system, criminal history-based restrictions on access to housing are likely disproportionately to burden African Americans and Hispanics.
Just so we’re clear: U.S. laws, enacted and executed by the government, are the root cause of discrimination. And if you let government enforcement of those laws influence your better judgment, more U.S. laws will be applied against you.
“When someone has been convicted of a crime and has paid their debt to society, then they ought to have an effective second chance at life,” HUD Secretary Julian Castro declared while announcing what he called “new guidance.” Unsurprisingly, he isn’t really sincere about those high-sounding words.
If he were, the administration would support efforts to remove the appropriations block initiated by Chuck Schumer that keeps the Attorney General from processing applications for relief from firearms disabilities. If serious, the administration would support the right to defend that “second chance at life.” That is, assuming the “debt to society” has truly been paid (along with reparations to the victims and a demonstrably penitent and reformed character).
If not, it’s fair to ask why proven predators would be set loose to move freely among the rest of us. Because, like it or not, anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted without a custodian.
There’s an interesting passage in the indispensable “Gun Control,” a 1973 classic by Robert J. Kukla on the history of the 20th Century citizen disarmament movement (now out of print, but a limited number of copies in varying conditions are still available on Amazon).
He relayed the story of a 1964 CBS hit piece on guns (how little things have changed in half a century!). A violent career felon had been conditionally released from a federal penitentiary and went on to murder a police officer. Naturally, gun laws were blamed, by both a police official and by the warden.
“Can you visualize CBS-Television calmly interviewing a zoo keeper who had recently released a ravenous tiger that promptly devoured the first person it encountered?” Kukla asked readers, drawing an obvious logical parallel. “Suppose the zoo keeper replied:
‘Tigers are vicious flesh eaters. This one had been vicious all of his life, and the first thing he would think of when he gets out of his cage is to tear some person to shreds.’”
Why not restore full rights to someone who can be trusted without a custodian? Does anyone think “prohibited persons” like Martha Stewart and Scooter Libby pose an existential danger to the lives and safety of anyone? And conversely, what sense does it make to open a tiger’s cage just because some arbitrary expiration date has been reached?
Then again, is this really another example of administration inconsistency and hypocrisy? Only if you accept the premise that they’re actually interested in giving criminals second chances. More likely, they realize recidivism rates will guarantee more opportunities for demanding “common sense gun safety laws.” That and the new HUD “guidance” will provide enhanced wealth transfer opportunities via judgments against property owners who would rather not let any ravenous tigers in.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.
In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.