By Maj Toure
The comedian’s jokes present an opportunity to correct misconceptions about gun ownership in America, writes Black Guns Matter co-founder Mr. Maj Toure.
You continue to push the envelope; you flawlessly expose contradictions; and your jokes harken back to a time when comedy was delivered without political correctness.
“Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special may be the most politically incorrect comedy show ever, declares the New York Post.”
As the co-founder of Black Guns Matter, I commend the positions on firearm ownership articulated in your widely viewed comedy set. It is refreshing to see a mainstream comedian – especially one who’s a Black man – raise the issue of gun ownership in a way that wasn’t antipathetic.
At the same time, I also want to challenge those positions, as your jokes present the opportunity for me to correct some misconceptions about owning a gun in America.
Firstly, you said: “… And you know what we have to do. This is a fuckin’ election year. We gotta be serious. Every able-bodied African-American must register for a legal firearm. That’s the only way they’ll change the law.”
To that, I say: the belief that more restrictive gun laws in America will make for safer communities is simply false. In fact, the opposite is true: more legally owned guns, less crime.
Mr. John Lott, our nation’s foremost expert on this topic, wrote a book entitled The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You’ve Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong. Mr. Lott notes that concealed weapons in the hands of good people can be used to save lives and stop attacks.
“Guns not only make it easier for people to harm others, guns also make it easier for people to protect themselves and prevent criminal acts from happening in the first place,” wrote the gun rights advocate in the 349-page book, which was published in 2003.
Another important point, my brother: responsible gun owners aren’t compelled to “register” to buy guns, nor do many of us want to be.
In this context, a registration is a way to track largely law-abiding citizens who make a personal decision to protect themselves and those they love.
It is a fact that mass killings of civilians by military dictatorships in the 1900s were more often than not preceded by the confiscation of firearms from targeted populations, a task made easier by laws requiring the registration and/or licensing of privately-owned weapons.
Secondly, you stated: “I’m clear that there’s no peaceful way to disarm America’s whites.”
Mr. Chappelle, how many white folks have actually said to you: “Disarm yourself?” I believe that most Whites folks want Black Americans to be armed, even if only to protect the Second Amendment.
Thirdly, you asserted: “There’s only one thing that’s going to save this country from itself. Same thing that always saves this country from itself, and that is African Americans.”
Yes, African Americans have a long history of holding America accountable to its ideals. But those ideals include being armed to defend one’s self from enemies foreign and domestic. African-Americans also have a rich tradition with firearms in this country. I suggest reading ‘Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms’ by Mr. Nicholas Johnson.
Lastly, you declared: “I hate guns, personally. I can’t stand ’em. Yeah, but I have several. I don’t want ’em, but I feel like I need ’em.”
Mr. Chappelle, I was crazy hype to hear you say you’re a firearm owner, whereas, most celebrities seem unwilling not admit such a thing. Simply mentioning that you are a gun owner, while acknowledging that it’s a mere tool used for emergencies, is a dope level of objectivity and transparency. That creative balance is why you are one of the BEST TO EVER DO IT.
Thanks for being you, and no bones were broken during my viewing of the hilarious Sticks and Stones.
My hope is that this letter reaches you, your fans, and even the people who hate your guts, so that more people are properly informed about gun ownership.
Author’s bio: Mr. Maj Toure is the co-founder of Black Guns Matter and a Philadelphia City Council candidate who is endorsed by Gun Owners of America.
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