Editorial: Reducing Gun Control Will Only Repeat History

Thousands flooded into Virginia’s capital of Richmond last week to protest new gun control measures passed by the state’s Democratic lawmakers in January. To no surprise, clutched in the hands of most in attendance that day were the weapons they were protesting for. Some carrying small handguns, some decked out with full on assault rifles.

The large group of protestors, estimated around 22,000, looked more like a small militia with many them adorned in full camouflage and body armor. While there were no acts of violence committed at the rally, the protestors used their arms as a clear message: try to take away our guns.

Democratic lawmakers have proposed three new bills since taking control of legislature in November. They require background checks on all firearm purchases, have limited the purchasing of handguns to one a month and allow local governments to ban handguns in public buildings and parks.

Protestors harped upon their second amendment rights being restricted and rallied against the Democratic party at large that proposed such restrictions. Seeing these (white) protestors gather in the thousands to support gun rights brings memories that despite being just over 50 years ago, now seems like a different world.

The pro-gun Republican party was not always so loud and proud about firearms. On the contrary, the Republican party was adamant on getting guns off the streets. The only difference from then to now is who the guns are in the hands of.

In 1966, the Black Panthers announced their advocation for the black community to arm themselves in protection against the evident political oppression, police brutality and the killing of unarmed citizens that they faced daily in Oakland, California.

In response, The Panthers established the infamous “police patrols” which consisted of groups of African-Americans following the police cars around the city documenting each time the police pulled over or arrested a black citizen.

While the black community is still fighting decades later to end the gun violence that has become a normality within their neighborhoods, the opposing (white) side is fighting for their right to bear arms without consideration of the trauma that has been implanted into the one obvious race that are currently still reaping the repercussions of our countries mistakes.

In 2017,  the Journal of Pediatrics conducted a study analyzing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finding that African-American children are ten times more likely to be killed by guns.

In the height of the gun control rally, the question must be asked, who are the primary beneficiaries of less gun control?

No one.

“Individuals who witness violence are also at increased risk for a variety of mental health issues which can manifest as post-traumatic stress disorder, poor academic performance, substance abuse,” and more, as stated by a 2015 study by Brooking Institution discussing the “snowball effects,” of gun violence that are affecting education, family stability and the social capital.

These same side effects of gun violence mentioned above, are exactly what the black community has been fighting for over a hundred years in hopes for change and the change has been slow but prosperous.

With less gun control these small changes will be all but reversed.

Is this the future we want for our children?