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Debate of The Week: Gun Control and the Indigenous Black Community

The mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14 prompted activists and elected officials to call for restricting the purchase of assault rifles to anyone under the age of 21.

Others have advocated for arming teachers with guns, more police in schools or both. Yet, there is another side to the issue which involves fratricide in the Black community by guns. It appears that violence in Black communities is met with less urgency. Secondly, how does the 2nd Amendment affect or relate to the indigenous Black community; who has been under constant assault by law enforcement since the Compromise of 1877?

Ark Republic asked our readers for their views on the issue:

“I do not believe teachers should be armed with guns PERIOD. I may start homeschooling if I find out a teacher has a gun and my brown baby is in the class. Too many instances where people armed with their own belief system falsely impose punishment on others based solely on their perception of a violation of their beliefs (reference Trayvon Martin). I believe violence against our brothers and sisters in our communities is a separate conversation and should not be lumped into this one. Too often in recent times it has been used as an excuse or diversion from the relevant conversation at hand. So sure, worthy convo just not under the same umbrella.

I do believe the government has to start to address the penetration gaps in school infrastructure and processes, mental health, conscious and unconscious biases that continue to increase these situations, bullying with stronger penalties for infractions, purposeful redistricting to help change the demographic composition (where it makes sense) and stop hiding behind the bureaucracy. So much to be said and done here but above all I think parent have to start REALLY paying attention to their kids and calling them out on the changes they see in them. Stop hiding behind ‘Oh not my child’ and whatever else hinders their growth to cover up the problem and make the parents feel good. We have to learn to multitask better and figure out ways to be a rockstar at home as well as work.”

– Shawone G., Columbia, Maryland

“Being from NYC, we know that the guns that flood our streets come from out of state, and are not been used by the individual that purchased the firearm. That being said, none of the current policy changes, minus at all out ban, would impact the reality on our streets. I’m not in favor of a gun ban, in fact I believe that the gun laws in NYC disarming the law abiding citizens, makes them vulnerable, and total reliant on the state (law enforcement). As black people it opens us up to being killed by the police because hey, ‘I thought he had a gun.’ Also, the criminals are the only citizens without a gun. The current issue of school shots, is obviously a mental issue, having something to do with white males lost of power. Unless the policy addresses the mental conditions of white men, then it’s just a power grab by the government.  As a business owner, I have access to a gun license in NY. Also, as a resident of NC, its open carry out here, so I can walk through Walmart with an AR 15 strapped to my back.

But again, what does policy mean for a black man? If the nypd sees a gun on my hip, will I live long enough to show them my license, or will I get gunned down reaching for my wallet? And will the good ole boys down south, let my black ass express my 2nd amendment rights, or will they assume I’m a BLM terrorist, and proceed to neutralize the threat?

This gun control thing is a white privilege gone wild problem.”

– Idris B., Charlotte, NC

“Honestly gun violence in the black community as I know is only attributed the victimization of innocents through bad shooting, bad aim. Rarely if ever have black Americans victimized innocent people out of rage or cognitive dissonance. We as black people continue to remain morally aware when it comes to these issues of random gun violence.”

– Sharif J, Brooklyn, NY

Fahiym Abdu-Wasi is a long time journalist and The Ark’s deputy editor. Now an academic advisor at NYU, he covers hip-hop and masculinity.

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