Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Marc Lamont Hill gets so close, but falls short.

Marc Lamont Hill, being a protege of Bill O'Reilly, is the last person you'd ever expect to support the right to keep arms.

In other words, American democracy is underwritten by the possibility that everyday citizens can fight back if the government no longer acts in the interest of freedom and justice. For Blacks, who have never received the full protection of the State, such a right must be viewed as an indispensable nonnegotiable component of complete citizenship.


Although today’s gun control laws are facially neutral, they continue to disempower and literally disarm poor communities of color. Over the past 20 years, many states have imposed gun permit laws that allow police and other state agencies to determine which individuals are “worthy” of gun ownership. Gun bans against public housing residents, expressly designed to prevent violent crime, have served to disarm poor Blacks almost exclusively. While rural white communities have done little to encroach upon the gun possession rights of citizens, majority-Black urban centers like Washington, D.C. and Chicago have imposed draconian anti-gun laws on the community. Regardless of intent, these laws have a clear and disproportionate impact on poor people of color. 

Very well put, but sadly he goes completely off the rails in the next few paragraphs:

Nevertheless, I still recognize the relationship between handguns and the rising tide of violence in Black America. For this reason, I strongly support any attempts to prevent gun show sales, straw purchases, inter-state gun trafficking, and other loopholes that enable handguns to get into the hands of violent criminals. As opposed to the fanatical Right-wing gun lobby, I find no reasonable excuse for allowing private citizens to purchase extravagant machine guns, grenade launchers, and other weapons of mass destruction that have no sporting or self-defensive purpose.

Also, I see nothing wrong with having licensing procedures that prevent violent criminals and the mentally ill from possessing firearms. Contrary to what many have declared, however, such sensible provisions are not at odds with the Supreme Court decision. As the court’s majority made clear on Monday, there remains plenty of room to impose common-sense gun control on the state level, provided such measures don’t infringe upon our fundamental right to keep and bear arms. 

Maybe he hangs around his friend Bill O'Reilly too much, but someone needs to inform him that no one is going into gun stores or gun shows and buying machine guns or grenade launchers. Someone needs to also inform him that its the "right to keep and bear arms", not "the right to keep and bear sports equipment", so "sporting purpose" is irrelevant.

As for licensing, there are many problems with it aside from the fact that we don't license any other right. For starters I can use Dr, Hill's own words. Licensing has a "clear and disproportionate impact on poor people of color." Licensing "allows police and other state agencies to determine which individuals are “worthy” of gun ownership." Secondly, licensing accomplishes nothing. Many people forget that in the midst of all the violence in Chicago, they had a licensing system: The Illinois FOID.

However, all is not lost with Dr. Hill:
Rather than stripping citizens of their fundamental right to defend themselves against increasingly violent and immediate threats, we must begin to locate the true sources and solutions for our problems.

Despite his flaws, he closes on a very solid note.

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