In a speech that will doubtlessly split the left, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the Aspen Institute on Friday that it was time for cities to ban minority males between the ages of 15 and 25 from owning guns. According to the anti-gun activist, “95 percent of all murders fall into this category,” and getting guns away from this demographic would reduce crime and save lives.
It’s the latest wacky statement from a man who has filled his resume with lies and exaggerations. Bloomberg has turned himself into one of the Second Amendment’s worst enemies. His opinion on what segment of the population should be restricted from gun ownership, however, is a new one. One hesitates to use the R word, especially when it’s so overused in our era, but what else can you call it? Pushing to get guns, specifically, out of the hands of young minority men is nothing less than racist. Of course, since the subject is guns, the controversy is sure to be small and forgettable. Bloomberg is the anti-gun movement’s biggest benefactor; they can’t afford to throw him to the wolves just yet.
A Regrettable History
Whether Bloomberg is aware of it or not, his speech actually hearkens back to the seedy roots of the anti-gun movement. The efforts to disarm Americans have a long, disturbing history, and their origins are mired in the very same racist ideals Bloomberg champions today.
In the early days of the first English/American colonies, the thought of armed black men was a harrowing one. Statutes were passed to take gun rights away from both free and slave blacks, quelling the fears that slave revolts could lead to warfare between whites and blacks. In at least a couple of states, laws were passed not only forbidding blacks from owning guns, but also from owning dogs. Laws governing black gun ownership continued to persist on into the independent United States, past the abolition of slavery, and into the modern era. Even when laws were stricken from the books, enforcement was racially governed in much of the South.
Today, things are different, of course. Liberals insist they don’t have a racist bone in their bodies. Even Bloomberg, in his stunningly racist solution to the problem of minority murder, claims that he only wants to protect the lives of those very minorities.
Whether they really believe their own bluster or not, it’s impossible for the anti-gun movement to detach itself from its racist roots. At a time when the left is determined to point out the systematic racism in the nation’s justice system, they should take a close look at their own efforts. And those who fight for stricter gun control laws should stop and think about which side of history they are joining.