Dear Mr. Bloomberg: Gun Control Hurts Minorities
Español Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently said “it’s a joke” that minorities possess firearms, and that they should be effectively disarmed in order to save lives. This comment falls in line with Bloomberg’s staunch gun-control positions and his strong penchant for nanny-state measures.
Gun control has always been a hot button issue in the United States and has generated all sorts of media disinformation and hype. Despite all the noise that the media, politicians, and other advocates of gun control make, various studies have demonstrated that gun control is a very ineffective means of negating crime.
What is often overlooked in this heated discussion is the racist origin of gun control itself. Historically speaking, gun control has been used as a mechanism of minority oppression, especially of Native Americans and Blacks. These measures stayed in effect into the Jim Crow era, leaving thousands of blacks at the mercy of lynch mobs, white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, and openly racist state governments. Even the great civil-rights leader Martin Luther King was the victim of these oppressive policies when he was denied a concealed-carry permit by the state of Alabama in the 1950s.
To this day, gun control policies still disproportionately hurt blacks and other disadvantaged minorities. It should be very clear that advocates of stringent gun control are on the wrong side of history.
Gun control is merely a vestige of a primitive political order in which the state’s power trumped that of the individual’s. Unfortunately, many of these feudal practices still manifest themselves in present-day politics, but under the guise of “progressive” nanny-state measures and other forms of public control. Regardless, gun control is people control, plain and simple. There is nothing “progressive” about controlling people and lording them around like they are mere serfs.
The NAACP and other similar civil-rights organizations can’t stand idly in the face of these elitist policies that overwhelmingly hurt the groups that they supposedly defend. While minority communities have already been ravaged by policies such as the War on Drugs, gun control is only adding further insult to injury to already aggrieved communities. Unfortunately, many of these civil-rights organizations have been bamboozled by progressive ideologies and fail to see the devil in the details when it comes to excessive state involvement in economic and civil society matters. The state hand that supposedly feeds you is very much capable of strangling you.
Bloomberg’s demonization of guns is a simplistic view of why minority violence abounds in poverty-stricken areas. These areas are clear examples of government failure when one considers the broken, state-run education systems and the failed drug-war policies that are prevalent in these zones. With such a lack of opportunities available and a drug war that creates incentives for people to participate in the drug trade, it is no shock that many of these citizens turn towards drug dealing and other illicit behaviors to make ends meet.
These behaviors thus provoke a heavy-handed response from the state, through gun-control and security measures that have turned public schools in urban areas into veritable prison checkpoints. The state is the original culprit in this maze of misery.
As the great economists F.A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises have pointed out, state interventions beget more state interventions. Once the state gets involved in and distorts one sector, it will only create a vicious cycle of misery that supposedly requires more state involvement.
What Bloomberg and other well-intentioned politicians need to understand is that while their polices may seem good on the surface, the unintended consequences are repugnant at best. These policies end up treating these aggrieved minorities as mere children and automatons that need state aid to get by and achieve their goals. These measures that were originally supposed to protect and empower troubled sectors have ironically made them more dependent and helpless.
Instead, these minorities need policies that promote voluntary cooperation, human dignity, self-improvement, and personal initiative. Liberty is that policy.
How about we treat our fellow citizens as adults and give liberty a chance.
Edited by Fergus Hodgson.