Gun Safety Is about Freedom

Derrick Johnson, Black Press USA, March 6, 2018


{snip} Due to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the politicians that support them, meaningful discourse on the issue of gun control is nearly impossible, and in that silence, school shootings from Sandy Hook to Parkland keep the classroom a battleground, not a place of learning.

Some African American communities know all too well the potential danger associated with everyday activities, as gun violence spills into our communities from various angles. Yet, for the most part, schools have remained safe places for our young people.

Given the disproportionate damage gun violence is having on our communities, the NAACP has advocated for sane, sensible laws, to help eliminate or at least to decrease the damage and death caused by gun violence. {snip}

{snip} Gun violence is the number one killer of African Americans ages 15 to 34. Though African Americans make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, we represent nearly 50 percent of all gun homicide victims. Over 80 percent of gun deaths of African Americans are homicides. Roughly speaking, 1 out of every 3 African American males who die between the ages of 15 and 19 is killed by gun violence. African American children and teens were less than 15 percent of the total child population in 2008 and 2009, but accounted for 45 percent of all child- and teen-related gun deaths. {snip}


In the past 20 years, Australia has proven that sensible reform can prevail over partisan divides and high rates of gun ownership. {snip} Over the course of mere months, the Australian government bought and destroyed over half a million firearms, banned automatic and semiautomatic weapons, created a national firearms registry, and enforced a 28-day waiting period for gun purchases.

The results were both clear and staggering—there has not been a single mass shooting in Australia since 1996. Additionally, data shows that in the ten years following the Tasmanian massacre, gun-related homicides and suicides dropped by 59 percent and 65 percent, respectively. {snip}


The disproportionate impact on communities of color does make gun control a civil rights issue, but gun violence is a national issue and should be a matter of national concern. It is also a matter of freedom. {snip}

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