POLITICS

Why Martin Luther King Carrie could not get a permit


After the 1956 bombing of his home, Martin Luther King Jr. applied for permission to carry a gun. Despite facing potentially deadly threats as the leader of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott, the county sheriff, Mac Sim Butler, said no.

Next week the Supreme Court will consider a challenge to a New York law similar to the Alabama Act that empowers local officials like Butler to decide whether they can exercise their constitutional right to bear arms. The summaries of requesting the court to overturn New York law include a number of African-American organizations that emphasize the long black tradition of armed self-defense, the racist roots of gun control laws, and their unequal influence on ethnic and racial minorities.

“I went to the sheriff to get a permit for those guarding me,” King told fellow protest organizers at a meeting in February 1956. “I mean, he was saying, ‘You’re at the disposal of the thugs.'”

At the time, it was illegal in Alabama to carry a pistol or hide it from anyone “in any vehicle” without a license. The law states that a probate judge, police chief, or sheriff may issue a “license” “if it appears that the applicant has reasonable grounds for fear of injury to his person or property, or for any other reasonable reason to carry a pistol.”

Nowadays, Alabama, like most states, requires law enforcement officers to issue a carry permit unless the applicant is declared legally ineligible. In contrast, New York claims that applicants show “the right reason,” a formidable value that is not satisfied by the general interest in self-defense.

As the National African American Music Association noted in its Supreme Court summary, states in the South have historically used such prudent carry-permit laws to disarm black people, putting them at the mercy of white hegemonic violence. Law-breaking African Americans risked arrest for exercising their Second Amendment rights.

This has remained true in New York, as mentioned by the Legal Aid Black Attorney and a few other public defender agencies in their summaries. “Every year,” they say, “we represent hundreds of helpless people whom New York criminally accuses of exercising their right to possess and carry weapons,” almost all of whom are black or Hispanic.

Given the origins of New York’s gun licensing system, the situation is not surprising. The Sullivan Act of 1911, which required a license to own a handgun and gave the local police wide discretion to decide who could get one, was framed after years of hysteria, with media and agencies blaming ethnic and racial minorities for years. – especially black people and Italian immigrants. “

Black Guns Matter makes a brief argument that New York law is a part of the firearms restrictions that the southern states imposed after the Civil War. When the 14th Amendment explicitly outlawed racist laws, white supremacists switched to the neutral rule of mouth, which in practice made it difficult or impossible for black people to defend themselves.

Black Guns Matter emphasizes that “armed self-defense has always been crucial to the African American community” – a tradition that extends from the struggle against slavery through the civil rights movement. Until relatively recently, Fordham University law professor Nicholas Johnson detailed in his 2014 book Negroes and guns, Mainstream black organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) steadfastly support that tradition.

No more. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which grew from a fundraising campaign based on the successful defense of black people using guns to prevent racist aggression, supported the local handgun ban, which was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2008 and 2010.

In the case of New York, the agency argues that the state’s virtual ban on public transport is an “important tool” in combating urban violence. It also does not enjoy the possibility that armed self-defense may be an important tool in responding to the same problem.

21 Copyright 2021 by Creators Syndicate Inc



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