by Derek Scammon, Hawaii Concealed Carry
Racism is a word that is, unfortunately, tossed around all too freely in modern-day America. While it has become a catch-all villain in politics, responsible for all manner of Very Bad Things, there was a time when racism was a cherished institution in these United States. And although our nation has made great strides in confronting and vanquishing the evil of racism, some trappings remain, notably in the form of gun control.
The origin of gun control laws in America had little, if anything, to do with controlling crime; the laws were intended to prevent slaves and freed blacks from defending themselves or rebelling against the state and local governments which persecuted them relentlessly. Throughout the history of our nation, gun control laws have been aimed primarily at blacks, and only in the last few decades has the focus of gun control shifted from targeting minorities to targeting all Americans.
Today, the laws on the books in Hawaii bear few substantive differences between the laws of the 1840’s South, other than the omission of race. These are the laws championed by the Brady Campaign and our politicians claim they are necessary to preserve order in our state. Hogwash! While they are no longer motivated by race, the laws we have now are just as discriminatory as they were 175 years ago. Today, our gun control laws discriminate against the disabled, the elderly, women, and anyone else who isn’t capable of stopping a violent crime with their fists. Of course, stopping a violent crime with nothing but bare hands and feet is feasible only with unarmed assailants; even BJ Penn would be hard-pressed to prevail, unarmed, against a sociopath with a gun.
Don’t believe that Hawaii’s gun laws have their roots in racism? Let’s compare:
“That if any free negro, mulatto, or free person of color, shall wear or carry about his or her person, or keep in his or her house, any shot gun, musket, rifle, pistol, sword, dagger or bowie-knife, unless he or she shall have obtained a license therefor from the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of his or her county, within one year preceding the wearing, keeping or carrying therefor, he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and may be indicted therefor.” –North Carolina statute, 1840, as quoted in Clayton Cramer’s paper The Racist Roots of Gun Control.
“Any person, not authorized by law, who carries concealed upon the person’s self or within any vehicle used or occupied by the person or who is found armed with any dirk, dagger, blackjack, slug shot, billy, metal knuckles, pistol, or other deadly or dangerous weapon shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and may be immediately arrested without warrant by any sheriff, police officer, or other officer or person.” — Hawaii Revised Statutes, § 134-51
We’ve come a long way, haven’t we? In no other area, save gun control, would otherwise sane people honestly try to claim that a law, previously used to subjugate an entire race, can be applied to the whole population for positive effect. It’s time to acknowledge the rights of law-abiding citizens, stand up for those rights, and reform Hawaii’s concealed carry laws.
For those interested in reading more on this topic, I highly recommend Clayton E. Cramer’s extensive paper on the subject, The Racist Roots of Gun Control.