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For Many Pro-Gun Republicans, Gun Ownership Is Skin Deep

The difference between exercising one's 2nd Amendment right and "looking very threatening and intimidating."

|||Twitter/@briankempgaTwitter/@briankempgaThe Georgia gubernatorial race between Republican candidate Brian Kemp and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams is providing a glimpse into the racial component of the gun debate.

Amid the conflicts of interest, accusations of hacking, and fake robocalls in Oprah's name, Abrams' supporters have accused Kemp and his supporters, including the president, of disdaining Abrams, who is black, because of her race. While there are several reasons to distrust Abrams' platform, such as her opposition to school vouchers, tweets from Kemp regarding Abrams' armed supporters do suggest that some of Georgia's pro-gun Republicans treat black gun owners differently.

Over the weekend, the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) held an armed rally in support of Abrams. They carried campaign signs and rifles through the streets, which is legal in Georgia with a permit. Though the group posted a note about the event being unaffiliated with the campaign, it did not take long for Kemp and his supporters to tie Abrams to the group.

The NBPP admittedly has many issues. It is both racist and antisemitic, and has been strongly disavowed by the original Black Panther Party. What is most interesting about the criticisms of the protest, however, is the way otherwise pro-gun Republicans have emphasized the fact that the NBPP members were armed.

"I mean, these guys are wearing camo and they've got serious weapons," said radio host Rush Limbaugh on Monday. "The New Black Panther Party has openly and willingly been photographed armed to the teeth looking very threatening and intimidating in the process."

Fox News host Laura Ingraham also harped on their weapons, writing "Peace-Loving" and "Armed With Assault Rifles" in the same tweet.

Yet Kemp had a very different reaction when a few of his own supporters posed with rifles. In this tweet, the armed supporters were identified as "unapologetic about their support of...the 2nd Amendment."

To Kemp's critics, this is another instance of pro-gun Republicans making the wrong kind of exception for black gun owners.

When legal gun owner Philando Castile was fatally shot by a police officer, the National Rifle Association (NRA) was slow to speak up for him. When NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch finally decided to comment, she merely referred to pot found in Castile's vehicle.

The perception problem is a historical one. Those alleging prejudice towards black owners often mention the Mulford Act of 1967. At the time, both the NRA and California Gov. Ronald Reagan supported the gun control measure, which made open carry in the state of California illegal. This was done in response to the original Black Panthers' decision to arm themselves in self-defense. Years after the bill passed, California Assemblyman Don Mulford (R), who sponsored the bill, referred to the Black Panthers' decision to open carry as an "act of violence or near violence."

Gun ownership is on the rise among black Americans, particularly among black women. Pro-gun Republicans should examine their messaging and stop marginalizing legal gun owners based on the color of their skin.

Photo Credit: Twitter/@briankempga

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  • SIV||

    Jesus Fucking Christ

    Has anyone in Georgia said the racist and anti-Semitic "New Black Panthers" do not have the right to bear arms?

    Other than "confiscate their guns" Stacey Abrams and her gun-grabbing Democrat supporters.

  • A Thinking Mind||

    Very true. That's the rhetoric of anti-second amendment types, who blame the guns themselves rather than the gun users. If you think that suddenly conservative Georgians should celebrate the Black Panthers because they're exercising their second amendment rights, you're giving the GUN more agency than the person.

    I can absolutely dislike someone who is holding a gun while respecting their right to be armed.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Dont come to Georgia then.

    Openly armed Americas all over the place in Georgia. Many more concealed carry.

    Scary guns. Jesus christ people are stupid.

  • A Thinking Mind||

    You clearly misunderstood what i said. My disdain for the Black Panthers can exist independent of their level of armament.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Shut up Zuri. Youre a race baiter.

    You dont live in Georgia and have zero idea what you are talking about.

  • Remember to keep it all polit||

    Excellent refutation! Keep up the good work!

    (Asking for a friend: do YOU live in Georgia?)

  • loveconstitution1789||

    When an article is shit, there is nothing to refute.

  • Remember to keep it all polit||

    Guess that explains why no one ever refutes you.

  • a tandem||

    @ Remember, the article is self refuting. Kemp was pointing to the hypocrisy and irony of the new black Panthers standing there with firearms while supporting a candidate that supports widespread bans and confiscation.

    and Zuri is bringing in all kinds of long debunked red herrings. Philando castile was complicated case. the guy clearly had a lifelong habit of breaking laws and creating dangerous situations with something like 49 traffic stops. do you drive revoked? drive will no functioning lights? Drive drunk? Drive with no insurance (not no card, but no insurance at all). do you do those repeatedly? Those are sure not death penalty offence, but they do go to making dangerous bad decisions, including putting others in danger, habitually.

    Philando castile was NOT a legal concealed carrier since he lied on his application about how many arrests he had. Is driving 60 mph in a 25 mph zone criminal? Maybe not. but not showing up for a mandatory hearing and then driving while revoked is criminal. Driving for six years on a revoked license with no insurance is criminal. Not disclosing this on your CCL application is also a material felony.

    Philando Castile should not have been shot, but whining about the NRA, when we all know it was a complex case, is BS. NRA has supported LOTS of African American gun owners.

  • Davulek||

    Abrams doesn't plan on taking guns away from her supporters, just her critics. All Marxists are like that. They do not fear guns, they fear not being able to control those with guns.

  • Nardz||

    Zuri Davis is a eunuch whose life isn't worth the letters it takes to type its name

  • bacchys||

    For people Kemp, Limbaugh, and Ingraham blacks don't have Second Amendment rights.

  • newshutz||

    Not a good parody of an NPC leftist.

    You have the strawman talking point, but no colorful invective or name twisting of the usual suspects (e.g. Lush Limbaugh)

    Read OBL or RAK posts for good parodies.

    grade D at best.

  • bacchys||

    The only people who use the term "NPC leftist" are authoritarian trumptards.

  • bacchys||

    The only people who use the term "NPC leftist" are authoritarian trumptards.

  • a tandem||

    bloommberg and his gun ban/confiscation lobbies dumped millions into Georgia races.

    Kemp was pointing to the irony and hypocrisy of the new black panthers. The new black panthers tweeted that image, and he picked it up and pointed to the hypocrisy.

    this article is complete junk

  • Olga||

    One of my friends and Republican party operative in Texas said, "All it would take to destroy the NRA is for black people to join it en mass." White people would immediately be for gun control.

  • TxJack 112||

    Your friend is an idiot. NEWSFLASH!! Not every white person in Texas is a racist and the majority of those that are racists in this state, are not white...

  • KevinP||

    One of my friends and Republican party operative in Texas

    Cool story, sis.

    I am a brown skinned immigrant, naturalized citizen and member of the NRA and the gun culture. Thanks to the NRA and its efforts over the years, I have been able to buy, keep and carry guns for protection as a matter of right in the states of Arizona, Utah and Texas. Unfortunately, when I lived in New York State, where the influence of the NRA is limited, as a brown skinned man, I could not get a license to carry a gun, because I did not have "any need to do so".

    When the NRA and the gun lobby works hard as it has in recent years to guarantee gun rights to EVERYONE, the biggest beneficiaries are the traditionally marginalized - minorities, women and the poor, who regain their right to own and carry guns free of discriminating laws and legal practices. Minorities, women and the poor can now protect themselves with guns in their homes in the San Francisco housing projects - thanks to the gun lobby. They can compulsorily obtain licenses to carry concealed handguns regardless of the favor and discretion of the sheriff in 42 states of the Union - thanks to the gun lobby.

  • Olga||

    One of my friends who was a Republican political worker in Texas put it best. "If Africans Americans joined the NRA en mass, it would be the end of the NRA." Basically, white people would give up their rights to guns to prevent African Americans from having them.

  • Jerry B.||

    Many black and brown NRA members where I shoot. I don't see the white folk leaving.

  • TxJack 112||

    Sorry, you are also an idiot. Nice try but your leftist race baiting will not play. Besides the article is about Georgia, why are you attacking people in Texas?

  • Rossami||

    My experience matches Jerry B's - no evidence of discrimination at any of the ranges I go to.

  • dpbisme||

    I am in Raleigh and one of the Ranges is has a few Black Employees and I was there once and a couple guys who looked like wanna-be gang members were shooting HAND CANNONS...

    The were having a blast and no one cared what color their skin was.

  • Rational Exuberance||

    Basically, white peopleDemocrats would give up their rights to guns to prevent African Americans from having them.

    There, FTFY.

    And that's what already happened.

    Republicans have no problem with legal gun ownership by anybody, regardless of race. To the contrary, legal black gun owners and NRA members are far more likely to leave the Democratic plantation.

  • dpbisme||

    That was one of the stupidest comments I have ever seen posted on this site.

    I assumes there are no Black Members now and that NRA members, you know the many that are involved in competitive shooting are racist.

    It is as stupid is saying the Republican Party is all white and racist.

  • TxJack 112||

    I think the actual issue is the NBPP is racist and anti Semitic. If they had white skin, the media and Democrats would be losing their minds and demanding law enforcement, the WH and Congress so something. However, since they are black, the media and Democrats are silent. It has nothing to do with guns, but is about the hypocrisy on the left, not the right.

  • TxJack 112||

    When white supremacists were photographed with Trump signs immediately Trump is a racist and Anti-Semite. However, the NBPP also racist and anti Semitic is photographed with Abrams signs and she is not immediately labeled a racist and anti-Semite. The issue is the double standard, not the guns.

  • intolerantape||

    Black KKK marching in the streets with assault rifles is not comparable to two kids posing behind a truck, you fucking buffoon.

  • Rational Exuberance||

    The perception problem is a historical one.

    Black nationalists wearing NBPP insignia and camo carrying military-style guns = menacing

    A couple of white teenage kids wearing shorts, t-shirts, carrying hunting rifles = not menacing

    For comparison:

    White nationalists wearing Nazi insignia and camo carrying military style guns = menacing

    See, it's not about race, and there is no "perception problem" here.

  • Rational Exuberance||

    Good grief, with people like Zuri, Reason is obviously scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to new hires.

  • Cloudbuster||

    I think that's the real takeaway from this article.

  • ksq31m||

    Yes, it's because their black, not because the New Black Panther Party is a virulently anti-Semitic hate group as recognized by the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and former members of the original Black Panther Party.

  • dpbisme||

    Ya know,

    Owning a likening firearms is a bit different than standing out on the street with them dressed as if you are going in to combat. Some might even consider it threatening.

    Ya, I support their right to own firearms but I do question their method of expressing their political support.

    When the Democrats win the three branches of Government and try to take away our firearms what do you think the media will say about those of use that do the same thing?

    Yep, we will be branded as EVIL.

    DPB

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