Am I Being Detained: What About Black Open Carriers?
In our look at the Open Carry movement, we’ve examined the core of the debate and how many of the activists fail in practice, especially if their aim is to educate and inform the public. However, what is good about this movement is that it does force police officers to interact with citizens carrying lethal weapons and not have the automatic response be to open fire themselves. However, in all of the examples we’ve looked at thus far, the open carry activists were all white.
Yet, what if that weren’t the case? For example, in Dallas Texas last week, an open-carry group with exclusively black members protested the killing of Michael Brown and the violent police response to the protests that followed. The group is called the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, named after the founder of the Black Panther Party.
According to The Washington Times, the group “marched with rifles, shotguns, and AR-15s down MLK Boulevard” in South Dallas. The group’s aim, however, is not just to exercise their Second Amendment rights, but to also advocate for their “right to self defense and self determination,” said an organizer identified as Huey Freeman (although this is most likely an alias since that is the name of one of the main characters of Aaron MacGruder’s The Boondocks). The group also says that “trust in the police” has been “eradicated” because of questionable shootings.
However, given the number of questionable arrests of those exercising their right to open carry, one has to wonder if adding black gun-owners into the mix could lead to even more. Although, because of the heightened sensitivities at the moment and the sheer amount of Second Amendment advocates, an increase in black open carriers could actually be a good thing.
All too often when police approach a black man or woman with a weapon, they immediately think lethal force. However, if they become accustomed to dealing with open carriers of all races, it may create another layer of consideration between the police and sending rounds into a suspicious black person who makes them nervous.
Of course, the other way this could go is that it leads to a shoot-out with police. Ironically, the burden lies on the citizen gun-owners to prevent this from happening. Perhaps rather than educating a suspicious public, the open carriers can help educate police about how to ensure they protect all citizens’ rights, even if the exercise of those rights makes them nervous.
Photo via Twitter