Will the NRA speak out for inner city youth?

Robert Couse-Baker/Creative Commons

Once again we find ourselves in the midst of another angry conversation over gun rights. After the Orlando shootings and the police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, both sides are delivering the same arguments.

However, a key difference in this go-around is the inclusion of inner city killings, particularly in Chicago. Surprisingly, more conservative commentators mention the murders than on the left.

The primary argument goes like this:

The Left overreacts to mass shootings and calls for more gun control while ignoring the constant violence plaguing inner cities. Furthermore, these cities generally lean democratic, providing even more fuel for the condemnation.

How come violence is so common, they argue, in a city like Chicago that has such strict gun laws? This leads back to the basic argument that more guns equal more safety.

Rather than argue this point in futility, let’s go along with the proposition that more carry permits lower crime. If that were to be true, then high crime areas such as Chicago, Detroit and others should be able to more easily legal firearms. Yet the NRA and and advocates for pro-gun rights never advocate for higher gun possession in the inner city. They merely mention the violence problem as a way to score points.

The opponents may claim that most in the inner cities buy their guns illegally, so the argument is moot. And that’s true…to an extent.

Why Are Guns Bought Illegally?

wikimedia/creative commons

I know, a dumb question, but one that needs understanding to advance the point a bit. People buy illegal guns because they’re prohibited by law otherwise. Of course black market goods are generally cheaper, but it’s unlikely that comparison shopping is the driver for illegal guns.

It’s true that many people in the inner city can’t buy guns because they have felony records. But the twist on this is that many are arrested for gun possession. In an NRA wonderland, they wouldn’t be arrested in the first place and wouldn’t have a felony.

It’s like when people say that illegal immigrants are criminals, when their only crime was to be here illegally; a circular effect. If the immigration system were reformed, they would not be criminals any longer.

As a thought exercise, let’s say that gun control was completely thrown out. Would those who were arrested for gun possession be absolved of their crimes? A similar question could be asked in regards to drug reform. If that were the case, then they wouldn’t be felons and would thus be able to buy guns. And this is a good thing, at least according to the NRA.

I’m curious to know how the NRA would respond if this scenario were presented to them. Would they support the 2nd amendment to this logical extent? I would love to see.

Youth And Guns

Credit Liz Phillips// Flickr Creative Commons

A counter to the above example concerns youth. The opposition would say that guns are often bought by inner city youth, who would be too young to buy legal firearms anyway. Again, this is true to an extent.

A little story: I taught GED prep in inner city Boston for seven years. Throughout that time, students continually dropped out and re-enrolled in the program, sometimes multiple times per month. Often they had to drop out because they got arrested. The charge was almost always for gun possession for, as you know, Massachusetts has some of the toughest gun laws in the country.

Most of these kids were 18–20 and now had a felony record, which would later make it near impossible for them to find a decent job. This would send them into a spiral of crime/punishment for the remaining years that I knew them.

As it stands, they would still be too young to buy a gun. Yet, the NRA and their supporters have for years been trying to lower the legal age to buy a gun to 18, the most recent being this past January in Kansas. Rep. John Rubin and a group of Republicans introduced the bill, with Rubin saying that “We’re talking about a basic fundamental second amendment right here.” Would Rep. Rubin say the same for a 20 year old in South Chicago?

The NRA has made it clear that they want to lower the legal age to buy a gun. Yet again, no overture was made toward inner city youth. Again I wonder how they would respond to this scenario. Would they support lower legal limits in cities like the Chicagos and Detroits that they mention in speeches?

No More Options

Alina Sofia-Creative Commons

The solution of easing gun laws and lowering legal limits seems extreme, yet it appears that we’ve exhausted the options. Lawmakers made it clear that they won’t support successful anti-violence programs such as Ceasefire in our inner cities. Despite paying lip service to the problem, when it comes to forking over money, Congress raises its arms apologetically and says “Sorry, got nothin’ pal.”

Inner city violence has been a problem plaguing our country for years, yet we only hear about it when it’s used to score political points during an election or to fill up airtime after a mass shooting.

If we were genuine about fixing the problem then we would either show the political will to provide real funding or we would hear the NRA stumping for our inner cities. Yet we see neither.

What do you conclude from this?

If you enjoyed this article, please recommend and share. Thanks for the read.