Blacks and Gun Control—Be Careful What You Ask ForIt took Harry Belafonte, the esteemed elder statesman, to raise the prickly questions during the celebratory atmosphere of the NAACP Image Awards last month. As the great debate rages about gun ownership and control and white Americans rail and rally in huge numbers against any stricter laws being proposed nationally and locally, the accomplished actor and activist asked: “Where is the raised voice of blacks; why are we mute; where are our leaders, legislators, the church?”
Even as thousands descended on Annapolis last week and earlier this month and hundreds signed up to testify at the General Assembly hearings about stricter gun control measures proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, the majority of the visible and vocal protesters on both sides of the debate appear to be white Marylanders, many egged on by the NRA. But not to be overlooked, Kenneth Blanchard, of blackmanwithagun.com, was among the African Americans who also testified against gun control.
Though it does not appear to be high on their political radar, gun control has long been embraced with strong support by African Americans, according to polls most recently conducted by Pew Research and the Washington Post/ABC. Pundits and commentators have suggested that blacks currently favor gun control measures not only to back President Obama but also because they have experienced the most tragedy and loss at the hands of gun violence than any other group in America (six times higher from 1980-2008, according to the Bureau of Justice).
They want the weapons of daily destruction off their streets.