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InsiderOnline Blog: December 2012

Eldridge Cleaver Disagrees with Jason Whitlock

The sports columnist who this week said “I believe the NRA is the new KKK,” got his history a little backwards. From an insightful article from William Tonso:

[A]llied with sportsmen in vocal opposition to gun controls in the 1960s were the militant Black Panthers. Panther Minister of Information, Eldridge Cleaver noted in 1968: "Some very interesting laws are being passed. They don't name me; they don't say, take the guns away from the niggers. They say that people will no longer be allowed to have (guns). They don't pass these rules and these regulations specifically for black people, they have to pass them in a way that will take in everybody." […]

San Francisco civil-liberties attorney Don B. Kates, Jr. […] describes early gun control efforts in his book Restricting Handguns: The Liberal Skeptic Speak Out. As Kates documents, prohibitions against the sale of cheap handguns originated in the post-Civil War South. Small pistols selling for as little as 50 or 60 cents became available in the 1870s and '80s, and since they could be afforded by recently emancipated blacks and poor whites (whom agrarian agitators of the time were encouraging to ally for economic and political purposes), these guns constituted a significant threat to a southern establishment interested in maintaining the traditional structure.

Consequently, Kates notes, in 1870 Tennessee banned "selling all but 'the Army and Navy model' handgun, i.e., the most expensive one, which was beyond the means of most blacks and laboring people." In 1881, Arkansas enacted an almost identical ban on the sale of cheap revolvers, while in 1902, South Carolina banned the sale of handguns to all but "sheriffs and their special deputies—i.e., company goons and the KKK." In 1893 and 1907, respectively, Alabama and Texas attempted to put handguns out of the reach of blacks and poor whites through "extremely heavy business and/or transactional taxes" on the sale of such weapons. [Reason, December 1985, as reproduced at GunCite.com]

Posted on 12/07/12 01:56 PM by Alex Adrianson

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