This article first appeared at the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 1, 2014: 

Cover of "More Guns, Less Crime: Understa...

When John Lott, Second Amendment expert and author of More Guns, Less Crime, learned about how Chicago’s gun permit laws were impacting the city’s poor blacks, he said:

You really need to ask whether or not politicians are consciously trying to disarm certain groups of people. Why do they want a law that primarily disarms blacks and gives to the well-to-do whites? Don’t they think it should be equal for everyone to protect their lives?

Lott was referring to Chicago’s draconian gun permit laws which require an applicant to pay a fee of $650, complete pages of personally invasive paperwork and take a 16 hour training course at a licensed gun range. Lott learned that because there are no licensed gun ranges in the city and because carrying an unlicensed weapon on public transportation is prohibited, the city’s rules and regulations have virtually eliminated any chance that a resident living near the poverty level could obtain such a permit.

A retired police officer, Sonny Brown, who is black, says these restrictions are intended to apply specifically to blacks:

Some people have a record, you know. It’s called “driving while black.” The politicians don’t care if this saves lives or even consider the fact that when concealed carry goes up, violent crime rates go down. All they want to do is stifle our Second Amendment rights.

What Brown is referring to is the loophole in the law that allows law enforcement officials to turn down an application for even the most minor of offenses. This fits with Chicago’s anti-gun ideology that goes back for decades. Even if a citizen appealed the Cook County Sheriff’s office decision to reject his application to a seven member state board of review, his chances there wouldn’t be much better. That board of review has already denied more than 800 applications without any note of explanation.

This leaves blacks in poor neighborhoods at the mercy of gangsters and drug dealers, which is reflected in outrageous crime statistics in those neighborhoods. Reporting on information it received after filing request under the Freedom of Information Act, the Times learned that a resident living in the West Garfield Park neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago had virtually no chance of getting a permit to carry concealed. Out of nearly 115,000 residents there, fewer than 200 of them have been issued permits. The West Garfield Park neighborhood is almost 100% black and subsists on a per capita income that is barely above the poverty level.

Across town, however, in Palos Park, where fewer than 5000 affluent whites live, there are more than 60 licenses to carry, which translates into seven times more permits per capita there than in the West Garfield Park.

The crime statistics in these neighborhoods are predictable. For example, the Times discovered that ZIP Code 60624 (which includes West Garfield Park) has, over the last month, “recorded more homicides, robberies, assaults, thefts and narcotics charges combined than any other ZIP Code in Cook County…” Over in Palos Park the folks there have experienced just one single homicide in the last 10 years.

The Times also discovered that the top five ZIP Codes around Chicago with the most concealed carry permits are all “predominantly white, middle-class and are in areas that have low crime rates” while the most violent neighborhoods are all on the South Side of Chicago which is overwhelmingly black and has the fewest concealed carry licenses as a percentage of the population.

Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor from UCLA, noted that Chicago’s laws sound awfully familiar. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Winkler said:

[The history of in America] was a constant pressure among white racists to keep out of the hands of African-Americans because they would rise up and revolt.

Racist gun laws in America go back to before the Civil War. For instance, following the Nat Turner slave rebellion in 1831, the state of Tennessee changed the language in its from “the freemen of this state have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defense” to “the free white men of the state have a right to keep and bear arms for their common defense.”

As recently as 1941, an anti-gun law was ruled racist in Florida. In the case of Watson v. Stone, Florida Supreme Court Justice Rivers H. Buford concurred in the ruling:

I know something of the history of this legislation. The original Act of 1893 was passed when there was a great influx of Negro laborers in this state drawn here for the purpose of working in turpentine and lumber camps.

The same condition existed when the Act was amended in 1901, and the Act was passed for the purpose of disarming the Negro laborers and to thereby reduce the unlawful homicides that were prevalent in turpentine and sawmill camps and to give the white citizens in sparsely settled areas a better feeling of security.

The statute was never intended to be applied to the white population and in practice has never been so applied.

Whether intended or not, Chicago’s draconian gun permit regulations are most effective in prohibiting blacks from owning the means to self-defense. This makes those laws de facto racist in their effect.

 

Sources:

Times: Data divulges racial disparity in Chicago’s issuance of gun permits

“NO GUNS FOR BLACKS”: Chicago’s gun roster riddled with racist history

No Guns For Negroes?

’s Blog: Gun Control Was – Historically – About Repressing Blacks

The New : The Racist Origin of America’s Gun Control Laws

Palos Park, Illinois

Nat Turner’s Slave Rebellion

Watson v. Stone

Gunssavelives.com  History IS Important: Gun control is race control – and it’s un-American

Bio of John Lott

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