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Photo: Washington Post
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Unpacking racial bias in U.S. open carry laws

America and guns are like water for humans, unless you're Black.

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Gun rights in the United States is part of the constitution. While anti-gun violence initiatives sign petitions, the NRA continues to support the mass production lethal weapons through any means possible. 

However, open carry laws in multiple states allow many to practice their second amendment right.

But do they for everyone?

If you’re Black, that constitutional right may just make you a target for law enforcement. 

A recent USA Today, article on the topic reads: “Open carry and concealed carry are white privilege at protests and everywhere.” 

It was written by Black army combat veteran, Justin McFarlin, who shared that he is an NRA-certified pistol instructor and possesses a concealed carry license. 

However, he would never carry a firearm in public despite it being his right to do so. Why? 

“I am Black,” wrote McFarlin. 

His fear is getting murdered all for carrying a gun in public because of his skin color. 

In recent years, a number of fatal murders by law enforcement has been committed on Black men in states where it is legal to be in possession of a concealed firearm. The names of Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, John Crawford III are just a few that have caused massive uproar in recent years..

When the discussion shifts to white male who open carry, situations like the recent events and  civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin come to mind. 

Protestors on the streets were screaming for equality when a 17-year-old white man walked the streets carrying an assault rifle, at the slightest provocation, he shot and  killed two people and injured a third. 

He walked away and even got to sleep in his bed one last night before being arrested. 

Five months into a racial reckoning as critical as the COVID-19 pandemic, it is time more than ever to reflect on the excessive force that is used on Black people time and time again. 

Eight minutes and 46 seconds are drilled into our heads with an explicit video of a cop's knee on the neck of George Floyd, But then we also have white supremacists using their freedom of expression for the sole purpose of displaying privilege and open carrying their guns during BLM protests. 

“It has been found that racial stereotypes (e.g., that blacks are violent) are related to US whites’ fears of violence from blacks, and to their support for crime-related policy measures, such as building prisons, and the death penalty,” stated a 2013 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information on Racism, Gun Ownership and Gun Control.

“Support for such policies is particularly pronounced in U.S. whites who hold higher levels of racism. Strong evidence also supports the notion that negative racial stereotypes and attitudes are related to people’s perceptions of threat from black gun-related violence.”

In other words, the study showed that gun ownership IS biased when it comes to race because white people fear Blacks for whatever instilled racial biases they have learned through school or the media.. 

It does not take a study to state this: Gun ownership rights are also racially biased, which calls for a reform that we still have not seen.

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