Guns and Civil Rights

Instapundit links to an interesting piece on the father of Minnesota’s Concealed Carry Law. It talks about how Professor Olson was a civil-rights worker in the South and how the presence of a gun helped keep him from falling prey to racist gangs.

What few people realize is that the Second Amendment was critical to the (literal) survival of the Civil Rights movement in the Deep South. Those opposed to legislation like the MCCL argue that there’s no reason for someone to carry a firearm – I have a feeling that the people who lived through the Civil Rights movement, as well as women walking through a dark parking lot in the inner city might find more than a few reasons to think elsewise.

10 thoughts on “Guns and Civil Rights

  1. There are presently no social power struggles in Minnesota that are leaving vulnerable unarmed social reformers at the mercy of predatory lynch mobs or goon squads trying to silence them. When such a power struggle presents itself, then perhaps your argument would have merit. Those of us living in the year 2003, however, will stick to the tried-and-true logic that fewer, rather than more, guns on Minnesota streets make for safer Minnesota streets.

  2. Again, try explaining that to the woman trying to get to her car on a dark night. The same horror stories have been repeated ad nauseam about the MCCL, but the scaremongering can’t cover the fact that more guns in the hands of trained and responsible citizens is one of the most effective deterrents to crime imaginable.

  3. “The same horror stories have been repeated ad nauseum about the MCCL…”

    I didn’t mention a single horror story. The only one doing that is you with your tall tales about the MCCL’s virtues in keeping the modern-day Martin Luther Kings of Minnesota from being lynched by the Ku Klux Klan. I never bought into the argument that mass mayhem would ensue due to more people packing heat. All I said is that there is no compelling reason to justify arming more Minnesotans in the face of declining violent crime rates and increasing road rage incidents.

    There is plenty to fault with the bill, and I would think a guy so sympathetic to “small businesses” could understand the multiple levels of red-tape and double standards that business owners must cut through to comply with this insanity if they choose to keep their business firearm-free. It’s also curious how lawmakers who passed the bill are willing to take counties and cities to court who wish to ban guns in their courthouses and city halls, yet they were quick to make sure guns were banned from their place of work. Even you are gonna have a hard time justifying that move, but please entertain me by trying.

    Predictions of mayhem are not likely to eventuate, but even if they don’t, the legislation is still likely to be perceived unfavorably by Minnesota voters. Apparently, the Legislature misjudged the depth of Minnesota’s conservative legislation and have overstepped their bounds with this one. It wouldn’t surprise me if this issues costs some of the bill’s biggest cheerleaders to lose their suburban seat in 2004 or 2006. Co-sponsor Lynda Boudreau of Faribault could easily be vulnerable in her Democratic-leaning district, particularly with her violent criminal past being exposed. Contrary to predictions, the issue is not going away, and much of the problem lies in the fact that it was a bad bill….a thinly veiled GOP payola to the NRA that was put together and signed into law before anyone even read it thoroughly.

  4. There’s nothing particularly onerous about posting a sign that says ‘NO FIREARMS ALLOWED’. In fact, it would take a sheet of paper, a market, and about 15 seconds if one were so inclined.

    Personally, I think the sheer level of vitriol and hyperbole being levelled against the MCCL will backfire when all the horrible things that are supposed to happen when the little people get to defend themselves never emerge. Instead what we’ll see are rapes prevented, crimes stopped, and lives saved.

  5. You know there are all kinds of regulations related to the size and location of “no guns at this facility” signs, not to mention the liability issues businesses must now take on. Funny how the business owners you sympathize with on everything else are met with your extended hand demanding silence on an issue of which you disagree with their position.

    Very few people are predicting wholesale mayhem in regards to MCCL. Most of the public feels uncomfortable in the presence of firearms, or in the company of people that may be carrying a firearm. In the best-case scenario for the GOP, there will be no fatalities or serious injuries related to MCCL and it will be a non-issue in the 2004 election. If this is the case, Republican cheerleaders for the plan will be boasting incessantly about what a success story the bill was and rubbing the detractors’ nose in it, but very few people will care or be convinced that guns=safer society. On the other hand, if there’s a single case of MCCL resulting in an accidental death, it will be a political disaster for the GOP.

    You and MCCL’s proponents seem to want it both ways. In one breath, you talk about how the number of people signing up for permits will not be anywhere near as high as what liberals are predicting. But then, you suggest that hundreds or thousands of murders, assaults and rapes are gonna thwarted by would-be victims holding off their attackers with their Glock 9’s. Even if 90,000 Minnesotans, the high guess, are granted gun permits because of MCCL, that represents less than 2% of the state. If I’m a drug-crazed hooligan desperate for money, the one-in-50 odds of coming across a gun-toting victim is not gonna stop me from mugging granny to pay for my next fix. This “deterrant” premise is about as persuasive as the death penalty’s “deterrant” effect, if not less so.

  6. That 2% figure is somewhat misleading. Overall, 2% will only recieve permits – but if you live in Edina, there really isn’t a reason to get a permit.

    However, that 2% figure is going to be a lot higher in high-crime areas. If you don’t know if the person you’re about to rob is carrying, you’re damn well going to be deterred.

  7. Mark,

    First – the notion that “most Minnesotans” oppose the MPPA is pure Skoglundspeak. Enough Minnesotans support it to convince a majority of legislators to support the bill. that’s what counts.

    And what makes the life of a civil rights worker more valueable than that of a woman walking home from her job at a University Avenue bar? I’ve taught a number of crime victims how to shoot, including a rape victim; there IS no substitute for a gun, if defending oneself is what one seeks to do.

    And, as usual, shooting criminals misses the point. Deterrence is the issue here – and shall issue deters crime. Of that, there is no rational doubt.

  8. The real point for me is that the only way more guns could be a “deterrant” is if the majority of people carried them. Assuming that the 2% overall figure runs as high as 7 or 8 percent in urban neighborhoods where crime is highest and more would-be victims are seeking firearm protection, most criminals who live entirely for the moment are not likely to perceive those odds are risky enough to deter them. Criminal thugs don’t commit too many violent crimes in crowds, so they will continue to target the woman walking down the street at night who, even if she does have a concealed gun, is unlikely to be able to access it before being attacked.

    If the majority of Minnesotans were willing to utilize the MPPA (or MCCL or whatever the heck it’s called), then the deterrant factor would have validity, but so long as the number stands in the tens of thousands rather than the millions, that argument falls flat in most real-world circumstances.

    As for public support for MPPA, the polls I’ve seen show nearly 2-1 opposition statewide. Clearly, the legislature passing the bill is the product of the Republican majority’s interest in keeping their NRA campaign contributors’ bread buttered more so than to serve the will of their constituents. Even if most Minnesotans did come to support MPPA, most do not feel threatened enough by criminal thugs and “racist mobs” to utilize the law. As long as this is the case, the deterrant argument is rubbish.

  9. Mark,

    First, let’s drop the boogeyman from the discussion; the bad bad ickypoopy NRA was never involved in the MPPA. I was a member of CCRN for most of the past six years, and the NRA was a complete nonfactor.

    Second: Both of your statements about why the deterrence argument are “rubbish” have the disadvantage of being utterly wrong. You do NOT need a majority of citizens to carry – although it’d be nice. Lott did, however, show that deterrent effect exists at 1%, and rises as the permit rate rises. In the larger sense, though, practical experience shows that raw numbers aren’t the issue – the fact that citizens CAN shoot criminals is. You’re operating from assumption and supposition, rather than hard data, when you disagree.

    Which is fine – that’s all Wes Skoglund and Citizens for a Safer Minnesota do, either.

  10. Mitch, I’m not familiar with your CCRN acronym, but let’s get real here. Politicians don’t do anything unless it works to their advantage in some way. The NRA, or whatever its equivalent at the statewide level may be, is gonna give juicy campaign contributions to Lynda Boudreau and Pat Pariseau this campaign season. The Republicans weren’t working triple overtime and pulling every dirty trick in the book to pass MPPA simply out of personal conviction. It’s doubtful that they realized what a political landmine it would end up being in a state that they mistakenly assumed turned into Texas overnight last November.

    I’m not anti-gun. In fact, I think the Democrats have foolishly overstepped their bounds at several different junctures by trending anti-gun. But it’s this sort of lunacy that pounds nails into your own cause’s coffin. You perceive that the second amendment entitles you to unlimited access to firearms at whatever setting you choose to set foot on, a philosophy that’s out of bounds with the majority.

    Show me some solid non-partisan proof that a one-percent participation rate in conceal-and-carry laws is a deterrant to the impulsive criminal mind and I’ll be more prone to believe it. People can weave facts and figures to accomodate their pre-determined viewpoint quite easily, so I won’t profess to accept whatever you toss my way, but I’ll at least consider the logic. It’s hard for me to accept the premise that the strung-out thug who needs drug money is gonna look at granny and ponder whether she’s packing heat before attacking her though, at least if there’s a one-in-100 chance that she is.

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