USA TODAY.COM – Open carry and concealed carry are white privilege at protests and everywhere. I’m a Black, trained, licensed veteran afraid authorities will kill me.
I am an Army combat veteran and an NRA-certified pistol instructor. I own guns for hunting and personal protection. I have possessed concealed carry licenses in Virginia and North Carolina. I believe in the Second Amendment, but I won’t even consider carrying a firearm openly in public. I haven’t exercised my right to carry a concealed handgun in more than four years.
The reason: I am Black.
It has become clear to me that open carry and concealed carry are white privileges — permit or not. Despite having a license: I am afraid of being killed by police if I carry a gun in public.
I have good reason to be afraid. In 2016 in Minnesota, a Black school cafeteria worker named Philando Castile was killed during a routine traffic stop after merely mentioning the fact that he was legally in possession of a concealed firearm.
Tamir Rice, a 12-year old Black boy in an open-carry state, was murdered by officers in just seconds for holding a toy gun. John Crawford III was murdered in a Walmart holding a BB gun that was for sale in the store. There are too many more to mention.
On the other hand, just last month, when a 17-year old white male shot three people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, killing two, police wouldn’t even accept his surrender. Despite the fact that he was armed with an AR-15 and onlookers clearly identified him as the shooter, the police let him walk by. Before eventually being arrested, he crossed state lines and got to sleep in his own bed the night he killed two people and wounded another.
Compare that to the excessive force used by authorities in protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. Peaceful protesters — many of whom were Black — were harassed, arrested, pepper sprayed, tear gassed and beaten. Meanwhile, white counter-protesters again showed up openly carrying guns to intimidate them, making clear they were ready to use deadly force while police looked on.
Increasingly, white protesters use open carry not just as an expression of privilege, but as a way to intimidate Black Americans. At a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, at protests against the removal of Confederate statues, and at racial justice counter-protests, guns have been used as an implicit symbol of white supremacy. [full article]