Where is ours?

Dear Editor,

Where is our right to bear or stand?

Would you believe that in the late 1960s that the “high priest” of the modern conservative moment and the National Rifle Association (NRA) once backed and supported a strong federal anti–gun program called the Munford Act?

“There is no reason why on the streets today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons, said then Governor Ronald Reagan.

Reagan made this speech in reaction to certain individuals who said it was there constitution rights to bear arms. This group believed in that right so strongly that they went to the capital building in Sacramento, Calif., with their rifles and constitutional pamphlets. Reagan was entertaining young visitors who actually left his meeting to see the gun and rifle totters.

Out of fear for public safety, the Munford Act was passed in response to this group of citizens who demonstrated their Second Amendment rights.

So who were these people who caused such a stir caring guns? The Black Panthers. Even though they were law-abiding citizens with the Constitution in their hands, the NRA and Ronald Reagan supported gun control to stop them.

Funny how ideas, concepts and laws change when those narratives are applied to certain people.

Fast-forward to today; an unarmed Trayvon Martin lost his life because his killer said he was “standing his ground.” Yet a black woman, who feared for her life, went to jail because she fired a warning and killed no one.

A few weeks ago, Corey Jones, a church drummer, lost his life because he thought he would be safer with a legally registered gun. After his car broke down he got into a confrontation with a man who didn’t identify himself as a cop.

What happened to Jones’ right to stand his ground? He may have not ever made known that the man approaching him was a cop. The laws and the people enforcing them too often fail to support black people.

I believe that most police are good decent people and doing God’s work, every day putting their life and safety on the line.  However, more accountability by the law to law officers is overdue! It doesn’t matter if it is because officers are untrained or just racist; too many black people are paying the price. In 2015 this should just be unacceptable. If not now, when?

We must also as citizens accept responsibility for our behaviors toward law enforcement that created this madness. We have to have more self-control also. We need to respect and cooperated with police in these bitter times.

When there are so many guns and so many people who don’t care about anything, we must put ourselves in the shoes of the officers who just want to get home to their families at the end of the day. It is not just the police who does God work; we all have that responsibility whether we accept it or not.

Gun control does not mean taking everyone’s guns away, it means supporting common sense laws that will make it safer for the police and us.

 In 1991, Reagan also said: “With the right to bear arms comes a great responsibility to use caution and common sense on handgun purchases.”

So you right wing conservatives have no excuse, that’s what Ronnie said. Heaven help us if the Republicans don’t join the Democrats to make the gun laws and stand your ground laws something we can all live with. Too many people have already died.

– Rivers-Cleveland –

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