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Tue Jan 21, 2014, 12:18 PM

 

When Martin Luther King gave up his guns

Few are aware that Martin Luther King, Jr. once applied for a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

In his 2011 book Gunfight, UCLA law professor Adam Winkler notes that, after King's house was bombed in 1956, the clergyman applied in Alabama for a concealed carry permit. Local police, loathe to grant such permits to African-Americans, deemed him "unsuitable" and denied his application.

The lesson from this incident is not, as some NRA members have tried to suggest in recent years, that King should be remembered as a gun-toting Republican. (Among many other problems, this portrayal neglects to acknowledge how Republicans used conservative anger about Civil Rights advances to win over the Dixiecrat South to their side of the aisle). Rather, the fact that King would request license to wear a gun in 1956, just as he was being catapulted onto the national stage, illustrates the profundity of the transformation that he underwent over the course of his public career.

While this transformation involved a conversion to moral nonviolence and personal pacifism, that is not the whole story. King's evolution also involved a hesitant but ultimately forceful embrace of direct action — broad-scale, confrontational and unarmed. That stance had lasting consequences in the struggle for freedom in America.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/20/martin-luther-king-guns-pacifism

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply When Martin Luther King gave up his guns (Original post)
SecularMotion Jan 2014 OP
NYC_SKP Jan 2014 #1
ileus Jan 2014 #2
gejohnston Jan 2014 #3
aikoaiko Jan 2014 #4
Eleanors38 Jan 2014 #5
SecularMotion Jan 2014 #6

Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Tue Jan 21, 2014, 12:33 PM

1. “I'm alive today because of the Second Amendment and the natural right to keep and bear arms,”

 

There’s nothing unusual about this. Many civil rights activists—including those who publicly engaged in non-violent forms of resistance—kept guns for self-defense. T.R.M. Howard, the Mississippi doctor and mutual aid leader who founded the pioneering Regional Council of Negro Leadership, slept with a Thompson submachine gun at the foot of his bed. During the murder trial that followed the horrific lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till, Howard escorted Till’s grieving mother and various others to and from the courthouse in a heavily-armed caravan.

Similarly, John R. Salter, one of the organizers of the famous 1963 sit-ins against segregated lunch counters in Jackson, Mississippi, said he always “traveled armed” while working as a civil rights organizer in the South.

“I'm alive today because of the Second Amendment and the natural right to keep and bear arms,” Salter said.

http://reason.com/blog/2011/01/19/martin-luther-king-civil-right


Sadly, things have not changed enough since MLK's days of needing an armed contingent.

And, even if they had, the reasons that the citizenry should have reasonable access to firearms is timeless, as the authors of the bill of rights plainly understood.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Tue Jan 21, 2014, 12:46 PM

2. Another reason "shall issue" should be law everywhere.

Excellent point.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Tue Jan 21, 2014, 03:23 PM

3. Did he ever in fact give up his guns?

I seriously doubt it. Nonviolence and nonviolent resistance to achieve a goal does not equal not being willing to defend your home or your person if the death squads came to your door. He was not the first or only supporter of nonviolence to have armed guards or be armed himself. John Salter carried while organizing the 1963 lunch counter sit ins and other civil rights work around the South. Dr. TRM Howard, founder of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership, kept a Thompson submachine gun (don't know if it was registered) with him and arraigned armed escort to Emmett Till's mother during the trial. Rosa Parks was a gun owner, and might have carried.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Tue Jan 21, 2014, 03:27 PM

4. The article doesn't document that he gave up his guns.


Does it? I think it says he didn't bring them to organized protest.


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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Wed Jan 22, 2014, 11:33 AM

5. "Gun-toting Republican?" Another.Jack Straw quote?

 

MLK gave up his CC arms because those around him didn't. Both he and Gandhi went to some lengths to explain the duty to defend your home and family, and not to confuse this duty with either non-violent strategies or vulgar forms of non-aggressive inaction. Gandhi termed the latter "cowardice."

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Response to Eleanors38 (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 22, 2014, 11:41 AM

6. Reality has a well-known Liberal bias.

 

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