When you look into the history of gun control laws and restrictions on gun ownership, the origins of gun bans are extremely racist. By and large their original motivation can be traced back to attempts to prevent disadvantaged people and minorities, especially black people from possessing firearms.
Modern gun bans were spurred by fears from southerners of slave revolts and later that newly freed slaves would seek revenge if they had access to firearms. This carried over into (and beyond) the Civil Rights Era when groups, such as the Nation of Islam and the Deacons for Defense and Justice, began advocating for black people to arm themselves in order to defend against racially motivated crimes and government repression of minorities.
One of the more well known examples of this “cause and effect” is the extremely strict gun restrictions within the State of California. Those restrictions were implemented by the state legislature and supported by then Governor Ronald Reagan in response to the Black Panthers’ practice of exercising their Second Amendment right to be armed and in some instances even directly challenging the police while openly carrying those weapons.
In more recent years, the efforts to consolidate gun ownership to only those employed by the government and the further expansions of gun control has, like most state policies, become draped in the PR of safety. As a result of that and the knee jerk reaction of the general population to blame legal gun ownership for violent actions that more often than not involve illegal weapons, somewhat of a self-contradictory mindset in which people living in poor, inner city communities support the government’s efforts to limit their ability to defend themselves has arisen.
That and the general lack of knowledge about firearms safety and Second Amendment rights within urban communities that he says he observed while traveling around the country prompted Maj Toure to start a group called “Black Guns Matter.” Toure’s intention with the group is to educate those living within urban communities on the proper handling of firearms and create a sense of respect for gun ownership. In the process, he also trains them in methods of peaceful conflict resolution in order to discourage the use of guns for anything outside of self-defense.
Currently, Toure and Black Guns Matter have raised over $20,000 toward funding a 13 city educational tour. In discussing his mission and goals on the National Rifle Association’s blog Toure cites his own past as a reason he especially wants to reach out to young people.
Toure has seen plenty of his own challenges, as well as successes. Growing up in Philly, he has experienced first-hand tough neighborhoods, and carrying a gun around with no idea how to use it.
“I was 15, walking around with a gun I had no idea how to use and no real respect for,” Toure said in an interview with Bearing Arms, “In hindsight, I wish there [was] someone to say hey, this is a firearm, it’s not a game.”
He has lived the life of misunderstanding, the life that he continually seeks to change.
Also, according to Toure, the ultimate goal of the Black Guns Matter movement isn’t to expand, but rather the opposite.
“The ultimate goal of Black Guns Matter is to make it obsolete” – Maj Toure
Wait, what? Why would someone who put so much time and energy into a movement that has taken the country by storm want it to disappear?
Well, as Toure puts it, “There shouldn’t really be a need for this information to be spread in the hood. The goal is to inform as much of the urban population as possible so this conversation does not have to happen again.”
Making their way across major cities in the United States, Toure hopes to be able to reach every young person with his message – a firearm is a tool for their protection and for the shooting sports. He hopes to provide enough information and inform enough of the urban demographic that together, we, can make this obsolete, and this is no longer a topic of conversation.
- Black Guns Matter Facebook Page
- Black Guns Matter Youtube Channel
- Twitter Account: @MAJTOURE
- Black Guns Matter Tour GoFundMe page