Colion Noir

Last week, the National Rifle Association opened a cynical new front in the debate about gun rights in America with its campaign to promote gun ownership to minority and low-income urban communities. NRANews.com, the Association’s official website, introduced a partnership with Facebook sensation Colion Noir, a young, African-American “urban gun enthusiast” and the first of a promised procession of “diverse commentators” to appear on the NRA site.

Noir’s opening soliloquy contained a simple message: African-Americans need arms to protect themselves against the government.

“No one wants to fight for their protection, they want the government to do it,” Noir intones. “The same government who at one point hosed us down with water, attacked us with dogs, wouldn’t allow us to eat at their restaurants and told us we couldn’t own guns…The only person responsible for your safety is you.”

Perhaps the “diverse commentators” strategy represents an attempt to shift focus away from the stodgy white octogenarians who have been NRA spokespersons in the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy.

But the approach seems particularly disingenuous, even for the NRA. “Urban” America is quite clearly the worst place to introduce more guns.  Indeed, guns are already readily available in low-income minority areas, and gun violence disproportionately impacts communities of color.  African-Americans make up roughly 13 percent of the U.S. population, but in 2010 they suffered 56 percent of all firearm homicides.

Young black men who live in neighborhoods with high gun crime commit more serious acts of violence than teens who have not been exposed.  It is far from surprising, then, that African-Americans support gun control far more frequently than do white Americans.  A recent PEW survey found that 68 percent of black Americans support gun-control today while only 24 percent support unrestricted gun rights—the percentages were 42 percent and 51 percent for white Americans.

In light of this, Noir’s position that African-Americans should embrace a continued proliferation of assault weapons rather than support legislation that could only reduce guns on the street is baffling—particularly as he does so in the name of personal safety.

So too, gun proliferation enhances the ever-growing threat of violence posed, not just to the helpless families and citizens caught in the crossfire, but to the persons who help promote “safety” in high density urban areas, such as aid workers and first responders.

Most concerning, the appearance of an armed African-American man on the website of an organization whose “diversity” problems mirror those of the Republican Party is far more complex than it seems.  This is because the very image of an armed black man plays to historical currents—indeed, racialized currents in which the NRA is deeply embedded.  As the NRA and Mr. Noir should realize, the civil-rights era of the 1950s and 1960s was not just a time of water cannons and police dogs.  It was also a time when exaggerated representations of black men with guns mobilized significant response in mainstream white America.

For instance, the FBI famously overstated the threats posed by Malcolm X, Bobby Seale, and Huey Newton, by highlighting these men’s attempts to obtain firearms and “plots” to overthrow the government.  The FBI also hung Armed and Dangerous posters throughout the US South warning citizens about NAACP leader Robert F Williams, author of the manifesto Negroes With Guns, who advocated gun rights for African-Americans.

(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

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  • This article cannot be more off-base. Colion nior has been doing videos on youtube long before the NRA contacted him. He is very well spoken and on point in his arguments, his popularity has grown over the last 3-4 months, and he goes against the stereotypical redneck gun owners that the liberal would like to paint us as. I am a liberal white scientist that owns guns for personal protection and I have seen just about every walk of life shoot and own guns around my parts in Minnesota.. If I could speak anywhere as articulately as this man, I would. The bottom line with Colion, regardless of his color (which is unfortunately the only way the liberal media would like to see him as a representative of the NRA), is that he is a perfect spokesman for the cause based on his insight, popularity, and speaking abilities.

    To state any facts that African Americans, for the most part, are in support of gun control is a complete circular argument. Yes/No opinions do not get to the core of the issue, and I would propose that anyone who has been in support of gun control in these recent months have completely missed the bigger picture. Any experienced shooter will tell you that banning anything will not do a thing to prevent murders.

    Let me briefly elaborate and wrap this up: The biggest problem in the United States with gun violence is undisputedly gang and drug related. With a statistic that 74% of all gun deaths are gang-related and another 4% of drug related (both underreported stats), damn near 80% of all gun murders in the US are gang- and drug-related. This is a very important fact to any of us that care about killings that are happening in this country. Especially if we would like to prevent them in the future.

    The problem though is the misinformation within the African American communities that less guns will equal less homicides. This does not solve the violence problem because it does not address the core issue at hand (that being that the intention to commit violent acts will still remain regardless of the tool being used). In Chicago, you have an overwhelming rate of African Americans in support of gun control because of the violence in the streets. You have a liberal market that has been very successful in gaining their support and swaying their opinions with ideologues. But unfortunately, Chicago’s gun death rate (due to gang- and drug-related incidents) is even higher than the national average at 90%.

    So how are we going to be constructive and stop these acts of violence? Take a look at our drug prevention policy within the United States. Instead of decreasing the use of drugs, we have not stopped a thing by making the sale/transfer/use of drugs illegal. A huge black market has developed as a result, one which requires a way to defend and police their own industries without being able to receive help from law enforcement agencies. What happens as a result, you have armed vigilantes and gangs trying to protect themselves and their profit margins, and you also have a prime target for robbers to try and steal from unfortunate dealers and buyers. This all contributes to the massive amounts of deaths that we see within our nation.

    We have enabled ourselves to be lied to by our government once again. Instead of looking at the core issues (drug and gang-volence; along with our mental health, spousal abuse outreach, and academia programs) that contribute to gun violence, we completely missed the mark by blaming guns for these problems. Again, I am scientist. Ingredients for explosives are a cabinet or a shed away from you. You will not stop the violence by banning guns or arresting individuals. You must attack the core issues, what is actually causing individuals to go out and commit violent acts.

    • Sally J

      Excellent response – Could not say it any better.

  • The Voice of Reason

    Suppose they do ban assault weapons in a high crime urban area. What happens? CRIMINALS STILL HAVE THEIR AR-15’s!!!! THEY WILL STILL OBTAIN MORE AR-15’s THROUGH ILLEGAL SOURCES!!! THEY WILL STILL KILL HONEST CITIZENS WITH THEIR AR-15’s!!!

    Congratulations. With the assault weapons ban, criminals now know that home invasions are now THAT MUCH EASIER, SAFER, and LESS RISKY for THEM. I can already hear the laughter and celebration from the criminal community if an assault weapon ban ever passes.

    Stop swallowing the garbage that Joe Biden or any other power hungry anti gun Washington elitist has fed you. WAKE UP!!!