Sunday, January 27, 2013

Would Martin Luther King Support Gun Control?

In a recent editorial, the NJ Star-Ledger cited Martin Luther King's "vital legacy of non-violence" as proof that he would have sided with gun control advocates.

I left the following remarks:

Though MLK’s political policy leaned socialist, his fundamental political principles were unabashedly pro-liberty, pro inalienable individual rights. MLK revered the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Founding Fathers who penned those “magnificent words.” To surmise King’s likely position on today’s issues, one must consult his principles, because only principles provide a guide to future actions.  

King’s non-violent counseling referred to his rejection of the initiation of physical force as a form of protest related to the Civil Rights Movement. It does not follow, given his unabashed reverence for the constitution, that he would oppose the individual’s right of self-defense against armed domestic criminals. Given his stated principles, King would likely have supported gun rights for self-defense or the pursuit of happiness (collecting, hunting, sports), albeit with certain rational restrictions. If not, then his most famous speech was just empty rhetoric. 

My tribute to MLK:

Another correspondent added:

Ricky Lee wrote:
This editorial has ignored a number of relevant historical facts. First, Dr. King was a supporter of gun ownership for the purposes of self defense. He was a gun owner who kept "an arsenal" in his home to protect his family against the constant threats presented by the KKK. Armed supporters, not the police, took turns protecting King and his family. He even applied for a permit to carry a concealed weapon but was rejected likely because of his race.

Lee had other interesting things to say. With the caveat that I'm not sure of the accuracy of Lee's facts, his whole commentary is worth reading.

Related Reading:

Martin Luther King Jr. and the Fundamental Principle of America

Armed Self-Defense Saves Lives

Gun Control Should Focus on Principles, Not Guns

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