Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

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Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by loomer » 2020-05-29 02:20am

Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment
It’s time to change policies to support gun ownership in our community.
Michael Render May 27, 2020 12:30PM ET

In a recent interview on MSNBC’s “Weekends with Alex Witt,” Charlamagne tha God championed the Second Amendment and urged Black people to arm themselves. He urged Black people to legally purchase firearms, train, and be prepared to use them to defend themselves and their families. His remarks came following the brutal murder of Ahmaud Arbery who was killed by two vicious white men as he jogged in a Brunswick, Georgia, neighborhood.

Charlamagne’s sentiment on guns is one that I have long held. It is one I repeat on a regular basis.

In fact, following Arbery’s death, I issued a statement urging Black people and people of color to take seriously their Second Amendment rights. I was urging people who look like me to take seriously shooting, training, and the protection of our rights. I put this statement out because the police cannot always get to you on time, and the world is not a just place. I also released these remarks because we cannot assume that everyone who wears a police uniform is just and fair. The high number of people killed by police (1,099 people were killed by police in 2019) proves my point.

Consequently, my message to Black people across the country is the same today as it was a year ago: the only person you can count on to protect yourself and your family is you. God gave you the right to use whatever tools are available to defend your rights. Nothing—including gun ownership—should be discarded. I encourage gun ownership to my wife, my son and daughters, your sons and daughters and all Black people. I wish the Black woman in Baltimore, Korey T. Johnson, who was recently chased and followed by a deranged brother, had a gun to protect herself. She found no safety at a hotel or from the police. My heart goes out to her and her running buddy. ­

The challenge is for Black people, Black media and allies to normalize gun ownership. We should be highlighting and showcasing responsible gun owners. We should be looking to Black organizations such as the National African American Gun Association, which offers firearms training, self-defense training and other services. They understand the cultural nuances of gun ownership and speak directly to our needs. We should be looking to people like Marchelle “Tig” Davis, a Black woman who owns My Sister’s Keeper Defense and teaches women how to shoot, stay safe and defend against threats. We should also be considering the perspective of people like attorney Colin Noir, who is a gun rights advocate with a plethora of online resources ranging from reviews of firearms, commentary on gun laws and educational content. We should also be talking about Black Freedom Fighters (see Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Malcolm X, Deacons for Defense and Justice, Robert Williams, etc.) who embraced gun ownership and protected their families and community in the process. Even the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. applied for a concealed carry permit in 1956.

To go one step further, some even speculated that the gun ownership was central to Black people and their supporters surviving the sixties.

Instead, when it comes to Black people, much of the narrative around guns is associated with gun violence in Black and poor communities. I empathize with people who have been traumatized because of gun violence. I feel for those whose only experience with guns has been violent or negative. It is tragic and it is painful. But the narrative around guns and Black people must include the full range of experiences.

I want to challenge my community to seek out responsible gun owners and talk to them about why they chose to arm themselves. Further, even as groups attempt to reduce gun violence, we should be careful not to villainize responsible and legal gun owners or people interested in gun ownership.

The last thing that any of us need is more laws that will criminalize us.

Further, when we talk about gun ownership, we should be clear about two things. First, gun ownership in the Black community is not a new or novel concept. In “This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible,” Charles E. Cobb Jr. debunked the myth that all civil rights advocates were anti-gun. Many carried weapons and openly questioned notions of non-violence at all costs. While beloved leaders faced threats on their life, families, and homes, and others were assassinated or faced assassination attempts, some advocates wanted to arm themselves. This is not a revolutionary response: it’s a rational one. You defend what you care about.

Additionally, in “Force and Freedom,” Kellie Carter Jackson offers a historical analysis highlighting the tactical use of violence among antebellum Black activists. Carter Jackson’s book details how African-American abolitionists contemplated the limitations of non-violence when it came to provoking social change. I am not suggesting that we become violent, but I am suggesting that there is a long precedent for considering arming ourselves.

My main point here is that the notion of gun ownership among blacks as “radical” is one that is advanced by people divorced from history and by people who benefit from Black people’s refusal to embrace all of our rights. Black people have always wrestled with how to protect themselves and their families. Today is no different.

Next, as we advocate for increased gun ownership among Black people, we must simultaneously change the criminal justice system to support and protect Black people. This means hiring district attorneys who look like us. It also means changing laws that make it illegal for people with felony convictions to own guns. Once a person has completed all components of their sentence and repaid their debt to society, they should have not only their voting rights restored but also their right to legally own firearms. Again, many of these laws specifically and disproportionately target Black people, and revoking a person’s voting rights or gun ownership rights does little to ensure public safety.

There is no question that Black people are over-criminalized. There is no question that we are profiled and harassed at a rate greater than most. To further ensure our protection, we must elect leaders who see our humanity and are committed to upending racist systems that dehumanize and ensnare us in the criminal justice trap. As we pursue avenues to exercise our constitutionally guaranteed rights, such as gun ownership, we must also seek to change laws to ensure that the exercise of our rights does not become yet another tactic to criminalize us. We must elect anti-racist and progressive-minded district attorneys, sheriffs and elected officials who not only look like us but support the second amendment. Until we have people in office who are not primed to pathologize us, no one is safe.

Every human being has value. With that value comes a God-given right to defend oneself. Black people are not exempt. We must increasingly pursue all means available to protect our person and our families. We must also work to elect leaders who understand and support this. Gun ownership may not solve everything, but it will give us a fighting chance. Like the tools in a toolbox, each one has a distinct and designated purpose. No one tool will work for every situation or problem. But you can get a heck of a lot farther when you have options. Gun ownership is no different.

Michael Render, professionally known as Killer Mike, is an activist, Grammy Award-winning rapper, one half of the rap duo Run the Jewels, and host of the Netflix series, “Trigger Warning with Killer Mike.” He and his wife, Shana, own the SWAG Shop barbershops in Atlanta. He is also co-owner, with Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris and Noel Khalil, of the historic Bankhead Seafood restaurant in Atlanta.
I can't say I'm a proponent of American-style gun ownership these days, but Mike's points are well made and legitimate.
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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by Broomstick » 2020-05-29 04:27am

Malcolm X wrote:We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.
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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by Mr Bean » 2020-05-29 07:46am

Some gun control restrictions in Cali came about via the Black Panthers arming themselves. Look into the Mulford Act for the fun history on that.

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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by Majin Gojira » 2020-05-30 01:17am

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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by Beowulf » 2020-05-30 01:36am

Majin Gojira wrote:
2020-05-30 01:17am
Yeah, the Black Panthers tried that, and the NRA helped pass an Open Carry ban.

If history is any precedent, it won't work.
That was before the revolt at Cincinnati, resulting in a sea change for the NRA policies and lobbying efforts.
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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by Zaune » 2020-05-30 06:39am

Majin Gojira wrote:
2020-05-30 01:17am
Yeah, the Black Panthers tried that, and the NRA helped pass an Open Carry ban.

If history is any precedent, it won't work.
So either the next protest Black Lives Matter march has enough firepower on hand to deter the police from shooting first, or states end up passing some laws that will criminalise the militiabros brandishing firearms in public as well. Win/win.
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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by Ralin » 2020-05-30 07:03am

Zaune wrote:
2020-05-30 06:39am
So either the next protest Black Lives Matter march has enough firepower on hand to deter the police from shooting first, or states end up passing some laws that will criminalise the militiabros brandishing firearms in public as well. Win/win.
Laws which will definitely be enforced on the militia bros.

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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by Zaune » 2020-05-30 09:01am

Actually, they probably will. US law-enforcement might demonstrably have a serious problem with institutional racism, but I doubt that even the most dysfunctional local police forces are happy about a bunch of trigger-happy posers swaggering around the downtown core brandishing assault rifles.
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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by MKSheppard » 2020-05-30 12:21pm

I issued a statement urging Black people and people of color to take seriously their Second Amendment rights.
Image

SO YOU WANT TO BUY A GUN

Let's go to the gun store!

Oh wait; if you're black, you probably don't live in an area with a gunstore.

New York City:

Manhattan/Harlem: There used to be one gun store -- John Jovino's -- a century old police/gun equipment store -- the owner is retiring and closing up shop.

There are two gun stores across the Hudson in New Jersey, Mike's Gun Shop and Bergen Sporting Goods; but you can't buy handguns across state lines without having them shipped to a dealer in your state to finish the sale there.

There's about three gun stores in Glendale near Mount Hope/Judah/Neboh cemeteries.

But there's a problem; specifically for minorities who are not as likely to have access to a private vehicle:

MTA rule 1097.11 says:

1097.11 Firearms or other weapons: No person, except for those licensed to do so and in immediate possession of such license, shall bring into or carry in a terminal, station or train firearms or other weapons.

I looked around and found this from a lawyer's website:

In New York City, if someone is within the five boroughs and are using public transportation and have a firearm, it will almost always be unlawful.

Apparently, you can only get away with it legally (EVEN IF IT IS UNLOADED AND IN A LOCKED CASE) if you have a high end "gun permit" which is almost impossible to get in New York City.

Washington DC:

There used to be ONE gun store in the entire city, run by a guy in the basement of a....police station. He quit the business a few months ago; and now there is just one gun dealer in the entire District.

Guess who they are?

Yes. The Metropolitan Police of Washington DC. Because the city was too afraid of being sued if no gun dealers existed in DC limits, they went and got a FFL (Federal Firearms License).

Yes, let's be a black man and go into a POLICE STATION to BUY A GUN from the POLICE.

Chicago:

There are no gun stores within "metropolitan" Chicago, so you have to get in a car and drive pretty far away from the "core" of Chicago to get one.

Baltimore:

Is a bit of a mashup of Chicago/NYC. There's two stores in downtown Baltimore, both a block from each other -- Last Firearms and The Cop Shop; which "sell(s) duty and off-duty accessories and supplies to police officers and certified security guards throughout the State."

If you want a real choice, you have to leap into car and drive outside Baltimore.

etc.

https://www.racialequitytools.org/resou ... licies.pdf

Minorities, however, are less likely to own cars than whites and are more often dependent on public transportation. The “transit-dependent” must often rely
on public transportation not only to travel to work, but also to get to school, obtain medical care,
attend religious services, and shop for basic necessities such as groceries. The transit-dependent
commonly have low incomes and thus, in addition to facing more difficulties getting around,
they face economic inequities as a result of transportation policies oriented toward travel by car


And we're only getting started.

Next, you'll need some form of identification to purchase a gun; has been so for a while. Current definition is:

[A] document made or issued by or under the authority of the United States Government, a State, political subdivision of a State, a foreign government, political subdivision of a foreign government, an international governmental or an international quasi-governmental organization which, when completed with information concerning a particular individual, is of a type intended or commonly accepted for the purpose of identification of individuals.

You may need to bring MORE identification -- like for example a vehicle registration or utility bill to prove you now live in the state, but haven't changed your driver's license from the old state to your current one.

This is an issue, because per ACLU:

Voter ID laws deprive many voters of their right to vote, reduce participation, and stand in direct opposition to our country’s trend of including more Americans in the democratic process. Many Americans do not have one of the forms of identification states acceptable for voting. These voters are disproportionately low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Such voters more frequently have difficulty obtaining ID, because they cannot afford or cannot obtain the underlying documents that are a prerequisite to obtaining government-issued photo ID card.

I won't even get into the fact that some states require an additional level of identification to purchase guns -- Illinois' FOID and Maryland's Handgun Qualification License.

To get the MD HQL, you have to go to a class, pass a shooting range test AND be fingerprinted and background checked. And it costs a lot:

$70 for fingerprints at a fingerprinting company to send them electronically to MD State Police
$150 class fees for HQL training.
$50 cost to Maryland State Police for the HQL application fee. (online credit card only)
$270 total cost

Turn around time on the HQL is about 30 days at best assuming everything goes perfect.

So you've identified yourself; now you'll need to pass the background check by the FBI (the gun store will call in your basic identifying information) before the gun can be transferred to you.

https://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2013/09/ ... inorities/

It has long been the EEOC’s position that employers that use credit checks and/or criminal history records in employment decisions may violate Title VII. The theory goes like this: Employers have a policy of rejecting job candidates who have bad credit, an arrest, or a conviction. Statistics show that individuals of certain races (1) are more likely to have negative information in their credit reports and (2) are arrested and convicted at a higher rate than persons of other races. Therefore, employers that make hiring decisions based on credit and criminal history reports reject more individuals in affected racial groups than persons of other races. Because the employer’s background check policy causes a discriminatory impact on the basis of race, it violates Title VII.

If you're saying "fuck this", and just want to buy a gun through a private sale from an individual.... (aka the Gun Show Loophole)

Image

More and more states are "closing the gun show loophole" -- Maryland democrats for example, passed a law that would have made private sales to people outside of close blood ties (father to brother, etc) illegal; and thus you'd have to go through a FFL and get it on a 4473/background check; or risk 6 months in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Governor Hogan vetoed that bill; but I don't know if the Democrats in Maryland will immediately override his veto when the legislature returns.

Oh, and in maryland select drug crimes create "Felon in illegally possession of a firearm":

The mandatory minimum for a person found illegally possessing a firearm [in Maryland] due to their felony status is generally a minimum of five years. An individual will be facing a minimum five years due to the public safety laws for illegally possessing a regulated firearm after having been convicted of a crime of violence or select drug crimes.

It's a beautifully labyrinthine network of laws.
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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by Broomstick » 2020-05-30 04:42pm

MKSheppard wrote:
2020-05-30 12:21pm
Chicago:

There are no gun stores within "metropolitan" Chicago, so you have to get in a car and drive pretty far away from the "core" of Chicago to get one.
And yet... that's doable. There are two very large gun stores in my current city of residence, which are both reachable by mass transit. Or mass transit + Uber/Lyft/cab. Also at least five more in the county. Every county surrounding Chicago has gun stores, and you are able to get to them without actually owning your own vehicle. Of course, having your own car/pickup/van/whatever makes them even more obtainable. That was always why the gun ban in Chicago was pretty fucking useless - you could always step over the city line and buy a gun.

Sure, it's more difficult for the poor and those without their own vehicle, but it's not impossible even then.

Yes, you will counter, Illinois imposes further requirements... but Indiana has much looser gun purchase laws than Illinois does, much less Chicago, and the eastern border of the city of Chicago is the western border of Indiana. Which is why my county has so damn many gun shops.
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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by Beowulf » 2020-05-30 05:25pm

Broomstick wrote:
2020-05-30 04:42pm
MKSheppard wrote:
2020-05-30 12:21pm
Chicago:

There are no gun stores within "metropolitan" Chicago, so you have to get in a car and drive pretty far away from the "core" of Chicago to get one.
And yet... that's doable. There are two very large gun stores in my current city of residence, which are both reachable by mass transit. Or mass transit + Uber/Lyft/cab. Also at least five more in the county. Every county surrounding Chicago has gun stores, and you are able to get to them without actually owning your own vehicle. Of course, having your own car/pickup/van/whatever makes them even more obtainable. That was always why the gun ban in Chicago was pretty fucking useless - you could always step over the city line and buy a gun.

Sure, it's more difficult for the poor and those without their own vehicle, but it's not impossible even then.

Yes, you will counter, Illinois imposes further requirements... but Indiana has much looser gun purchase laws than Illinois does, much less Chicago, and the eastern border of the city of Chicago is the western border of Indiana. Which is why my county has so damn many gun shops.
Still can't buy handguns across state lines. And rifles/shotguns still have to follow the legality of the purchaser's state of residence, so they have to check the FOID status of Illinois residents.

And once again, it's illegal to carry weapons onto mass transit in Chicago, so you have to Uber/Lyft/cab back from the gun store, and to/from the range, if you don't have a car.
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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by Zaune » 2020-05-30 06:17pm

Point of clarification: Does it still count as a firearm for the purpose of this law if it's disassembled into its major components? Because at minimum it's hard to argue that a gun in a carry-case with its barrel and trigger assembly detached from the upper receiver is a danger to anyone aboard a crowded bus or subway car.
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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by Jub » 2020-05-30 06:22pm

Zaune wrote:
2020-05-30 06:17pm
Point of clarification: Does it still count as a firearm for the purpose of this law if it's disassembled into its major components? Because at minimum it's hard to argue that a gun in a carry-case with its barrel and trigger assembly detached from the upper receiver is a danger to anyone aboard a crowded bus or subway car.
In the US law receiver itself counts as a firearm so long as it hasn't been deactivated. All other parts such as the upper assembly, barrel, etc. are just accessories regardless of how essential they are to the functioning of the firearm itself.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Receiver_(firearms)

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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by Broomstick » 2020-05-30 07:10pm

Beowulf wrote:
2020-05-30 05:25pm
Still can't buy handguns across state lines. And rifles/shotguns still have to follow the legality of the purchaser's state of residence, so they have to check the FOID status of Illinois residents.
And.... last I checked black people without a felony conviction can get FOID cards.
Beowulf wrote:
2020-05-30 05:25pm
And once again, it's illegal to carry weapons onto mass transit in Chicago, so you have to Uber/Lyft/cab back from the gun store, and to/from the range, if you don't have a car.
And what makes you think people don't carry firearms on mass transit? The odds of getting caught are low if it's something you can conceal. Do you know how many women I've known who carry a gun in their purse? I'm not condoning the practice, but it does happen.

Also, black people are allowed to own or rent cars in Chicago. Plenty of them do. Have a neighbor or friend drive you. These are not insurmountable obstacles even if they are obstacles.
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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by mr friendly guy » 2020-05-30 10:00pm

Don't you just need one person to buy the gun? Then that person can give the guns to the others who for one reason or another can't get to the gun store.
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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by TimothyC » 2020-05-30 10:42pm

mr friendly guy wrote:
2020-05-30 10:00pm
Don't you just need one person to buy the gun? Then that person can give the guns to the others who for one reason or another can't get to the gun store.
That's straw purchasing, which gets illegal, and is only viable via 'the gunshow loophole' as it is called.
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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by Zaune » 2020-05-30 10:49pm

mr friendly guy wrote:
2020-05-30 10:00pm
Don't you just need one person to buy the gun? Then that person can give the guns to the others who for one reason or another can't get to the gun store.
Every buyer has to present ID in person. Easier to just car-pool.
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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by Beowulf » 2020-05-31 11:15pm

Broomstick wrote:
2020-05-30 07:10pm
Beowulf wrote:
2020-05-30 05:25pm
Still can't buy handguns across state lines. And rifles/shotguns still have to follow the legality of the purchaser's state of residence, so they have to check the FOID status of Illinois residents.
And.... last I checked black people without a felony conviction can get FOID cards.
Beowulf wrote:
2020-05-30 05:25pm
And once again, it's illegal to carry weapons onto mass transit in Chicago, so you have to Uber/Lyft/cab back from the gun store, and to/from the range, if you don't have a car.
And what makes you think people don't carry firearms on mass transit? The odds of getting caught are low if it's something you can conceal. Do you know how many women I've known who carry a gun in their purse? I'm not condoning the practice, but it does happen.

Also, black people are allowed to own or rent cars in Chicago. Plenty of them do. Have a neighbor or friend drive you. These are not insurmountable obstacles even if they are obstacles.
You're responding to an argument that neither me nor Shep is making. We're not saying it's impossible for a poor black resident of Chicago to buy a gun. We're saying there's a bunch of barriers put up to keep them from doing so. Sure, they can head to the suburbs, but they can't legally take mass transit back from the store. They probably can't go over into Indiana to buy a gun, because long guns are hard to conceal, and that's all they can buy in Indiana, even if they have a FOID. Or they can get a Uber or Lyft or rent a car, but this adds to the cost. Which, if they're poor, may make it more expensive than they could afford.

It's not that it's impossible. It's that the structural racism of the metropolises listed make it difficult for poor people in those cities to buy guns.
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Col. Crackpot
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Re: Op-ed: Black People Must Embrace the Second Amendment

Post by Col. Crackpot » 2020-06-18 01:22pm

Beowulf wrote:
2020-05-31 11:15pm
Broomstick wrote:
2020-05-30 07:10pm
Beowulf wrote:
2020-05-30 05:25pm
Still can't buy handguns across state lines. And rifles/shotguns still have to follow the legality of the purchaser's state of residence, so they have to check the FOID status of Illinois residents.
And.... last I checked black people without a felony conviction can get FOID cards.
Beowulf wrote:
2020-05-30 05:25pm
And once again, it's illegal to carry weapons onto mass transit in Chicago, so you have to Uber/Lyft/cab back from the gun store, and to/from the range, if you don't have a car.
And what makes you think people don't carry firearms on mass transit? The odds of getting caught are low if it's something you can conceal. Do you know how many women I've known who carry a gun in their purse? I'm not condoning the practice, but it does happen.

Also, black people are allowed to own or rent cars in Chicago. Plenty of them do. Have a neighbor or friend drive you. These are not insurmountable obstacles even if they are obstacles.
You're responding to an argument that neither me nor Shep is making. We're not saying it's impossible for a poor black resident of Chicago to buy a gun. We're saying there's a bunch of barriers put up to keep them from doing so. Sure, they can head to the suburbs, but they can't legally take mass transit back from the store. They probably can't go over into Indiana to buy a gun, because long guns are hard to conceal, and that's all they can buy in Indiana, even if they have a FOID. Or they can get a Uber or Lyft or rent a car, but this adds to the cost. Which, if they're poor, may make it more expensive than they could afford.

It's not that it's impossible. It's that the structural racism of the metropolises listed make it difficult for poor people in those cities to buy guns.
One could argue (successfully in my opinion) that those barriers clearly constitute discrimination by disparate impact effectively denying a constitutional right to a protected class.
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