LA Times columnist asks if California is 'ready' for more legal black gun owners post-SCOTUS ruling

The author implied the NRA and GOP politicians are racist

Updated: June 27, 2022 - 11:06pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A Los Angeles Times opinion column on Monday asked whether California is "ready for more Black people to legally carry guns in public" after last week's Supreme Court decision striking down New York concealed carry restrictions.

Columnist Erika Smith interviewed the Bay Area Black Gun Owners Association chapter leader Nathan Jones. 

While Jones said he wants law-abiding citizens to be able to defend themselves, Smith said he also told her that "the idea of armed Black people could inspire 'fear and hatred.'"

Jones told her that when his organization goes to the gun range, "[t]here’s no overt racism...but we know how people are looking at us."

If state officials are unable to fight the Supreme Court ruling, Smith said: "California could be forced to confront a reality that has long made many self-proclaimed liberals uncomfortable: Black people — potentially a lot of us — legally carrying guns in public."

Smith alluded to the National Rifle Association being racist after explaining how the gun-rights group supported the Mulford Act banning the open carry of loaded weapons without a permit after a 1967 Black Panther Protest in the state Capitol.

"Of course, these days, the NRA is very much against gun control, although its stance on Black people doesn’t seem to have changed very much," she wrote. 

She also interviewed the head of a black gun club in Los Angeles, Emmanuel Choice. 

"Most who join say they bought a gun for self-defense, Choice and Jones agree. Many reach out after getting — forgive the phrase — triggered by high-profile racist incidents," she wrote, citing the Buffalo supermarket shooting in which 10 people died.

She also implied that Republican legislators were racist and would impose more gun restrictions if black people began carrying weapons.

"That meme that has been floating around social media for a few weeks — the one that half-jokingly suggests that Republican politicians could be prompted to support gun control if more Black people were to start packing heat?" Smith said.

She did, however, give credit to Supreme Court Justice Justice Clarence Thomas for his opinion in the Supreme Court firearms case.

The conservative black justice wrote about "about how the right to bear arms was crucial for the self-protection of Black people in the South during Reconstruction," she noted.

Many black people view carrying even legal weapons as dangerous, Smith explained. 

"Besides, most Black people just want to come home safe every night and will avoid taking risks that could result in injury or death," she wrote in the column.

However, L.A. gun club leader Choice believes more black people will began carrying firearms in public. 

"In our polarized political environment, that’s a dangerous scenario that seems increasingly likely. Just as likely as some Black people wrongly getting shot by police while legally carrying a firearm. When society is armed to the teeth, bad things are bound to happen," Smith responded. 

Conservatives responded to the article with shock. 

"HOLY COW THIS HEADLINE FROM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES..." tweeted Sen. Ted Cruz's communications advisor Steve Guest.

John Pierce, the attorney representing numerous Jan. 6 riot defendants, said, "This column cannot be real. The answer is yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. Every single law-abiding American should Constitutional carry and the crime rate in the country would be essentially zero."