Gun Laws & Legislation

Colion Noir: Martin Luther King Jr. and the realities of self-defense

By Colion Noir, NRA News Commentator

As we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., if he were to spend this day looking over America and assessing how much of his dream has come to fruition, I can’t help but think he wouldn’t be completely satisfied, but he would be pleased with much of the progress we’ve made as a nation.

I believe he would look at our current president and smile, not because of his politics, but because of what his presence in the White House represents.

Those that did everything in their power to make sure his dream never came to reality are probably rolling in their graves right now.

We have a current president who 50 years ago would be arrested or even beaten for drinking from the wrong water fountain. And notwithstanding some of President Obama’s policies on gun control, that’s a hell of a lot of progress if you ask me.

I went to a law school that was established simply to prevent the de-segregation of a longtime segregated law school. Now, that same law school is filled with not so little black, white, brown and every other race on the planet boys and girls trying to keep their sanity as they try to figure out what the hell the Erie Doctrine actually means.

I believe Dr. King would look at me with a bit of confusion as he happily struggled with envy, that I, a young black male, living in the heart of the South, whose house was never fire bombed, and has never received death threats, was granted a concealed handgun license. Yet he, who had encountered all of these things, was denied. Because let’s not forget, the first forms of gun control were created to keep people like me from having guns.

Growing up I studied Dr. King’s teachings, and the non-violent resistance he embraced. I learned there was nothing passive about a group of civil rights activists marching down the streets of Alabama in 1965.

Dr. King was a non-violent man, but even he understood the realities of self-defense and protecting his home and his family in the face of life-threatening violence. This is why he tried to apply for that gun permit when his house where his wife and daughter lived was fire bombed. When Dr. King was denied, he did the next best thing and surrounded himself with people with guns, which was evidenced by one of Dr. King’s advisers describing his home as an arsenal.

Personally, I’m a believer in Dr. King’s methods of addressing social injustices, which is why I don’t think to ever go to my gun simply because someone cut me off in traffic or called me out of my name. But in my heart based on Dr. King’s own actions, I don’t believe that Dr. King would ever advocate leaving a family, or anyone for that matter, defenseless in the face of violent life threatening danger.

Racism and bigotry have not been eradicated in this country, but I believe we as a nation will continue to push forward and eradicate them with each passing of another Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.