The president of the Georgia chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference said Tuesday nonviolence is not working and African-Americans should “avail themselves” to their Second Amendment rights.
Rev. Sam Mosteller made the statements during a press conference Tuesday in Atlanta. He and members of SCLC, which was co-founded by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957, were protesting the recent shootings of two young black men in the state.
“You know, the SCLC stands for nonviolence, but nonviolence hasn’t worked in this instance,” Mosteller said, according to My Fox Atlanta.
“Let me just say it this way, I am going to have to advocate at this point that all African-Americans advocate their Second Amendment right,” he added.
Earlier this month, a white DeKalb County police officer shot a 27-year-old naked black man, Anthony Hill, at his apartment complex. Hill reportedly suffered from mental illness and allegedly charged the officer who shot him.
And last week, a white Cobb County police officer shot 23-year-old Nicholas Thomas at a tire store. The officer said Thomas tried to hit him with his car.
Because of these cases and the recent police-involved deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, both black, Mosteller said, “I am going to ask that every family avail themselves of their Second Amendment rights, which is their full amendment rights because we’re tired now.”
Mosteller, an Army veteran, has been president of Georgia’s SCLC since 2006, according to his LinkedIn page. He is also an assistant pastor at Good Shepherd Community Church in Atlanta.
“We’re going to have to do something in our community to let the rest of America know that we are not going to be victimized by just anybody whether it be police or folks that decide that black people are thugs and we need to control that black community.”
When asked to explain what appeared to be a call to arms, Mosteller backed off, saying that he was not advocating for members of the black community to start carrying guns en masse.
When a reporter asked if his advocacy for the Second Amendment was at odds with SCLC’s attitude towards nonviolence, Mosteller said, “Listen, listen I didn’t say that.”
“I said the Second Amendment right? I didn’t say pack weapons, I did not say that.”
“Do you have to carry a weapon to avail yourself of the Second Amendment?” he asked. “The answer is no, you don’t have to.”