• Mementos Reveal Civil Rights Icon’s Exposure to Armed Self-Defense

    February 9, 2015

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    On Wednesday, the Library of Congress made the Rosa Parks Collection available to researchers. The compilation includes 2,500 photos and 7,500 manuscripts pertaining to the civil rights icon. Among these documents is a short autobiographical piece highlighting some of Parks’ early experiences with armed self-defense.

    A February 3 Washington Post article details the “biographical sketch.” According to the Post, Parks explains how her grandfather used a shotgun to protect the family home in Pine Level, Ala., from potential attack by the Ku Klux Klan. One excerpt states that her grandfather “would stay up to wait for [the Klansmen] to come to our house… He kept his shotgun within hand reach at all times.” Another portion notes that Parks’ grandfather “declared that the first to invade our home would surely die.”

    Stories like Parks’, where firearms were used to protect against racially motivated violence before and during the Civil Rights Era, are common. At a time when law enforcement officials were sometimes indifferent to acts of violence perpetrated against African-Americans (or in some cases even complicit in them), those seeking any protection at all had few other options.

    History could certainly have been altered in dramatic fashion had the Parks home been left undefended against the depredations of the Klan. Thankfully, Parks’ family had access to an effective means of self-defense, even as they strove to obtain other basic human rights.

    Examples abound of the beneficial role arms have played in the struggle for civil rights in the U.S. Local NAACP leader Rob Williams, author of Negroes with Guns, notably chartered a National Rifle Association affiliated club in order to train and arm members of his Monroe, N.C., community to combat the Klan. Chapters of the heavily armed Deacons for Defense and Justice formed throughout the Deep South to protect their communities from racial violence. According to UCLA Professor Adam Winkler, Martin Luther King Jr.unsuccessfully applied for concealed carry permit in Alabama after his home was bombed, and lived surrounded by what was described as “an arsenal.” In his book, Restricting Handguns: The Liberal Skeptics Speak Out, Don B. Kates Jr. recalls his time spent as a civil rights worker in the early 1960s South, stating, “The black lawyer for whom I principally worked did not carry a gun all the time, but he attributed the relative quiescence of the Klan to the fact that the black community was so heavily armed.”

    The story of armed self-defense revealed in the Rosa Parks Collection is a welcome and important addition to the already well-established history of the use of arms to deter and defend against racially-motivated violence.

    Courtesy: NRA ILA

     


    Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, 2nd Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance 2nd Amendment rights in Iowa. An affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the IFC actively seeks to foster and promote the shooting sports. Sign up for our email list for the latest on 2nd Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.

  • Message from the IFC Board — Effectively Communicating with Your Legislators

    January 23, 2015

    The following message was written by John Reed, Chairman of the Iowa Firearms Coalition’s Board of Directors. Reed is also one of our main lobbyists. He works extremely closely with our legislators on an almost daily basis, and provides valuable insight in how IFC members can maximize their effectiveness.


    Reed

    John Reed – IFC Board Chairman

    It occurs to me that some of you may not know how you can help to communicate with your legislators in a manner that will synchronize your message with ours. Of course, feel free to communicate anyway that you want, but if you want to be helping us in our efforts in a generic sort of way, here’s what you can do.

    Stress these two themes in all your communications, doing this will put an exclamation point on what the IFC lobbyists are saying on the hill.

    1) ALWAYS state clearly that you support and want them to support a Right to Keep and Bear Arms amendment to the Iowa Constitution and that you won’t settle for the federal wording. You want the enhanced language that National Rifle Association and Iowa Firearms Coalition has presented.

    It may happen that a bill would get introduced that would mimic the federal language. We’ve been told that such a bill would get strong support from nearly everyone in both chambers. However, that bill, should it come out, would NOT be anything IFC would support. Amending the Constitution is a long, arduous fight so it’s not done very much. Therefore, If we’re going to work to get an amendment through, that amendment MUST be the best we can get for future generations of Iowans.

    I think we can all agree that the federal language, while clear to us, has been problematic in this age, and is yet not properly applied to We the People’s rights. Therefore, the language we will be putting up (very soon) will be an amplified version wherein the meaning of the language is clarified.

    Example: Would you believe that there are some (perhaps many) who don’t understand that the word “bear” means “carry”? I personally find that absurd, but it’s there nonetheless. So, it’s imperative that the word “carry” be inserted into any amendment we put forth. In addition, our language would include the legal phrase, “strict scrutiny,” a phrase I’ll not explain here because you can easily look it up. But that phrase MUST be included in order that the high courts not easily erode the protection we intend the new amendment to afford our kids and grand kids.

    2) ALWAYS state clearly that their support of the Second Amendment will always benefit them and never harm them with the public. The 2nd Amendment is a winner for politicians – always has been and always will be. In fact, support for the 2nd Amendment is growing with the public as recent polls clearly point out.

    Some legislators seem to understand this to the extent that they know their district and how it feels about our firearms rights. But, even they become concerned when they think of other districts. Rare indeed is a district where a legislator would be punished for voting for any good firearms rights bills. You see, that’s what this is — it’s a civil, common law RIGHT. Firearms aren’t ‘social’ bills and we certainly don’t ask for money. This is about our CIVIL RIGHTS! Legislators who support civil rights win. Therefore, when they support firearms bills, they win! Help them understand that.

    Unless we are calling for you to support a specific action or issue, use the above as a guide to include with your communications to your legislators. Doing this would be helping us a great deal.

    Thank you for your efforts!

    John Reed
    Chair – Board of Directors
    Iowa Firearms Coalition

    Use the Iowa Firearms Coalition’s Legislative Action Center to find your legislators, send them a pro-Second Amendment email, and sign up for our newsletter.


    Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, 2nd Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance 2nd Amendment rights in Iowa. An affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the IFC actively seeks to foster and promote the shooting sports. Sign up for our email list for the latest on 2nd Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.

  • NRA’s Colion Noir on MLK, Civil Rights, & Gun Owner’s Rights

    January 19, 2015

     

    Colion Noir examines cultural progress and civil rights in the time since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    Tune in to http://www.NRANews.com/Commentators for more episodes.


    Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, 2nd Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance 2nd Amendment rights in Iowa. An affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the IFC actively seeks to foster and promote the shooting sports. Sign up for our email list for the latest on 2nd Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.