Ida B. Wells On Gun Ownership

Occasionally, I see pro-gun folks share a truncated version of an Ida B. Wells quote. The full quote is interesting, but something I doubt the current incarnation of the National Rifle Association will be heralding anytime soon.

Of the many inhuman outrages of this present year, the only case where the proposed lynching did not occur, was where the men armed themselves in Jacksonville, Fla., and Paducah, Ky, and prevented it. The only times an Afro-American who was assaulted got away has been when he had a gun and used it in self-defense.

The lesson this teaches and which every Afro-American should ponder well, is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give. When the white man who is always the aggressor knows he runs as great risk of biting the dust every time his Afro-American victim does, he will have greater respect for Afro-American life. The more the Afro-American yields and cringes and begs, the more he has to do so, the more he is insulted, outraged and lynched.

-Ida B. Wells, Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases, 1892

5 thoughts on “Ida B. Wells On Gun Ownership”

  1. Why do you say “The full quote is interesting, but something I doubt the current incarnation of the National Rifle Association will be heralding anytime soon.”? The full quote is more in line with the mission of the NRA than anything else. The shortened quote just sounds like an advertisement for Winchester.

  2. You are gravely mistaken the NRA does cite this often. It speaks to the NRA’s long history of helping people of color and other vulnerable minoritees to be armed so that they can defend themselves. In recent history it was the NRA and the Second Amendment foundation that came to aid Mr. Otis McDonald a black man in asserting his right to bear arms in self-defense was individual rights. It was the NRA and firearms trainers Nationwide who came to the aid of the gay community providing them with free firearms training following the Orlando mass murder of unarmed members of the gay community. NRA members Nationwide volunteered their services in any capacity they could provide from offering free training, free ammunition, picking up the brass, cleaning up after classes. In Texas NRA members stood out in the blazing Texas heat to provide free armed security to the gay community at gun ranges.

    What did the anti civil rights gun-control fanatics do? Except do all they could to see that gays and minorities would not have the means to defend themselves? Gun Controls foundation is built on racism. It first came into existence to prevent people of color from having guns.

  3. For what reason would the writer believe that the NRA wouldn’t want the entire quote to see the light of day?
    Might that reason be that writer sees the NRA as nothing more than a bunch of stereotypical middle aged white male racists?
    …Seems to me that the writer’s only information souces on the NRA are the usual anti-gun websites, and this article is nothing more than reverse racial profiling.

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