Updated: May 20
MDA sent out this tweet the other day:
I don’t think MLK would appreciate them using him to push their partisan one-sided disarmament agenda. A little proof (a lefty source, btw):
Most people think King would be the last person to own a gun. Yet in the mid-1950s, as the civil rights movement heated up, King kept firearms for self-protection. In fact, he even applied for a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
A recipient of constant death threats, King had armed supporters take turns guarding his home and family. He had good reason to fear that the Klan in Alabama was targeting him for assassination.
William Worthy, a journalist who covered the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, reported that once, during a visit to King’s parsonage, he went to sit down on an armchair in the living room and, to his surprise, almost sat on a loaded gun. Glenn Smiley, an adviser to King, described King’s home as “an arsenal.”
As I found researching my new book, Gunfight, in 1956, after King’s house was bombed, King applied for a concealed carry permit in Alabama. The local police had discretion to determine who was a suitable person to carry firearms. King, a clergyman whose life was threatened daily, surely met the requirements of the law, but he was rejected nevertheless. At the time, the police used any wiggle room in the law to discriminate against African Americans.
Eventually, King gave up any hope of armed self-defense and embraced nonviolence more completely.
One lesson the gun advocates took was from the early King and his more aggressive followers: If the police can’t (or won’t) to protect you, a gun may be your last line of defense.
I wonder if MDA will try and use Malcom X in a tweet sometime soon as well?