Gun control legislation will change in the U.S. “once Black people get guns,” The View co-host Joy Behar said on Wednesday’s episode of the show.
Behar was responding directly to an anecdote told by guest host Lindsey Granger regarding a Black man in Connecticut who she said had built his own AR-15 assault-style rifle because the law in the state does not allow him to buy this sort of weapon. She claimed it was “odd” that the man was Black, adding that “most AR-15 owners are former military, 35-plus and married.”
Behar then jumped in, interrupting Granger. “Here’s the thing: once Black people get guns in this country, the gun laws will change. Trust me,” Behar said.
Co-host Sunny Hostin supported her statement. “That’s what happened with the Black Panthers,” Hostin said. “Know your history.”
Hostin was likely referring to the facts of 1967, when a state bill prohibiting the open carry of loaded firearms without a permit, the Mulford Act, was passed in California in what many saw as an attempt to curb the power of activist group the Black Panthers, who at the time often performed armed patrols.
The most recent data provided by the National Firearms Survey published in July 2021 show that demographically gun ownership is pretty diverse, with 25.4 percent of firearms owned by Black people, 28.3 percent owned by Hispanics, 19.4 percent owned by Asians and the majority, 34.3 percent, owned by White people.
Another survey from the same year by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) investigating gun ownership in the country found that at least 5.4 million people purchased a firearm for the first time in 2021.
Some 44 percent of retailers said they saw an increase in Black people purchasing firearms in that year, adding up to what the NSSF said was already a 58 percent increase in gun ownership among Black Americans from 2019 to 2020.
The main reason why people bought a gun for the first time in 2020 and 2021 was found to be, by both the National Firearms Survey and the NSSF, self-defense. Reports found that there was a correlation between the surge in gun ownership among Black people and anti-Black violent incidents, including the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
The latest data available from the FBI‘s Crime Data Explorer show that anti-Black crimes were the most common among hate crimes compared to anti-white, anti-Jewish, anti-gay and anti-Latino ones, with 2,871 anti-Black hate crimes in the entire year.
On the other hand, Black Democrats were found to be more likely than White and Hispanic Democrats to say gun violence is a big problem in America. Some 82 percent of Black adults said gun violence was a very big problem responding to a survey by the Pew Research Institute.
By comparison, 58 percent of Hispanic adults and 39 percent of White adults view gun violence the same way.