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A number of African-American leaders joined together Friday to challenge the gun control proposals currently being considered on Capitol Hill, claiming gun control laws are inherently racist.

“There’s a direct correlation between gun control and black people control,” Stacy Swimp, president and CFO of the Frederick Douglass Society, said at the press conference sponsored by the Center for Urban Renewal and Education(CURE).

Swimp compared the call for universal background checks for gun purchase to the time when blacks were required to register with the government.

“The first gun laws were put into place to register black folks, to make sure that they would know who we were – that we could not defend ourselves,” Swimp said.

“I think if you look right after the Emancipation Proclamation – what was going on down in the southern states, it’s very clear that the Dixiecrats wanted to disarm black people to keep us from defending ourselves against the Klansman, who were murdering white and black Republicans to control the ballot box,” Swimp said.

Niger Innis, President of CORE, Congress for Racial Equality, one of the oldest civil rights organizations in the country, agreed that “gun control has ultimately been about people control.”

“It sprouts from racist soil,” Innis said. “Democratic controlled segregationist governments after the civil war attempted to deny black men and women their freedom, they instituted black codes, largely to deny the second amendment from newly freed slaves.”

Speakers of the event praised the National Rifle association, explaining the organizations contribution to Civil Rights.

“The National Rifle Association was founded by religious leaders who wanted to protect freed slaves from the Ku Klux Klan” said Harry Alford, the president of the Black Chamber of Commerce. “They would raise money, buy arms, show the free slaves how to use those arms and protect their families. Many of us probably wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for the NRA."

“The NRA was established not only by religious leaders but by former union soldiers that were disturbed that southerners could shoot straighter and better than northerners in the union army,” added Parker,president of CURE.

The gun control laws that banned or put restrictions on African Americans from owning firearms in the United States are documented on a timeline from 1640 to 1995 by the National Rifle Association’s Institute of Legislative Action.

All the attention being directed towards gun control is the Obama administration’s strategy to deflect the public’s attention off of the staggering economy, said Alford.

“What's going on is a mind game, this is a diversion to keep you off the thought of the poor economy, which generates crime,” he said. “This is about crime and trying to divert your attention away from it because they can't create jobs. Public officials can put more cops on the beat, have tougher sentencing laws but there are limits how much is can do. A bad labor market has a profound impact on the crime rates.”

“It seems often to be the democrats that want to take away the second amendment from American citizens,” said Parker. “Actually it is the democrat, the same party that enslaved and also instituted most of the Jim Crow laws we saw, where part of it, as you just heard, was to take away the right to bear arms.”

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Alicia Powe

Alicia Powe is a Townhall intern, and has previously worked for the Media Research Center and the Rudy Giuliani campaign.