After the Civil War, Union General William T. Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15, which confiscated 400,000 acres of Confederate land from Charleston, South Carolina all the way to the St. John's River in Florida. According to Sherman's order, every newly-freed African American family was to receive 40 acres and later down the line, a mule.
Former NFL Raiders' safety Burgess Owens' grandfather was one of those people who received 40 acres and a mule after being freed from slavery. And of the things Owens' family learned early on is that anyone who moves to disarm others wants to be in control.
"Those who want to steal and cause damage first take away a person's right to protect themselves," Owens told Townhall in an exclusive interview.
In fact, it was the National Rifle Association (NRA) that taught blacks the basics of gun safety and how to accurately shoot a firearm.
"I grew up in Tallahassee, Florida in the 1960s. My dad was very active with the NRA," he explained. "He worked with the NRA to teach blacks how to shoot, how to handle a firearm safely and to teach others those principles."
“The NRA was part of making sure blacks were equipped with protecting ourselves when need be," Owens said.
According to the former NFL player, the Second Amendment helps protect every other right granted to us by God and protected in the Constitution.
“When you're taught to protect yourself – you have the right to protect yourself. You have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Owens explained.
"As a young man, my duty is to protect myself and those around me. For my dad, who just came back from war, they learned how to protect their country. They put their lives on the line and so that could be done," he said. "I grew up with respect for firearms and with an appreciation for what they do – like the ability to hunt and how to use it and in case evil showed up at my doorstep. The worst thing that could happen to any man is evil showing up at the door and being on his knees begging for their lives and those of he loves."
Those who just came back from war were prepared to "fight, defend and protect what’s important to them, specifically they wanted to protect life, property and their pursuit of happiness."
It's that love of country and the desire to protect our founding principles that told Burgess Owens he needed to run for Congress in Utah's 4th Congressional District. Former Rep. Mia Love (R) lost the seat to Democrat Ben McAdams.
According to Owens, it's time for the seat to go back to Republicans so President Donald Trump has support in the House.
"This is a valuable district. We have to win the House and take back our country to fight back against socialism," the former NFL player said.
Owens believes the principles of conservatism are best described by Booker T. Washington, who talked about head, hands, heart and home being the central values to the black community.
Head is symbolic for education. Heart means putting God first. Hand means having a free-market industry. And home means family.
"All of these make our country great. It doesn't matter how poor or rich we are. If you live these four tenants you're introduced to the middle class," he explained.
Should Owens be chosen to represent Utah's 4th Congressional District, he has three legislative priorities:
1. Freedom to worship God.
"Once we worship and understand God, what comes immediately after that is respect for womanhood, respect for country and love of family," he explained.
2. Ending abortion.
"The abortion industry is taking the heart and soul of our country," Owens said. "We have women thinking that killing their own babies has no consequence. At the same time, we’ve found that men have no desire to speak up about the killing of their kids."
"A free country means being able to think, which means debate and dialogue," he explained. "The left loves to keep young people ignorant. They love to take away their ability to think, to have critical thinking skills. They teach kids how to be emotional as a means of controlling them."
"We need to teach American History about what We the People have done together. Don't allow the left to put narratives that aren’t true in place that make people ashamed to be American," Owens said. "God as source allows us to have differences but to come together and work things out."
Owens said he never had a desire to run for office but feels as though he has no choice.
“I said I would never do it. I realized if I don’t, I’m not part of the solution, I have nothing to complain about," he admitted. "We're at a point where we need desperately for our country to sprint away from socialism. We need to support the president and take back the House.”
To learn more about Burgess Owens and his policy platforms, please visit his website www.burgess4utah.com.