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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
The Observer

Gun laws are not racist

In his recent New York Times opinion piece, Professor Gary Gutting of the Notre Dame philosophy department made the claim that not having stricter gun control laws in this country is racist. He based his claim on the fact that African-Americans are the victims of gun violence at a disproportionately high rate compared to white Americans. He wrote he was “not concerned about refuting the arguments of the gun lobby” (as he refers to supporters of the second amendment) and that we are turning our backs on African-Americans by allowing gun violence to continue.

Had I written such an essay as a student in a philosophy class when I was at Notre Dame, I would likely have received an “F” for making such a broad accusation based on little substantiation and for not addressing valid contradicting arguments.

African-Americans being the victims of gun violence at a higher rate than whites does not mean gun control laws as we have them now are racist. Dr. Gutting throws out that term to forward his anti-gun agenda. There are far more reasons why violent crime affects African-American communities disproportionately. Some of these include markedly higher unemployment, nearly 75 percent of births out of wedlock leading to single parent homes, a public educational system that caters more to the teachers unions than to the education of the children and a welfare state that perpetuates the cycle of poverty rather than breaking it.

If our society is truly interested in helping people of color who are suffering in violent areas of the inner cities rather than calling others racist, we will focus on truly ending poverty by fostering free market capitalism to lower unemployment, promoting the family as a proven anti-poverty unit, giving families choice in the schools their children will attend and reducing government dependency, which diminishes the dignity of the individual.

Stephen O’Neil M.D. class of 1987 Indianapolis Jan. 7

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.