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Exclusive: Adam Ruins Everything on What Happens When We Leave Black People out of the Gun Control Debate

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The need for gun control has been pretty apparent for years now, and there are a multiple of ways in which advocates approach the argument: domestic terrorism, gender violence, accidental deaths, etc. However, understanding the ways in which gun legislation has been used against people of color is absolutely essential to this discussion—and it’s not talked about enough.

In a new Adam Ruins Everything episode on gun control, which premiers tomorrow on November 27th, host Adam Conover will talk about the myths surrounding the debate and encourage viewers to think more critically about the issue. In an exclusive clip, the host focuses on how “gun control conversations in America are always centered around what makes white people feel safe.”

How so? Conover begins in the early years of United States, when colonies and states had laws against Native Americans and free black people from buying or owning guns. He also brings up the treatment of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s, when members legally carried guns to protect themselves—only for the state to repeal the law that allowed open carry with the Mulford Act.

The episode points out the hypocrisy and blatant racism of this through the pro-gun character, who notes that the Black Panthers were doing exactly what pro-gun folks are always talking about. “Defending yourself against a tyrannical government,” he proclaims, “I’m all about that.” NRA member Ronald Regan wasn’t, though, “for, uh … reasons.” (The reason is racism.)

Afterward, Eva takes over to talk about how gun control laws today are used to criminalize and control black people by pointing to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms performing 10 years of stings to combat gun crime in the mid-2000s: 91% of people arrested were people of color.

Eva also brings up NYC’s stop-and-frisk policy, which stopped 4.4 million people, of which only 1.5% had weapons. These are concrete examples we have about what happens when we leave black people out of the gun control conversation and prioritize, as the show says, “what makes white people feel safe,” rather than what will actually make all of us safer. As we try to move forward with gun control and reform, we cannot ignore how gun legislation has been used to further systemic racism.

The episode is a dive into tons of other topics relating to gun control. In another clip, Adam talks about the history of the NRA. This segment describes the NRA’s prominent shift during the 1960s and 1970s, which eventually led to the intervention that drastically transformed the general perception and application of the 2nd Amendment.

You can watch Adam Ruins Everything on air, on, or by downloading the free truTV app.

(image: screencap)

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