We’ll See More Gun Violence and Incarceration in Wake of Court Decision

The US Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen will inevitably lead, we believe, to more of us being killed, and traumatized from gun violence and here's why

Photo by Maxim Potkin for Unsplash
Photo by Maxim Potkin for Unsplash

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen drastically restricts the rights of states to regulate the possession of guns. It will inevitably lead to more of us being killed, and traumatized from gun violence. Its impact will hit really hard on Black people who die from shootings at nearly three times the rate than anyone else. Gun violence is the leading cause of death for young Black men and this decision effects our community much more.

Because of how and how often gun violence inflicts on Black communities, it is surprising that some Black public defenders support the Court’s decision, arguing that there has been racial discrimination in the enforcement of the New York State’s gun possession law, and therefore it contributes to the mass incarceration of Black people. While we know that mass incarceration is an American shame, the public defenders’ position is misguided. Not only will the Court’s ruling lead to more Black deaths, it may lead to more Black people going to jail, making it a lose-lose for us.

Photo Courtesy of Karsten Winegear for Unsplash

In the United States, the more people with access to guns, the more gun violence and deaths increases, generally. The Court’s decision could lead to more than a hundred thousand more people carrying guns in New York City alone. While there are many responsible gun owners who are level-headed, many with access to a gun are not and simply do not give respect a deadly weapon deserves. We’ve seen the news feed full of parents who do not safely store their weapons away from children, then those kids end up killing others or themselves. Here in the midwest, many gun owners shoot at other drivers over road rage. FBI data suggests that more than a fifth of firearm homicides stem from over heated arguments. Also, access to a firearm in the home has been shown to increase the risk of a homicide incident.

When Americans are afraid, they tend to support the laws and policies that lead to the mass incarceration of Black people, and the current climate only suggests that fear will only amplify. The former New York public defender, James Foreman Jr., documented this fear of Black Americans in his book, “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America.” Scholars estimate that a state would need to double its prison population to counteract this increase in gun violence. Thus, the Black public defenders may have supported a position that could lead not only to more Black people killed, injured, and traumatized from gun violence, but also to more Black people incarcerated over said gun violence.

A Better Option

A better option for Black America is strong gun safety laws in addition to fair and good policing. Most countries in the world, including Africa, have fewer firearm homicides than the United States because of their strong gun policies. American policing needs to be reformed so that the police show more respect for Black lives and so that there are better relations between the police and Black neighborhoods. Detroit can serve as an example. In recent months, Detroit police have improved relations with their community showing seen a significant lower violent crime rate. Detroit is not perfect, but it shows us that it is possible for conditions to improve within city polities, rather than the gun lawlessness promoted by the extremists on the Supreme Court.


We as Black Americans must insist on gun safety laws and an end to mass incarceration.

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