West Memphis NAACP wants black families to arm themselves

West Memphis NAACP Wants Black Families to Arm Themselves
Published: Apr. 17, 2015 at 12:28 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 17, 2015 at 12:16 PM CDT
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WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC) - Although a call to arms in West Memphis sounds frightening, the NAACP wants to educate people about their constitutional rights.

Leaders claim they can increase gun ownership without increasing crime.

“Law enforcement has to understand, you cannot do what you please when you see us,” Crittenden County NAACP head, Shabaka Afrika said in a news conference. He feels black families should exercise their Second Amendment rights and arm themselves.

However, he wants that to happen in a responsible, educated way.

Hubert Bass, founder of the Crittenden County Justice Commission, joined Afrika in asking black people in Crittenden County to get educated and join a gun club.

Bass said, "We're going to study law. What our rights are. We also want to be looking at our constitutional rights in carrying weapons."

Bass wants officers and civilians to be ready to record. "All police encounters need to be recorded. It's unfortunate, it has to be that way. But it has to be that way."

Afrika added, "Let's be clear, we are not against law enforcement. We need law enforcement. But it has to be accountable."

Afrika and Bass called the news conference in response  to the many shootings of black men by white police officers across the nation.

West Memphis Police Chief, Donald Oakes, said he supports people's rights to legally carry guns. He says West Memphis police have been trained to allow citizens to record what they want as long as they are a safe distance away.

Oakes added that West Memphis police cars also have cameras in them.

Still, residents feel that encouraging more people to own guns could be dangerous for the city.

West Memphis resident Lorenzo Boyce said, "Us as black people should know more about our rights but you got a lot of people with guns who shouldn't have guns."

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