Connecticut’s draconian gun laws haven’t made a dent in Hartford’s homicide rate, and now a group of community activists say they’re ready to take to the streets and conduct armed patrols in some of the city’s most violent neighborhoods; a move greeted with scorn and opposition from anti-gun activists and the city’s mayor.
There’ve been 28 homicides in Connecticut’s capitol city so far this year, roughly the same number of murders that the city saw at this point in 2022. While lawmakers like Gov. Ned Lamont have made it their priority to go after lawful gun owners instead of focusing on violent crime, community activist Cornell Lewis has another idea: lawfully-armed citizens patrolling and protecting neighborhoods most affected by the violence.
“We know what to do with our guns, when to do it and we know how to diffuse situations,” he said. “The thing we’re not going to allow is people to oppress the community.”
Lewis created the Self Defense Brigade, a group dedicated to protecting the community by using “appropriate means.” Over the past three years, the group has acted as security at Black Lives Matter protests, funerals and other community events.
“It is better to defend ourselves,” Lewis said. “We have the right to. The Second Amendment says we can carry weapons, and we carry our weapons legally.”
The Self Defense Brigade and other gun-rights groups are planning to be at a rally on Sept. 2 to talk about this idea and to gauge interest. Lewis said a number of Hartford residents and people in other towns have expressed an interest in being involved.
As you can imagine, Lewis’s idea has been met with suspicion and opposition from the likes of Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, gun control activists, and (according to Lewis) even the local NAACP.
The NAACP in Connecticut is an instrument of the white power structure. Whenever the power brokers need something to quell the masses ire, the NAACP is trotted out with leader Scott X.( circus dancing bear) Esdaile leading the charge. A case in point. When community members in 2 hours last week set up a rally for addressing gun violence, and a legal armed patrol system in neighborhood, the power structure became afraid. Their fear came from not having control over the September2nd event. Ergo the power brokers called out the NAACP to help return the masses to depend on God, the police and so-called leaders. Today at 10am NAACP held a rally at Unity Plaza, the same place community planned their event. The power brokers want to return the people to a state of not implementing self-protection.
CT Against Gun Violence executive director Jeremy Stein predicts that if the Self Defense Brigade’s armed neighborhood marches do take place, it’s “going to create a powder keg of gun violence,” but it sounds like Hartford’s violence criminals have already tapped that particular keg. If Lewis and his fellow activists have been engaged in standing guard over things like Black Lives Matter protests and local funerals without issue for the past few years, I don’t know why Stein would feel the need to besmirch their character unless it’s the fact that they’re carrying guns while they do so. For Stein and his fellow prohibitionists, there’s no such thing as a “good guy with a gun”, because owning and carrying a firearm for self-defense or community safety is always a bad idea.
I don’t know what kind of impact Lewis’ armed neighborhood watch would have on violent crime in Hartford, but I highly doubt it would make things worse than they already are. I’m curious to get more details on Lewis’s idea, however, and I’ve extended an invitation to join me on a future Cam & Co ahead of his September 2nd meeting. Hopefully we’ll be able to discuss his proposal in depth in the coming days, but regardless we’ll keep a close eye on that meeting and what happens afterwards.