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Alveda King: More Gun Control Not the Answer


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WASHINGTON -- Not every civil rights activist comes in the mold of the left-leaning Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson Jr. One of the more nuanced in her approach is Alveda King, who also happens to be the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., America's most famous civil rights leader.

Just a few days shy of the national holiday celebrating his birthday, life and legacy, Alveda King spoke to the the National Press Club in Washington about today's civil rights issues.

She spoke of visiting Ferguson, Missouri, in the midst of rioting there, noting it wasn't necessarily a blacks versus whites issue.

"It's like a tale of two cities: a violent upheaval with outside agitators, people who don't live there, coming in, bombing stores and blowing up things," she told reporters at the news conference. "And I said I bet the people who live in Ferguson are home by 10 o'clock at night."

King said Ferguson residents for the most part have had it with the violent protesting.

"We have seen increasingly more and more people in Ferguson who say, 'Let's do this thing peacefully. We don't need to riot. Tearing up the city won't make it better,'" she said.

King works on a number of civil rights issues but usually with a more conservative perspective. For instance, for a woman whose famous uncle was assassinated in one of the most infamous shootings in American history, she holds a fairly conservative stand on gun control.

She told CBN News she doesn't go along with the usual reaction that comes from a highly publicized shooting.

"Every time someone has been shot throughout our history by guns, the first thing is 'Take up all the guns, remove the guns. If you take away the guns, you stop the violence.' That's not true," King said.

"Because in the first place, if there were a real movement to take all the guns, then all the mean and evil and crooked people would find ways to keep them and hide them and all the good people would give up the guns," she continued. "So that would immediately be unbalanced."

She added that she believes in some prudent gun regulations and restrictions, but said the world can't solve violence in the human heart by impounding weapons or trying to control every human being.

"We've got gun control, now we're going to do choke control?" she asked. "We going to do 'I'm going to beat you to death with my fist' control? 'I'm going to poison you' control?"

This is a major point of her latest book, King Rules: for society's crises to be solved, people must change from the inside out.

King revealed some of her famous uncle's supporters considered and debated using guns in their battle for civil rights, but decided they'd be so outgunned in the segregationist South of that era, they'd never win in an armed struggle.

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About The Author


As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress. Strand began his tenure at CBN News in 1985 as an evening assignment editor in Washington, D.C. After a year, he worked with CBN Radio News for three years, returning to the television newsroom to accept a position as editor in 1990. After five years in Virginia Beach, Strand moved back to the nation's capital, where he has been a correspondent since 1995. Before joining CBN News, Strand served as the newspaper editor for