Vic Mensa is both a gun owner and an outspoken advocate for gun control. The Chicago rapper performed at the March For Our Lives rally earlier this year, and today, he’s penned an op-ed for Rolling Stone calling for “a widespread ban on assault rifles.”
“Gun culture in America is a plague, but the virus is too ingrained to be wiped out completely — it’s past time that we address the symptoms,” Mensa writes. “The carnage in black communities won’t be solved by gun control; that will take infrastructure, money and government support to bridge the gaps that have forgotten those communities. Mass shootings, on the other hand, are a different phenomenon, one that can be affected by having some common sense and the courage to challenge the billionaires profiting from our sorrow.”
In the essay, Mensa discusses losing childhood friends to gun violence, details his own 2017 arrest for violating concealed-carry laws in California, and draws a connection between “the poverty-stricken violence of my war-torn hometown” and the mass shootings that occur all across the country. “White, black or brown — we all bleed red,” he says. “I am a gun owner, have had issues with the law over my gun ownership, have felt the pain of losing loved ones to gun violence and I vehemently support gun control, particularly a reinstatement of the ban on AR-15s.”
According to Mensa, a ban on assault rifles is “the single most important piece of gun control legislation currently possible” in America. “The truth is that this weapon was not designed for farm use or for garage mechanics looking for an easily customizable collectors item. The Armalite AR-15 was designed to help American troops slaughter the Vietnamese,” he writes. “Let me be clear: There can be no meaningful and significant progress made on the issue of gun control without a complete ban of AR-15s for commercial consumption.”
Read the full piece here and watch Mensa perform at the March For Our Lives below.