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T.I. defends gun ownership: ‘I’m very military-minded …’

T.I. defends gun ownership: 'I'm very military-minded ...'

Hip-hop and the American right have a lot in common.

Both like to hold on to their money. Both tend to overcelebrate loyalty even to the most detrimental of associates. Both have a history of leeriness toward the LGBT community. And both have a love affair with guns.

In the wake of another tragic mass shooting; the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Conn.,  that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults, the debate about gun control has been raging. The mainstream news, independent media, Facebook, Twitter and dinner table have all been battlegrounds for one of the most divisive issues in the country.

And this week, while promoting the release of his new album, Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head, hip- hop superstar T.I. voiced his opinion on both the tragedy and gun ownership.

“It’s a tragedy and it’s a travesty, it was a catastrophic event,” he said. “My heart goes out to the families. As a parent, there’s no way that you can hear or see or observe something like that go on and not be touched in your heart. Just to know somewhere so sacred, somewhere that is supposed to be completely off limits to any kind of wrongdoing, something like that can happen to kindergarteners …”

“I don’t want to run the risk of sounding inappropriate — but that is exactly the reason why I had mines,” T.I. added. The Atlanta rap star was referencing his infamous 2007 arrest and subsequent guilty plea to U.S. federal weapons charges.

“At any time, if anybody calls me, anytime, when I had mines, I’m pulling up with ’em and the whole perimeter will be secure and ain’t nobody moving but us,” he said. “I haven’t been to the military but I’m very militant-minded when it come to protecting.”

Other rappers, such as Big Boi and Ice-T, are among the many who support gun ownership for the sake of defense against criminal and governmental aggression. Rappers such as Ja Rule and Lil Wayne have done major prison stints due to weapons convictions.Currently, young rap stars Chief Keef and Meek Mill could face serious repercussions due to their own convictions for weapons possession.

In the city of Chicago, the number of homicides has topped 400 for 2012; up 25 percent from 2011. Most of those doing the killing and being killed are young Black and Latino males. Those same demographics represent a large part of hip hop’s audience.

Of course, America’s love of guns is not limited to hip hop artists or fans. It’s embedded into the very fabric of American culture. But when we think of who the NRA represents and who are the loudest proponents of pro-gun ideology, it would be smart to remember that it’s not all good ol’ boys. And, for those who are clamoring for stricter gun regulations, it’s important to also remember that the killing isn’t only tragic when it happens in masses or when it happens in suburbia.

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