The National Rifle Association referred to Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1956 application for a concealed carry permit in an MLK Day message.
“Today, the men and women of the NRA honor the profound life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King applied for a concealed carry permit in a ‘may issue’ state and was denied,” the group tweeted. “We will never stop fighting for every law-abiding citizen's right to self-defense.”
Today, the men and women of the @NRA honor the profound life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King applied for a concealed carry permit in a "may issue" state and was denied. We will never stop fighting for every law-abiding citizen's right to self-defense. #MLKDay pic.twitter.com/wtSQOO5Kaq— NRA (@NRA) January 21, 2019
The civil rights leader applied for a concealed carry permit in Alabama in 1956, shortly after his house was bombed. This detail of King’s life was revealed by UCLA law professor Adam Winkler, author of a book about the history of the right to bear arms.
The state’s law at the time allowed authorities to issue permits, but they denied King’s application, according to Winkler.
A few years later, King abandoned self-defense in favor of complete nonviolent resistance, though some pro-gun rights activists have continued to use King’s early attitude toward guns to advocate for the Second Amendment.
In later writings documented in the 2001 “The Autobiography of Martin Luther King,” King said that he “was much more afraid in Montgomery when I had a gun in my house.”