Al Sharpton railed against gun advocate Larry Ward on his Monday MSNBC show for what he called "changing facts" about slavery and "distorting" the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Ward is chairman of a gun advocacy organization that's hosting "Gun Appreciation Day" on MLK weekend. On CNN last week, Ward said that Dr. King would agree with him that "if African Americans had been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country's founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history."
Sharpton asked Ward if he knew anything about Dr. King, as he staunchly opposed guns during his lifetime. "You do realize that Martin Luther King was killed by a gun and that he preached all of his life against the use of any weapons and preached turn the other cheek? So you do realize that what you said was the total antithesis to Dr. King?" he said.
He later added, "Do you understand how despicable it would be to members of his family that saw their father killed by gun fire for you to say that you are in some way continuing his legacy on King weekend by doing 'Gun Appreciation Day,' when he preached against that and died from a bullet wound? Then to say that there wouldn't be slavery if slaves had the right to guns? Slaves didn't have any rights. They didn't have the right to marry; they didn't have the right to name their own children—why would they have rights to guns?"
Ward argued, "The fact is that gun ownership is a civil right ... and currently I believe that the civil right is not being equally treated amongst everyone in America."