- (Photo: Erinn Chalene Cosby)
Actor and activist Bill Cosby has spoken out about the Trayvon Martin killing, saying that guns are to blame for the 17-year-old's death, not race.
"What is solved by saying, '[Zimmerman] is a racist [and] that's why he shot the boy'?" Cosby asked during an interview on CNN's "State of the Union." "When a person has a gun, sometimes their mind clicks that this thing will win arguments and straighten people out," he added.
Cosby has been outspoken about Martin's death but is clear that the use and prevalence of guns is what lead to his death. While the country has been torn in its discussion of the racial significance of the case, Cosby has been adamant about the use of guns.
"I'm not saying you can't have [a gun] in your home to protect yourself … you've got to protect yourself in your own home. But I also believe that when you tell me that you are going to protect the neighborhood that I live in, I don't want you to have a gun. I want you to be able to see something, report it and get out of the way," Cosby added.
Cosby has admitted to owning a gun but no longer has it. His own son, Ennis, was shot and killed in 1997.
"When you have a gun, you may not realize it, but you put it on a person and you mean to pull [the trigger] and kill somebody," he told NBC's David Gregory last week.
He now fights for guns to be brought in off the street and other opportunities made for young men and women with guns.
"We've got to get the gun out of the hands of people who are supposed to be on neighborhood watch. Without a gun, I don't see Mr. Zimmerman approaching Trayvon by himself," explained the actor. "The power-of-the-gun mentality had him unafraid to confront someone. Even police call for backup in similar situations. When you carry a gun, you mean to harm somebody, kill somebody."
Ironically, Cosby's comments have provided a call-to-arms by people who believe in the freedom to carry firearms.
"I carry a gun myself and it doesn't mean I want to harm somebody and kill somebody. [Carrying] a gun is a right for every American citizen. [A] gun doesn't harm people by itself. I can kill someone with a pen or a book," Photographer3828 wrote on the USA Today website.
Yet others agree with Cosby.
"Neighborhood Watch people shouldn't have a gun because the nature of the job responsibility is to WATCH!!" wrote user ACSThought.