Martin Luther King, Jr., known for peaceful resistance, at the same time recognized the importance of gun ownership for self-defense. King understood the risks involved in being an outspoken civil rights leader, living in Jim Crow era Alabama, and took measures to protect himself, his family and others around him.
King was a gun owner. In fact, he had a few guns–one visitor to the King family home described King’s supply of weapons as an “armory.”
Additionally, William Worthy, a journalist who covered the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, reported that he almost sat on a loaded gun while visiting King’s parsonage.
King had also applied for a concealed carry permit, but was turned down. According to John M. Snyder:
“At one time, King applied for a permit to carry a concealed handgun, but was denied. He was concerned for his personal safety, just as are a lot of law-abiding American citizens. “