A number of African-American leaders joined together Friday to challenge the gun control proposals currently being considered on Capitol Hill, claiming gun control laws are inherently racist.

“There’s a direct correlation between gun control and black people control,” Stacy Swimp, president and CFO of the Frederick Douglass Society, said at the press conference sponsored by the Center for Urban Renewal and Education(CURE).

Swimp compared the call for universal background checks for gun purchase to the time when blacks were required to register with the government.

“The first gun laws were put into place to register black folks, to make sure that they would know who we were – that we could not defend ourselves,” Swimp said.

“I think if you look right after the Emancipation Proclamation – what was going on down in the southern states, it’s very clear that the Dixiecrats wanted to disarm black people to keep us from defending ourselves against the Klansman, who were murdering white and black Republicans to control the ballot box,” Swimp said.

Niger Ennis, President of CORE, Congress for Racial Equality, one of the oldest civil rights organizations in the country, agreed that “gun control has ultimately been about people control.”