Black gun ownership rises after pandemic and protests
Black gun owners exercising their Second Amendment rights pose a threat to some observers
An uptick in Black gun ownership has followed the coronavirus pandemic and the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, reports Politico.
Members of heavily armed African-American militia groups who have shown up to recent demonstrations are just part of the increased numbers of Blacks who are exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Phillip Smith, the president of the National African American Gun Association, told Politico he’s getting 2,000 membership requests per day – what used to be the annual numbers. There are now 90,000 members on the organization’s Facebook page.
“Whether it was fear of a food shortage, lack of a grocery store, the short response times for law enforcement or whether people were just fearful they were going to be attacked, I don’t know,” Derrick Morgan, the national commander of the Black Gun Owners Association, told Politico.
Morgan added that his website crashed due to the increase in traffic.
“A lot of people are reaching out to us, mainly new gun owners and people who wouldn’t have considered owning a gun or firearm for their protection, have been lining up to purchase firearms and access information from our website,” he said.
Black gun owners enjoy the protection of the Second Amendment like any other legal gun owner. But their presence at recent anti-racism protests has made them controversial.
Yahoo reports that 300 heavily armed members of a group called No F—g Around Coalition (NFC) have shown up at recent protests in Louisville to advocate for the arrest of the three officers involved in the Taylor shooting.
More than a hundred Black gun owners also attended a protest at Georgia’s Stone Mountain, the monument featuring the sculpted faces of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis, even though members of Black Lives Matters groups don’t carry firearms to demonstrations.
Conservatives, with the powerful support of the National Rifle Association, have blocked most efforts at gun control. When the gun owners are Black, the response is different.
When legal gun owner Philando Castile, who was licensed to carry, was killed by St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop that was filmed by Castile’s girlfriend in 2016, the NRA never made a public statement about it.
Yanez was cleared of any wrongdoing in a trial.
Conservatives uphold the rights of white Americans to carry, even during pandemic protests around the country where the sentiment was that participants were carrying guns to intimidate counter-protesters. But once Black gun owners showed up at anti-racism protests, the narrative changed.
As Politico reports, Black gun owners at the Stone Mountain rally were part of “mob rule” according to Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
“We’re a nation of the rule of law and this is exactly what will happen if we defund the police,” Loeffler said in an interview on Fox News when footage of the protest was played.
Georgia, it should be noted, is an open-carry state.
The new visibility and increased membership in lawful Black gun ownership is likely to continue to grow, say its advocates. Black Guns Matter founder Maj Toure is helping other African-Americans learn gun safety and advocates for Black gun ownership.
He told Business Weekly Insider that after Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police on May 25, he traveled to Minneapolis to set up a gun safety demonstration on the streets.
“I believe that more Black people would be alive if they were armed,” Toure said. “So when I hear ‘unarmed Black man,’ I’m sad because there should be no such thing.”
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