A funny thing happened last summer while mostly black neighborhoods were being hit by riots and looting. Black Americans became the fastest growing group of new gun owners. They wanted to secure the same peace for their neighborhoods as any other American, and bought firearms to protect themselves from roving bands of BLM/Antifa activists who seemed bent on burning down entire cities. Now, those new gun owners have gone through a transition many new gun owners do, they’ve become activists intent on protecting their rights to own firearms. Stephen Gutowski writes at The Reload:
John Keys became one of the millions of Americans to buy their first gun in March 2020. As an African American, he was part of the fastest-growing demographic to do so.
“Right at the height of all of the craziness is when I bought my first pistol and rifle,” Keys told The Reload. “I didn’t know where all that was gonna go. So I just figured, ‘you know what, let me go to this gun show and just try to pick up a rifle and a pistol before I can’t get it anywhere.’ It was the last gun show before they shut everything down.”
Less than a year later, he’s part of another expanding group: new gun owners who have already turned into activists. He now co-hosts Guns Out TV with Shermichael Singleton, another black gun owner. The pair uses the program to show what black gun ownership in America looks like while being educational and, especially, entertaining.
“The vast majority of new gun owners in 2020 were black people,” Keys said. “We felt we needed to step out. We just noticed that a lot of the content out there looks a certain way and appeals to a certain audience. We wanted to broaden that audience. And what better way than, like Shermichael always says, two black guys handling firearms responsibly, showcasing all of the different experiences and education that people can partake in.”
Keys’ story is one that’s starting to become more common. As gun ownership in American diversifies faster than ever, more people are trying to find ways to reach new gun owners from traditionally underrepresented communities. Groups and programs representing gun owners from all sorts of minority groups–racial or otherwise–have ramped up in recent months.
One example is the group Asian American and Pacific Islander Gun Owners (AAPIGO). Like Keys, AAPIGO co-founder Scott Kane also bought his first gun at the beginning of the pandemic. He went to his local gun store after his wife and daughter, who are Asian, were subject to public harassment. After noticing increased interest in guns from friends and family, he helped create AAPIGO to train Asian Americans in firearms safety and educate them about their gun rights.
How much the appeal of gun ownership broadens beyond the traditional demographic of rural white men who hunt will determine how the debate over guns in America turns out. That’s something Singleton and Keys are keenly aware of.
“More often than not, these types of stories aren’t told; those types of experiences aren’t captured,” Singleton told The Reload. “We want to capture that. We want to tell those stories. Because when people see that, I think it becomes harder to say, well, we’re going to take this away or becomes hard to say ‘all these [gun owners] only white men.’ A lot of people are doing this now, a lot of black people, a lot of women. You literally see a little bit of America. You see a little bit of everything.”
Action Line: It doesn’t matter what you look like. The Second Amendment is for all Americans. Get your gun and your training now.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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