A crime spree in Beverly Hills, California, has residents of the historically antigun city flocking to the town’s only gun store while Black Americans in the area struggle to protect themselves, according to a new report from Fox News.
A string of robberies, home invasions, and one execution-style murder has prompted many wealthy Beverly Hills residents to purchase firearms for the first time.
“Although that is a part of my living, I get no pleasure whatsoever by having a 60-, 70-year-old woman walk into my store … who looks terrified, and say, ‘I have never liked guns. In fact, I’ve even hated guns. I would have never considered buying one. But I’m so afraid for my life,’” Beverly Hills Guns owner Russell Stuart told Fox. “Especially women who live on their own.”
Stuart’s report aligns with reports from other gun store owners throughout the pandemic and especially since the riots in the summer of 2020. First-time gun owners are looking to protect themselves from rising rates of violent crime but are often shocked to discover how difficult it is to purchase a handgun in many jurisdictions.
In California, carrying that handgun outside the home is even more difficult. The state’s “good cause” requirement forces applicants for concealed carry permits to prove they have a valid reason to carry. Since the local law enforcement officer is charged with approving applications, gun rights in the Golden State often depend on geography, as GunsAmerica has reported previously.
According to Black gun owners, that fact prohibits armed self-defense in those communities that need it most.
“The gun control laws here are set up and intended to disproportionately affect those within the minority communities,” Geneva Solomon, the co-owner of Black-owned Redstone Firearms in Los Angeles County’s Burbank, told Fox.
Solomon believes local law enforcement officers are influenced by “underlying bias” when making determinations for concealed carry permits.
“If the single parent is walking home and can’t prove that they’re ‘important’ by having money or high-value items taken from them, it may be really hard,” she said. “Which goes back to the ‘just cause’ requirement of the insurance of the CCW. Having ‘just cause’ is too big of a gray area. That means it’s up for interpretation of the person interviewing you and can lead to underlying bias.”
Maj Toure, the founder of Black Guns Matter, agrees with Solomon’s assessment. “Gun control in this place called America was created to stop melanated beings from having the means to exercise their human right,” he said.
“All of this stuff that you see right now is just that, ‘Oh, we’re wealthy, we can just go buy [guns],’” Toure added. “But yet and still, the areas that have the most crime have the most restrictive gun laws.”
With the Democratic party holding a supermajority in the state legislature, it’s unlikely that gun laws in California will reverse course any time soon. But there have been some bright spots. LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva vowed to issue more concealed handgun permits amid rising violent crime rates, and support for gun control in the state has slipped in the past 12 months.