The pro-gun community has for years noted the racist effects of American gun control. It only took a pandemic and nationwide race riots, but at least one mainstream media outlet is coming around to the truth. Better late than never.
After several studies and surveys reported a disproportionately high number of black Americans purchasing firearms in 2020, the Chicago Tribune sent one of its intrepid reporters to visit a local gun club in the Windy City that specializes in serving the African American community.
The club’s patrons and employees explained why so many black Americans are purchasing firearms for self-defense and how gun control disproportionately harms people of color.
“When there is a politically driven (effort) to eliminate guns, you’re going to see overreaches in how the police tend to treat a certain class of citizens,” firearms instructor Mike Brown told the outlet. “And that’s definitely what I’m seeing here.”
Brown pointed out that the city’s aggressive enforcement of gun control policies falls most heavily on black Americans who fail to obtain or do not realize they need a concealed carry license along with a firearm owner identification card to carry a handgun for self-defense. He’s working with the 761st Gun Club of Illinois to correct those gaps in education, but historic anti-gun policies have limited training options in the city.
Chicago banned gun ranges until a lawsuit, filed by the Second Amendment Foundation on behalf of a black plaintiff, forced it to back down in 2017. But there still aren’t any gun ranges in the city, and black Chicagoans are sometimes uncomfortable traveling to the ranges in the suburbs.
“How are people supposed to get education on firearms if they can’t even go to a gun range in their own city?” said Kourtney Redmond, president of the 761st Gun Club. “They have to go to the suburbs. A lot of times black people don’t always feel welcome there.”
Redmond said his group is looking for property on the South or West sides for a suitable location.
They’ll likely enjoy a strong customer base. The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates that firearm purchases by African Americans rose 56 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. Another study by Northwestern found that new gun owners in 2020 were 1.7 times more likely to be black than white.
The academics at Northwestern told the Tribune that fears of police violence is likely driving the rise in interest among black Americans. But the outlet’s reporting contradicts that assessment.
SEE ALSO: Gun Control’s Racist History
Brown told the Tribune that his students come to him because of fear of crime (especially carjackings), as well as concerns over racist violence and unrest.
One of Brown’s students, Yvette Farmer, said she bought a 9mm pistol last year because of the “craziness” happening in the city.
“Bullets don’t have names,” she said. “They can go anywhere. If you learn how to use something you’re better prepared.”
Whatever the reason, it’s undeniable that many of the 8.4 million new gun owners are racial minorities, and the pro-gun movement will be a lot more diverse in the years to come.