By Larry Keane
Joy Behar of ABC’s “The View” appears to possess an ignorant view of African-Americans and their desire for the God-given right to safety. It seems to border on bigotry. Sadly, it’s a pattern for Behar.
“Here’s the thing: once Black people get guns in this country, the gun laws will change. Trust me,” Behar said recently on the show, raising her voice over Black guest host and gun owner Lindsey Granger. Granger was explaining Black gun ownership and audience laughter and agreement with Behar was clearly audible.
Granger’s expression, however, says something different.
Listen and Learn
Joy Behar gets paid a lot to talk but perhaps she should listen more. Instead of interrupting, Behar should listen to what Granger said.
“As a gun owner, there are people in this country that genuinely own guns and do so for the same reason that we all – …” Behar interjects, “An AR-15?”
“Let me tell you something. There’s a man in Connecticut who watched a home invasion and watched his neighbor’s whole family get killed. He built an AR-15 because Connecticut won’t allow you to buy one but if you abide by rules you can build them. He has one in his house to protect his family because he never wants to see that happen again. He is a Black man…that’s all I’m saying is that they’re not all these ‘crazy people,’ Granger explained. “Black people are buying guns!”
Granger knows what she’s talking about. African-Americans purchased firearms in 2020 at a rate 58 percent more than they did the year before. The trend has continued and self-defense is consistently the major driver for Black gun buyers. In fact, Black women have become, “the new face of American gun ownership,” as reported by The Root. Behar could’ve learned that from Sherri Shepherd – also a View guest host – when she tried explaining her own gun purchase last October.
“During the quarantine, I felt really helpless, Joy,” Shepherd explained. “I thought ‘How am I supposed to protect my son if something happens?’” She continued saying she bought a handgun. “I felt very empowered – I don’t know why you’re laughing. When I bought the gun I took lessons, I took the test, I go to the range with my girlfriends like every other week – and it just makes me feel like at least if something happens, I can protect my child.”
In Their Words
It’s a clear pattern for Behar to cast doubt on her African-American guests and question their reasoning. If not Granger or Shepherd, she could listen to others.
Philip Smith, the Founder and President of the National African American Gun Association (NAAGA), started his organization in 2015 but has recently seen, “an awakening” of Black gun ownership. “It’s a good thing,” Smith told NBC, adding his group has grown by at least 1,000 every month over the past two years.
One NAAGA member, Nikki Duncan, is a mother of two daughters and told Behar’s own network, ABC News, the group helped her get acquainted with her firearm and learn safety practices. “With the kind of climate… I wanted to be a gun owner, but I also wanted to be a responsible gun owner,” Duncan said. “I have two daughters, I wanted them both to know that it’s OK for you to own a weapon and it’s OK to have them in defense of your home.”
The first-hand news reports of increased Black gun ownership and interest in safety courses, more training and practice are boundless. While roughly 36 percent of white Americans say they own firearms, more than 25 percent of African-Americans say they do and the number is growing. Geneva Solomon, an African-American who with her husband owns a firearm retail store and range in Burbank, Calif., talked about her sold-out firearm training classes, saying, “Before they would never sell out. Now they sell out two days after we post them.”
Look in the Mirror
As the so-called anchor of one of ABC’s most popular programs, Behar’s disbelief surrounding African-American gun ownership is troubling. It is in fact the same progressive-Left gun control advocates that watch and attend Behar’s live show, and Behar herself, who push the racist narrative behind Black gun ownership. Colion Noir, a Black Second Amendment rights advocate, has spoken about Behar’s “ignorant claim.”
Jonathon Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, wrote in the Hill about the suggestion that pro-gun rights and anti-African-American gun ownership arguments like Behar’s are racist. “The suggestion that it [slavery] was a primary motivation for the Second Amendment is utter nonsense.” Turley added, “African Americans have long viewed guns as an equalizer, including escaped slave and famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who, in an editorial, heralded the power of ‘a good revolver, a steady hand.’”
The Second Amendment belongs to every law-abiding American. Behar should listen to her African-American co-hosts or read more about Black gun ownership and the history of the Second Amendment, as well as the racist origins of gun control in the post-Civil War era. She might just get a better understanding of why they are choosing by the millions to exercise their Constitutional rights to do so.
Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.