By Roxroy Ballers
If you think the recent spike in new gun ownership comes from old white guys out in the sticks, think again.
You may be surprised to find out that, per a recent study published in ACP’s “Annals of Internal Medicine,” 50 percent of all gun sales in 2019 were to women (47% in 2020). Additionally, the NSSF estimates that from 2019 to 2020, sales of firearms to African Americans increased 56 percent!
Although these demographics have traditionally been underrepresented in firearm sales, they are quickly catching up as they seek to defend themselves and join communities of like-minded people.
One of those communities is the 40,000-member strong National African American Gun Association (NAAGA).
“We’re just black folks that like guns”, says the founder in a recent article in The Cut. NAAGA is not a political organization, rather it’s a brotherhood and sisterhood for all gun owners, whether they be newbies or long-time enthusiasts.
The sense of community that comes from shooting with and learning from “someone who looks like you” is an important part of the growth of NAAGA.
“I hate feeling like I don’t belong somewhere,” says Onnie Brown, an African American woman and Co-Vice President of NAAGA.
She says belonging to NAAGA helps these women navigate the ins and outs of the journey, whether it’s purchasing one’s first gun, receiving training, maintaining skills, or negotiating the added attention that sometimes comes with being a minority gun owner.
Growth of gun ownership for African Americans is also rooted in the basic need for self-protection.
The Cut article details several instances where Black gun owners realized that “Nobody protests us.”
Per the article:
In comparison with their white counterparts, Black women are three times as likely to be murdered; twice as likely to be killed by an acquaintance; and almost twice as likely to be fatally shot by an intimate partner. Neither Sierra-Arévalo nor Onnie Brown is too surprised by these stats. “Nobody protects us,” Brown says, likening these disparities and the overall lack of concern over them with the public’s seeming indifference toward missing Black girls. “When a Black woman is missing, no one will care,” she says. “But you get a white girl up there missing and they get all prime-time news, everything’s all over the internet.”
Police response times in certain neighborhoods can also be a problem for unarmed minorities.
One such individual who lives on the West Side of Chicago told The Cut it took law enforcement 30 minutes to respond to his call for help when a perp tried to force his way into the man’s home.
“Between shifts,” is the answer they gave the homeowner as to why it took so long for help to arrive, despite the fact that the station is across the street.
While he used to be “anti-gun and all of that,” he quickly changed his mind.
“If anybody should be pro–Second Amendment,” he said, “it should be the descendants of former slaves.”
By the Numbers
A black woman from Houston noted that much of the growth in the female and African American demographics come from “ladies that are realizing no one’s protecting them…so they gotta do it themselves”.
This assessment mirrors the aforementioned trends. To put things in perspective, the study breaks down the data in further detail:
An estimated 2.9% of U.S. adults (7.5 million) became new gun owners from 1 January 2019 to 26 April 2021…. Approximately half of all new gun owners were female (50% in 2019 and 47% in 2020 to 2021), 20% were Black (21% in 2019 and in 2020–2021), and 20% were Hispanic (20% in 2019 and 19% in 2020–2021).
Experiences often bring people into the gun ownership fold, but it is increasingly the sense of community that keeps them here. Let us embrace the fact that we are becoming more diverse and let us welcome our new friends with open arms.