Over the last two years, gun ownership has soared in the Black community, according to a new study published by The National Firearm Industry Trade Association. Between 2019 and 2020, gun purchases among African American men and women spiked by more than 58%. In fact, last year, Black women made up nearly one-third of all first-time gun buyers.
So, what is causing the sudden surge?
After a contentious year filled with racially motivated killings and police brutality deaths, Black men and women are strapping up to protect themselves. COVID-19 and crippling inflation have also caused an uptick in crime across several major cities. This past week, Memphis was slammed with a wave of shootings, leaving more than a dozen people injured. Owning a firearm could be a matter of life or death in some locations.
“Trying to pump gas and either getting their car stolen or purse stolen things of that nature I was like, ‘I have to arm myself,'” Hampton, a Memphis resident, told ABC 24 during an interview. Hampton purchased her first gun in 2019. “Being a woman, definitely at night, we’re definitely going to be hassled whether it’s to donate some money or trying to get your number and in any of those cases, the worst case possible could happen there,” she added.
Some researchers believe Black gun ownership has soared due to white nationalism
Daniel Webster, a professor of American Health in Violence Prevention at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, believes the sudden surge could be attributed to the rise of white nationalism seen throughout the country in recent years. The entire world was shocked when MAGA supporters stormed the capitol in January 2020 with their assault rifles in tow, sending government officials into sheer panic. In April of that year, a similar incident occurred In Lansing, Michigan. Communities of color were jolted after white radicals flocked to the Michigan Capitol in Lansing to protest Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-home order. Some protestors entered the government facility with their firearms.
“Some combination of the lack in faith in police protecting you and hate groups has motivated a lot of Black people to arm up,” Webster added to Fox Business.
While more Black people are becoming registered gun owners, the rising firearm group is still relatively small compared to other nationalities, the study notes. 9.3% of gun owners are Black men, while Black women account for 5.4%. The report adds that nearly 56% of U.S. gun owners are white men. Over 16% are white women.
Still, 2020 saw “a tectonic shift in gun ownership in America” where there was “a huge increase of African Americans taking ownership of their Second Amendment rights,” said Mark Oliva of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
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