Black Gun Owners Turn to Each Other for Training and Empowerment

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Black men and women looking to defend themselves and their families have became the largest demographic of new gun owners. While Black Americans saw the highest increase in new gun owners out of any demographic in 2020, with gun ownership among the group up by 58.2 percent, their continued encounters with apathetic and disrespectful white gun store owners, gun club members, and shooting ranges has pushed many to join Black gun clubs and seek training from Black experts, reports The Guardian. Noting the National Rifle Association’s failure to reach out to Black communities and its vilification of slain Black gun owners, Black gun owners have formed their own affinity groups such as  the Black Gun Owners Association and the National African American Gun Association to encourage other Black Americans to embrace their right to own firearms and educate them on gun safety.

In Los Angeles, Black entrepreneurs Geneva and Jonathan Solomon, owners of Redstone Firearm, established in 2016, have opened their own gun stores to provide safe and comfortable experiences for Black patrons who were jaded by their experiences with other gun store owners, the couple said, especially as the pandemic worsened and civil unrest and racial strife became more prevalent. Despite receiving racist messages and threats, and losing vendors when they discover the shop is Black-owned, the Solomons say their business is growing and hope hope that once the spread of COVID ebbs, and racial tensions cool, Black Americans will begin to participate in shooting competitions and have a greater presence throughout the industry. An estimated five million people bought their first-ever gun between March and August of 2020, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a trade organization, and that number continued to climb throughout the year.

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