One of the largest black churches in Cincinnati is doing its part to ensure that the human right of self-defense is alive and well by recently hosting a concealed carry course for women that was attended by nearly 200 women. The class, held back on February 8th, was spearheaded by New Prospect Baptist Church pastor Rev. Damon Lynch III and Cincinnati city councilman Jeff Pastor, and quickly filled up after Pastor announced the class on Facebook.
Two hundred women signed up. Despite an early morning snowfall that made driving treacherous, 179 women turned out for the class, all with varying comfort levels with guns. Some had never touched one. Others owned a gun, but wanted the license needed to carry it with them. Some came because their moms or sisters or friends suggested it.
The class was taught by certified CCW licensing firm Arm the Populace. It was an intense, nine-hour class, complete with a built-just-for-the class shooting range in an empty storage area above the church’s community center.
Women paid $25 each to cover the cost of the space, cheaper than the typical $65 class fee.
Arm the Populace, a Cincinnati-based company that offers firearms and personal defense training, donated its time. It billed the class as the largest CCW class of all women ever in Ohio.
Gun control advocates like Shannon Watts constantly try to portray gun ownership and support for the Second Amendment as something that only older, white guys are interested in, but classes like the one recently hosted by New Prospect Baptist Church tell a different story. I’m also very impressed by the fact that Rev. Lynch was so involved in helping to host the event, despite the fact that he’s not a gun owner himself.
New Prospect Baptist Church is more than a church,” Lynch said. “It’s the heart of the community.”
Without a recreation center, like many Cincinnati neighborhoods have, the church serves that need.
On the morning of the CCW permitting class, the church opened its doors for a financial freedom class, a Jewish culture class, an AA meeting and a funeral.
“I’m not a gun lover; I don’t own any guns, but people have Second Amendment rights to own a gun,” Lynch said. “In the African American community, the conversation is usually about buying guns back. But, if people are lawfully trained and learn how to be responsible, they will probably never use one. It sets them on a different course. As opposed to person who gets a gun and thinks I have to go shoot.”
And that, Lynch said, “is a good thing.”
In the modern gun control movement, “gun safety” is defined as “don’t own a gun,” but Lynch clearly understands that real training and education beats ignorance and fear. That desire for education and training is what drove many of the women to attend the concealed carry class, including 35-year old Kai Brown, a single mom of two who told the Cincinnati Inquirer that she was afraid of guns when she walked through the door.
When it came time to practice shooting, that fear emerged. She was apprehensive and flinched as others fired.
She dipped her head into her hands. She took a deep breath. She fanned herself with her hands.
But the instructors were kind. Encouraging. Helpful.
Brown took another breath.
And she fired.
“It’s evident that that fear is still there,” Brown said.
“I am hoping that just because of the times we live in and now, you know, you have to be prepared,” Brown said. “And so I don’t want my fear to keep me from being unable to, you know, get with the times.”
She praised Pastor for giving her the opportunity. And she echoed his opening sentiments to the class.
“It’s my right to carry…so I want to be able to,” Brown said. “It’s wonderful to be surrounded by many different women from many different walks of life. And we’re all, you know, here to protect ourselves.”
Amen to that. Self defense is a human right, and these women aim to prove it.