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Washington Post Allows New Gun Owner To Share Her Story

AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar

It’s rare to find any pro-gun perspective in the editorial pages of our country’s largest newspapers, so I’ll give the Washington Post a little credit for running a piece by Danielle King about why she decided to become a first-time gun owner last year. Only a little, however, since I have a feeling that King’s continued embrace of gun control laws and her criticism of policing made her a “safe” choice to expose the paper’s readers to the thoughts and opinions of a new gun owner.

I never thought I’d own a gun. But there I was, in Hazard, Ky., in the middle of a pandemic on a Saturday, buying a .38 snub-nosed revolver.

I’m not your stereotypical gun owner, and I’m not entirely comfortable with it. Growing up in Kansas, guns weren’t part of my family’s culture. As a student of public policy, I know that owning a gun increases the likelihood that a person will become a victim of gun violence. And as a Black woman, I am a statistical rarity, since most gun owners in America are White men.

But I had come to believe that I had two choices: take steps to protect myself, or become a victim. I decided I needed to be armed.

In her column, King movingly writes about her brother’s murder in 2018 at the hands of his roommate; a man that King describes as a “mentally unstable” individual who shot and killed her brother in a dispute over rent before taking his own life.

Despite the fact that her brother was murdered by a man with a gun, when King and her family were targeted by a burglar last spring, she decided that she herself needed a firearm to help protect herself and her loved ones.

My husband, the victim, who had called 911, was eventually greeted by a police officer brandishing his loaded Glock. The White intruder claimed it was his home. Over and over, I had emphasized to the dispatcher that we were a Black family, but apparently it didn’t register. A second officer finally showed up and confirmed our identities by simply looking at the names on the mail. But in that moment, I was taken back to my brother’s murder, and how the threats to his life weren’t taken seriously.

The intruder was ultimately sentenced to two to five years in jail. But I realized we needed protection. And like my brother, we had none.

Three days after the break-in, with my husband’s encouragement, I went to the gun store and purchased my revolver and some hollow-point bullets. I chose the gun because it was compact and easy to handle, and something about it made me feel closer to Sheldon. I would later discover while reading the police and coroner’s files on my brother’s death that it was the same type of gun and ammunition that killed him.

King says that while she’s still afraid of having guns in her home, she’s also afraid of the police, and doesn’t feel like she can count on them to protect her if the need arises again. Given the fact that it took officers more than 45 minutes to arrive while a stranger was wandering through their home and occasionally trying to bust in the locked bedroom door where she and her husband were hiding, I can’t really blame her for feeling that way.

I’m not one who believes that policing is inherently racist or that all cops are bastards, but do believe that the kind of non-violent, possessory gun control laws that Democrats have embraced do lead to a disproportionate number of arrests and convictions of Black and Brown men. More importantly, though, I don’t have to agree with King’s views on the bias in policing to applaud her decision to buy a gun for self-defense. Even the most passionate defenders of police have to admit that officers all too often show up after a crime has taken place, and response times are only growing longer in many cities thanks to the defunding of departments that have left many law enforcement agencies short-staffed.

Gun owners come in all shapes, sizes, races, colors, and political ideologies, and frankly, King’s skepticism and fear of law enforcement isn’t confined solely to Black gun owners like herself. You’ll even find gun owners like King who still embrace various gun control laws, though I do find it interesting that King never specifically mentions what “gun regulations” she supports. I suspect that while King may back the idea of some gun controls in theory, if they’re going to lead to more interactions between Black gun owners and armed police she’d have some second thoughts.

While Danielle King and I may have very different opinions and viewpoints on policing and gun control, I think it’s good that the Washington Post decided to share her perspective on gun ownership with their largely anti-gun readership. The more that the Left understands that their desire to punish White, conservative, rural gun owners like myself with all kinds of gun control laws will inevitably end up putting Black men in prison for non-violent offenses, the better off the right of all the People to keep and bear arms will be.

Jan 19, 2022 12:30 PM ET