Bay Area News Outlet Delivers Shocking Report on Gun Owner

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

It's not easy being a gun owner in the Bay Area of California. People who choose to purchase a firearm for self-defense (or any other lawful purpose) in cities like San Francisco and Oakland have to deal with everything from the state's draconian laws to the culture that views gun ownership as a problem to be solved instead of a right to be exercised and protected. 

So when I saw that NBC Bay Area ran a feature on an Oakland woman who decided she needed to start exercising her Second Amendment rights, I was prepared for the worst. I figured her story would be coupled with a quote or two from a gun control advocate proclaiming that gun ownership is a bad idea, and the wrong thing to do if you want to keep your family safe.  

What's truly shocking about the news report is that it's actually fair. In fact, there's not one bit of snark or criticism of Keisha Henderson for deciding to exercise her Second Amendment rights. 

She said someone broke into her home window in east Oakland at 4 a.m. in April. 

She said it took police hours to respond and feels city leadership is to blame.

“In my perspective, it is the policies and the laws that have been put in place by our city council,” Henderson said. 

Just on Sunday, Henderson, a former Oakland Public Safety Task Force member, said a group of three teens tried to steal a car from her driveway but ran when they saw her outside. 

She detailed the incident online explaining without accountability at the city level, the community has to respond by all means necessary.

“I’m not telling people to go out and start spraying, that’s not what I’m telling people to do but we also have to be realistic about what we are up against,” Henderson said. 

Safety concerns and what she says is a lack of action from the city is why she became a licensed gun owner last year.

“My protection comes first and so does my kids'. I cant afford to wait on OPD to arrive and I can’t afford to be on 911 call line for 10-15, 20-30 minutes when you have two to three individuals possibly with guns in their hands,” Henderson said.

Henderson's story is far from unique, but in the Bay Area it's unusual enough to be newsworthy. It's truly surprising, however, to see Henderson's decision to arm herself as (to borrow a couple of the gun control lobby's favorite words) a reasonable, common sense approach to protecting herself and her family. 

Instead of countering Henderson's quotes with an anti-gun activist or former Oakland police chief LaRonne Armstrong, who said the city needed good witnesses, not armed citizens, NBC Bay Area instead turned to a Second Amendment advocate, who told them that more than 1,000 people have taken advantage of a local gun club's training over the past few years.  

“The people in Oakland are tired of being victims and rightfully so. Who wants to leave home and not come back or have some type of say so over their own mortality,” Channon Smith, the president of the Bay Area Gun Club, said.

Retired law enforcement and gun safety professionals lead the trainings. 

The group stresses their goal is to provide the knowledge of guns and the law to keep their clients safe.

“We are not out there trying to make Rambos and Ramboettes, we don’t want people walking around looking like Blade. Protect your family, protect your wellbeing and if need be, protect one another,” Smith said.

It's refreshing to see gun ownership treated as a normal activity by any media outlet, much less one that operates in one of the most hostile environments to our Second Amendment rights in the country. I hope this isn't just a one-off, because there's a lot of other stories out there that NBC Bay Area should be covering. 

How about the high cost of obtaining a concealed carry license, for instance? Between the mandated training, psychological evaluation, and application fees, it costs more than $500 to get a carry permit in San Francisco, while in Alameda County, gun owners like Henderson have to fork over $195 before they can even schedule the mandatory, in-person interview with the sheriff's department. 

Then there are the delays in processing permits, which is also worth the news media's attention. 

San Francisco issued fourteen permits in the first year after the Bruen decision came down, and things haven't substantially improved in the months since. In Alameda County, some applicants have been waiting for more than a year for their permits, and the county is still wading through an untold number of "backlogged" applications. 

Henderson complained about having to wait for hours for police to show up at her home when it was burglarized last month, but she should be equally upset about the fact that it could be twelve months (or longer) before the local authorities get around to processing her concealed carry application if she decides she wants to carry for self-defense. 

That would actually make a pretty good series for NBC Bay Area: following a gun owner as they try to exercise their right to carry; the frustration in attempting to find an instructor who's certified by the state to teach the mandated course, the indignity of submitting to a psychological evaluation, the stress of figuring out how they're going to pay the exorbitant fees, and the ridiculous wait for the sheriff's department to approve the application. 

Of course, it would probably take a year or more to fully report that story, and that might be a challenge for a local TV station. Still, NBC Bay Area has already proven it's willing to buck the status quo by providing a fair report on a new gun owner. Now they just need to dig deeper into the problems that Henderson and others are facing when they're trying to exercise their fundamental Second Amendment rights.