Right now, millions of African-Americans are buying guns. They’re no different than people of other ethnicities buying guns, for the most part. In fact, there aren’t really as many differences between the races as the media would like for us to believe.
African-Americans buying guns tend to do so for the same reason anyone else does. They want to protect themselves and their families. That’s a universal concern we can all unite behind.
In fact, those concerns have driven black men and women to purchase guns at a faster rate than anyone else.
And while various demographic groups are buying guns in 2020, African-Americans account for the highest increase in gun purchases of any group.
“The highest overall firearm sales increase comes from Black men and women, who show a 58.2% increase in purchases during the first six months of 2020 versus the same period last year,” Jim Curcuruto, NSSF director of research and market development, wrote in his report. “Bottom line is that there has never been a sustained surge in firearm sales quite like what we are in the midst of.”
To be sure, the general unrest, particularly in predominantly black neighborhoods, is probably at least somewhat of a factor.
However, according to Michael Cargill, a black man and gun store owner in Texas, there’s more to it than that.
In the past few months, Cargill says he’s seen triple the amount of people coming into his store wanting to purchase firearms, and he’s noticed a surge in Black customers in particular. Cargill believes Black people are buying more guns because they are getting more educated on the history of gun control. “They’re understanding that gun control first started in the 1800s … so people are realizing that every time there’s a gun law that’s targeting a certain group of people, it’s usually the African-American group,” he said. “So they’re saying, with everything going on, we’ve got to make sure that we’re legal with this firearm. We’re going to make sure we know what the law is, we want to make sure we know where we can take it, where we can’t take it.”
History shows that gun control laws have always been unfavorable to Black Americans. Even before America was a country, Black people were banned from owning guns. “The first gun control law in the territory that is now the United States was passed in Virginia in 1640,” journalist Daniel Rivero noted in a 2016 Splinter article. “It explicitly banned black people from owning guns, even if they were not slaves.”
He’s not wrong, either.
Whitney Davis of Houston admits that learning more about Black history is the reason why she recently purchased two guns for herself. “I realize in this country a long time ago, Black people weren’t even allowed to own guns,” she said.
Davis’s dad grew up on a ranch in rural Texas, where over his lifetime he accrued a lot of guns, but it wasn’t until Davis learned more about her Black ancestors that she felt motivated to buy guns of her own. “So just like people promote that our ancestors died for us to vote, they also died for us to be able to carry guns as well,” she said. “So I wanted to fulfill what my ancestors weren’t able to do in the past.”
It’s the absolute truth, unfortunately.
Look, I’d like to say that race has never played a factor in how this country does things, but that’s simply not true. We have a flawed history, to say the least. Yet America is a country that continually strives to be better. Those past mistakes are over. They’re history.
Now, I personally embrace the new African-American gun owners. They have a right to keep and bear arms, same as anyone, and since they’re historically more likely to be targeted by racial violence as well as violent crime in general than I am, I applaud their decision.
My only hope is that while we’re trying to purge our society of anything that remotely smacks of racism, perhaps gun control can be thrown on the pyre as well.