Gun ownership within Black communities is on the rise. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has reported that gun purchases by Black Americans rose by nearly 60% in the first half of 2020. Many believe that this recent spike in gun ownership is caused by incidents of police brutality and an uncertain political climate. For example, the National African American Gun Association saw their membership grow to 30,000 members after the death of Philando Castile.
“We are arming ourselves for self-defense. We are not arming ourselves to go out and attack. We just want to live our lives peacefully with our families and loved ones and we just don’t want to be attacked," National African American Gun Association President Philip Smith added.
The spike in Black gun ownership was also partially spurred on by the pandemic. As Americans received $1,400 stimulus checks, many people went out and bought guns. In fact, federal background checks for gun owners reached an all-time high in March.
“Honestly, last March was absolutely insane,” gun store owner Tiffany Teasdale told Forbes.
“We had a two-hour wait almost daily to just get into our store.”
Despite a recent spike in Black gun ownership, Black Americans still make up a fraction of the larger gun-owning population. The Pew Research Center reports that Black Americans make up 24% of the country's gun-owning population. Meanwhile, white Americans make up 36% of the nation's gun-owning population.
Moving forward, the rise in gun ownership could come to a halt. Last week, President Joe Biden signed six executive orders strengthening gun restrictions. These executive orders come as the nation mourns mass shootings in South Carolina, Georgia, Texas and Colorado.
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