A new report from NBC News reveals more Black people are becoming first-time gun owners to protect themselves as hate crimes are on the rise in America.
The sale of guns to Black Americans spiked 58% in 2020, the highest bump in gun sales of any ethnic group that year, according to data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). This trend continued into 2021 -- another NSSF report says 90% of firearm retailers saw more Black customers than before, including an 87% increase in Black women.
First-time Black gun purchasers told reporters that fear of racial attacks fueled their decisions to buy a gun. They also cited current and past events, including George Floyd's murder, the Capitol insurrection in 2021, the Charleston church shooting, and more recently, the racially-motivated massacre in Buffalo, New York.
"You look at Buffalo and the feeling of ‘This could have been me’ is there. We could be the next target," Michael Moody, a federal government employee, told NBC News. "And when it’s you, what are you going to do? Are you going to run and hide? Or are you going to be able to protect yourself? Protect your family? I didn’t want a gun; I’m not a gun person. But this world has made me get one."
On top of those highly-publicized tragedies, FBI data shows that Black people were the most besieged racial group in 2020. Anti-Black hate crimes jumped nearly 40% that year, which is the most recently available statistics from the agency.
“There’s been a polarization racially and politically that’s driving that narrative for Black people purchasing guns for protection,” Philip Smith, the founder of the National African American Gun Association, says. “Folks are saying they don’t want to be out in public without a gun or they might end up like Ahmaud Arbery or Trayvon Martin or countless others who have been killed in the streets."
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