There was a nearly 60% increase in gun sales among Black men and women during the first six months of 2020, according to a survey from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
This figure was the highest of any other demographic that was surveyed and represented a huge growth in firearm interest among Black people compared to last year.
The firearm association released an infographic explaining the results from an online survey of gun retailers over the first six months of 2020. The results revealed that more than 50% of gun shop owners' customers were white men while about 9% were Black men and about 5% were Black women.
The foundation, which heavily supported Republicans in elections this year, said there have been 10.3 million firearm transactions through the first six months of 2020 and that there was a 95% increase in firearm sales compared to the same period last year. The figures for ammunition sales are similarly higher compared to 2019.
"Firearm and ammunition retailers have been busy, really busy, during the first six months of 2020 – and they are not just selling to what many thought to be the traditional customer, older white males – as new NSSF research shows customers of all demographic backgrounds are part of this ongoing sales surge," wrote Jim Curcuruto, NSSF director of research and market development.
Yahoo News spoke with a Black gun shop owner and a number of Black gun owners who explained their theories for the increase in purchases.
“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,” Cargill told Yahoo.
“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,” he added.
Others, like Whitney Davis, told Yahoo that if everyone owned guns it would make the world an "equal playing field.”
The Yahoo report notes that, historically, Black gun owners have rarely been treated the same way white gun owners have. In the 1800s, states like South Carolina passed laws directly banning or prohibiting Black people from owning weapons.
Since Black people gained the right to own guns, they continue to face more scrutiny than gun owners of other races.
“I realize in this country a long time ago, Black people weren't even allowed to own guns,” Davis said to Yahoo.
“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. So I wanted to fulfill what my ancestors weren’t able to do in the past,” she added.