The Second Amendment applies to every American, and CNN reports that since the election of Donald Trump, black Americans have been taking full advantage of that fact.
According to the news network, the National African American Gun Association has doubled its membership since Election Day; the group now has more than 18,000 members nationally.
Gun store owners have noticed a remarkable uptick in black customers, too. One Florida store owner told CNN that despite his shop being in a black neighborhood, his customers had been primarily white men until recently. He said things shifted after Trump was inaugurated. Another gun seller in Ohio found the same, noting a sudden influx of elderly black women frequenting his shop.
Justin Clyde, who manages a gun store in Atlanta, Georgia, said that he was happy to see a new type of gun buyer that wasn’t the “40-year-old plus white guy.” He said having black customers in his store and firing range “makes it more fun, more dynamic, and it’s pretty cool.”
Unlike during the early years of the Obama administration, when gun sales rose dramatically, overall sales of firearms and ammunition have fallen under the Trump administration. Gun store owners say this is due to citizens’ perceptions of each man’s attitudes towards guns. Many, the weapons dealers say, believed that Obama wanted to make it harder to buy guns, and so people stocked up. With Trump, no one has that fear.
A different sort of fear is stoking black gun sales National African American Gun Association president Philip Smith says, “Two years ago, fringe groups were just that: fringe groups. But now, those fringe groups are kind of like, ‘It’s cool to be racist,’ and … our community sees that, and it scares us.”
National African American Gun Association member Douglas Jefferson added, “There’s really a confluence of things that are going on. Of course we know there was the election that happened last year. And we’ve seen incidents of police shootings, we’ve seen incidents of people that were attacked by supporters of a certain presidential candidate, and people are worried out there.”
It would seem that people have good reason to be worried. The Southern Poverty Law Center found that in just the first 10 days after the November election, 867 cases of hateful harassment were reported. Last week, Bloomberg reported a 42 percent rise in hate crimes in New York City. And, on top of those numbers, is of course the ever-rising tide of police shootings.
With all of these new weapons in the hands of the public, the National African American Gun Association and the firearms dealers CNN interviewed stressed the importance of safety. The Association offers classes for first-time gun owners, helping them to navigate their state and local gun laws while also teaching them proper shooting techniques.
Philip Smith says he is happy to have so many first-time gun owners in his group, saying that he fully supports those that look at the state of things and say, “You know what, let me get a gun just in case something happens, just to make sure.”