Gun ownership among people of color continues to rise from hate crimes, fear of safety

gun ownership pandemic hate crimes

More people of color are reportedly buying guns because they are feeling threatened by police and rising hate crimes.

Gun advocacy groups target minorities: ABC News published a story featuring minorities who have felt racially targeted within the last year as a part of their “Rethinking Gun Violence” series.

  • The article states that gun companies have benefited from the wave of news on police brutality and anti-Asian violence since the start of the pandemic.
  • It cites research from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which found that 40% of the guns sold between 2019 and 2020 overall were sold to first-time gun buyers.
  • It also found large increases in gun purchases among minorities: 58.2% among Black people, 43% among Asians and 49% among Latinos.
  • “People were buying those guns, primarily out of concern for their own personal safety,” National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Director of Public Affairs Mark Oliva told ABC News.
  • Gun groups also set their sights on increasing gun ownership among people of color to offset the slow growth of white gun ownership. In order to reach their new target audience, they boosted marketing efforts and the number of POC gun advocates to connect with potential Black, Asian and Hispanic gun owners.
  • “It’s becoming a little bit more difficult now for some of those who might want to paint gun owners as old male, pale, stale,” said Oliva. “Today’s gun owner does not necessarily look like me anymore. They look like the rest of America because they are the rest of America.”
  • For example, the National African American Gun Owners Association (NAAGA) told ABC NewsOne that they have seen about 1,000 new members every month in light of recent police brutality events.

Weapons of self-defense: The article also spotlighted a few of those first-time gun buyers who felt threatened by police killings, anti-Asian hate crimes and Trump-era rhetoric.

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  • Clyde, 69, said he felt threatened as an elderly Japanese American living in Northern California. So he bought his first handgun and became a member of the Asian Pacific American Gun Owners Association.
  • “I don’t go out looking for trouble,” he said. “But to ignore the inconvenient truth that Asians are targets isn’t going to stop the attacks.”
  • Nikki Duncan, a Black woman who is a member of NAAGA and the Strong Arms Gun Club, said she joined these groups to help her understand more about owning a weapon for self-defense. She said she bought a gun after seeing recent trends in police brutality.
  • “I have two daughters,” she said. “I wanted them both to know that it’s OK for you to own a weapon and it’s OK to have them in defense of your home.”
  • Ruben Garcia, a Puerto Rican man based in Florida, said anti-Latino and anti-immigrant rhetoric “during Trump’s time” motivated him to buy a gun to help him protect himself and his family.
  • “I encourage other minorities every chance I get, to get their licenses and to get a firearm,” Garcia said. “This is your Second Amendment right, your right as an American.”

Very few benefits: However, the article also reported that anti-gun groups found very few benefits to owning a gun.

  • “Guns are rarely used to kill criminals or stop crimes,” Executive Director of the Violence Policy Center Josh Sugarmann said. “This is a myth essentially peddled by the industry since time immemorial.”
  • Recent studies show that more guns do not stop more crimes. More guns lead to more crimes, including rapes, murders, among others, according to Scientific American.
  • Pro-gun advocates used research from 1997 that claimed murder rates decreased as states passed concealed carry laws. However, researchers found contradictory information in 2017 that showed states with laxer gun permit laws had similar or higher rates of murder and rape than states with stricter gun permit laws.

Featured Image via National Shooting Sports Foundation | NSSF

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