There was a time when the black community and concealed carry did not mix. There were two main reasons behind this. The first reason was more than a century of Democrat-sponsored legislation aimed at keeping blacks unarmed. These efforts began before the Civil War, continued through the Reconstruction era and marked 20th-century attempts to control blacks through Jim Crow laws and other schemes. The second reason the black community and concealed carry did not mix was the fact that guns were chiefly viewed as a means by which criminals plied their trade in inner cities around the country. (If the reader understands that this second reason was an outgrowth of the attitude inculcated by Democrat-sponsored gun control, he or she will see that getting rid of the gun control was a key to changing attitudes toward guns in the black community.)
But we are living in the 21st century—a time when Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate, and in state legislatures across the country, have been wiping out the old gun control laws where they find them. And one of the results of this has been a robust growth in gun ownership and a record-setting surge in concealed carry. Moreover, blacks have been one of the demographics leading the growth in concealed-carry permit issuance.
Now, fast-forward to 2017 and pastors and church-goers are not the only black community members viewing guns in such a positive light.While the precise date of the new attitude toward concealed carry in the black community is hard to pinpoint, it is entirely fair to note that 2015 was a breakout year.
For example, on April 2, 2015, NPR reported that views on concealed carry were turning positive among black citizens. And they pointed to a PEW Research Poll showing “54 percent of blacks now see gun ownership as a good thing,” which is up from the “29 percent” who saw it that way two years ago.
Then came the attack on nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C.—an attack that proved to be a watershed moment regarding blacks and firearms for self-defense.
It was June 17, 2015, when Dylann Roof opened fire during a bible study, killing nine unarmed worshippers in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. It was roughly two weeks later—June 30, 2015—when some black pastors began saying black parishioners would be safer if their churches had guns.
Reuters pointed to Greater Bible Way Temple’s Bishop Ira Combs, a pastor in Jackson, Mich., who preaches with two armed men sitting close at hand. Combs referenced the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church attack, saying, “If they had security, the assailant would not have been able to reload. All of us here are not going to turn the other cheek while you shoot us."
Combs was not alone in his assessment. Other black pastors also spoke to the safety they and their congregations derive from firearms.
And now, a new dawn is upon us—black women are leading the charge in gun ownership.Now, fast-forward to 2017 and pastors and church-goers are not the only black community members viewing guns in such a positive light. The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) just released a study showing record growth in concealed carry in America and pointed out that blacks constitute one of the groups leading the record growth.
According to the CPRC, “the number of permit holders grew by a record 1.83 million” in 2016. Moreover, 2016 was the fourth year in which concealed-carry permits were increasingly being issued for persons other than white males. Women got permits at twice the rate of males during the time period of 2012 to 2016 and, during that same time period, “the number of black people with permits increased 30 percent faster than the number of whites with permits.”
That is a seismic shift.
And now, a new dawn is upon us—black women are leading the charge in gun ownership.
On July 23, 2017, Breitbart News reported that black women in Chicago were responding to the city’s non-stop violence by acquiring firearms and pursuing concealed-carry permits. The logic of this approach is unassailable: They are their own first line of defense, and the best tool for such defense is a handgun possessed by someone who knows how to use it.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.