Question of the Day: How Should White Shooters Reach Out to Minorities?

As an old white guy, I’m hardly going to say there’s anything wrong with a bunch of old white guys learning how to defend themselves with a gun. As an American raised on the concept of meritocracy, I’m not going to affirm affirmative action, either. But I do wonder why there are so few people of color at firearms training schools. Actually, forget that. Who cares why? Why not make an effort to reach out to the minority communities, to get them to appreciate and exercise their Second Amendment rights, regardless of whatever cultural or legal considerations have prevented them from doing so to date? How do we, distinguished members of America’s Armed Intelligentsia, share our love of freedom and firearms with marginalized members of the non-fighting fraternity (blacks, gays, Jews, women, etc.)?

comments

  1. avatar Aaron says:

    Great question… Kenn Blanchard (The Urban Shooter) is probably the best person to direct this to. I find it interesting that despite his being calm, “cool,” compassionate and articulate, he has trouble getting his message out to the black congregations that he serves as a pastor. Not his fault, they seem very resistant, having had the “guns are bad” message ground into them for decades.
    The best medicine is what Gresham would probably call “innoculation.” Introduce the topic gently in conversation and *take them out to the range and let them shoot.*
    I took this photo in Harlem some weeks ago and put it on Flickr.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29654367@N08/5456067280/
    It’s Charlie Rangel’s office. Go figure.

  2. avatar Ralph says:

    Gays recognize that armed members of that fraternity do not get bashed and have an organization called the Pink Pistols. Jews, following the lead of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, have the JPFO. Women have numerous organizations and periodicals to support them, because women have been a critical part of the shooting fraternity since Annie Freakin’ Oakley. Where does that leave African-Americans? Are white elitists still afraid of blacks being legally armed? I kinda think so, but I don’t know. Also, RF, the demographics of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts do not parallel a lot of the USA. If you want to find black shooters, go where they are. Unfortunately, African-Americans are mostly city dwellers, and cities are notoriously hostile to self-defense and the Second Amendment.

    1. avatar TTACer says:

      Are white elitists still afraid of blacks being legally armed?

      I think you hit the nail on the head. Racists like our very own MikeB are terrified at the thought of armed minorities.

  3. Sometimes, when I go to the local shooting clinic here in Jersey, I’m the only white guy out of a dozen or so people.

    Rick of Detroit CCW is another pro gun person of color, his students seem to be very mixed. http://www.detroitccw.com/

  4. avatar Aaron S. says:

    Too many Americans of the darker tone let the color of their skin dictate how they live their lives. I’ve had so many of my friends tell me that “I’m crazy” or “Black folks don’t do that” because I pursue my interests no matter what color of people generally embrace it. Our bodies are free, but our minds are still in shackles.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      “Our bodies are free, but our minds are still in shackles.”

      Aside from being eloquent and downright poetic, can this be true? Because if it is, it’s truly depressing. Where do we go from here?

  5. Keep defending their rights loudly. Just because they aren’t yet part of gun culture 2.0 doesn’t mean that they don’t have guns, and won’t appreciate the rest of us standing up for their right to have and carry them.

    Keep advocating for permitless (Constitutional) Carry and the end of all government intrusion into the purchasing and carrying of arms on the basis that increasing costs hits the poorer harder than the rich. People of lower incomes are disproportionately people of color. Don’t be afraid to play the race card on anti-gunners. They usually think of themselves as good little liberals, and they will hate to be (accurately) termed racists when you tell them that permits and fees harm the rights of blacks and hispanics.

  6. avatar Sean Chen says:

    .22 rifles

    I take anti-gun people to an outdoor range after a one hour safety briefing at my home on both long guns and handguns. I hand them a .22 rifle and a brick of ammo (sorry, only one magazine even though I have dozens). I have a red dot on one and a 4x scope on the other. Both are sighted in for 50.

    After 20 minutes to 4 hours, they usually ask to shoot something bigger. Then I will introduce a 9mm service sized handgun. (I’d let them shoot a .22 pistol, but I don’t own one, nor care to get one). After about 100 rounds, I bring them back to the .22 rifle.

    Even if they never go back to the range, they understand the concept that guns are just metal slingshots. They don’t do anything somebody doesn’t make them do.

    Although most of them don’t turn, their stance against gun-control does begin to soften after the experience. A few have become gun owners that support “common sense gun measures”. I find it hilarious that they become frustrated when a gun they want isn’t available on the CA list, or that they find out they are limited to 10 rounds when the other 49 states have access to the normal 15 or 17 rounds.

    “That’s not fair!” or “That’s wrong!” comes out of their mouth.

    It’s funny.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Massachusetts and other states still have assinine AWB laws on the books, so Cali isn’t alone in it’s stupidity.

  7. avatar JoshG says:

    Definitely an interesting question. Without stirring up a separate debate, I think that majority attempts to attract minority support have a tainted history in this country. Right or wrong, there’s a perception that when white guys reach out and try and get you interested in something, there’s a hidden agenda.

    Instead of a coordinated approach, I think the best way is to reach out to friends and neighbors that happen to also be members of minority communities. Share your interest in shooting with them the same way you would any other interest. Invite them to participate. If they love it, great. If not, that’s fine too.

    Admittedly, whether you have friends/neighbors that are minorities is largely going to depend on geography. Growing up in Boston, the city was pretty segregated. Now I’m in Philadelphia, a city with a much larger minority population (actually, I think white is a minority within city limits). At my local range, there’s a pretty solid mix (age, sex, color, sexual orientation) any night of the week.

  8. I didn’t realize that was in Lewisburg. I’ll check it out the next time I go to my military reunion there.

  9. avatar Jeff Lynch says:

    This may have more to do with where you live than with minorities interests in shooting. Here in Houston, most indoor and outdoor ranges are used by folks of every race, creed, color and gender. We all live together, worship together and shoot together.

    In fact, during much of my recent range time in the past few months, I’ve been in the definite minority as an “old white guy” with a rifle. It’s also nice to see families shooting together and both the boys and girls becoming comfortable with firearms.

    But then I do live in Texas, where “guns & God” are an important part of our culture and the color of a man’s skin is a lot less important than how well he can shoot!

  10. avatar Mike From Philly says:

    Sean is right. We need to make it easy for black Americans to carry.

    We need to remember the history of black America and how the Klan and Law Enforcement conspired to kill any black man with a gun. This is probably the root of why black Americans seemingly don’t like guns. The little secret is … they have guns and like them as much as us pasty white guys. They just don’t talk about it for fear of the cops.

    We need to fight the felon prohibition. A very high percentage of black Americans are prohibited persons because of the felon prohibitions, many for stupid minor drug crimes. GCA68 happened because of the riots in Newark, Cleveland, and Detroit. The Dems were terrified of black men with guns and passed that law.

  11. avatar James says:

    I have a friend of a non-white persuasion that I invited out for a day of shooting on a friends property outside Detroit.

    He told me, “No offense, I like you and everything, but the last thing a brotha gonna do is go out in the woods with some white guy with a gun.”

    Kind of pissed me off.

    1. avatar Gunnutmegger says:

      Welcome to the white devil conspiracy, James.

  12. avatar Mike From Philly says:

    Here is an example of why black Americans don’t talk about guns. The cops are the Klan…..

    http://screencast.com/t/MNVUiWEG9

    When I talk guns with folks, I use the Deacons for Defense example. The Deacons used guns to protect the civil rights marchers and actions forced JFK to move to protect their civil rights.

  13. avatar BLAMMO says:

    I live in the Northeast, which is almost devoid of gun culture, oppressive laws notwithstanding. There are many, many non-members of the Armed Intelligentsia who are curious and interested in shooting but they don’t know where to start. I know. I was one.

    They casually walk into a gun shop, they’re immediately identified as a newb and get “the looks”. They are subsequently ignored, feel intimidated and walk out. Never to set foot in a gun shop again. I know it’s different elsewhere in the country.

    The shooting community does almost nothing to advance it’s interests at the grass-roots level. It’s a shame. I think a comprehensive effort by local gun shops, ranges and clubs (not the snooty ones) is what’s needed to bring these people into the fold.

  14. avatar Wes says:

    The “why” might be because most black people vote Democrat, and most Democrats, (the loud ones, anyway), hate guns. The two things kind of go together.

    The “how to” is more difficult. Sean Chen’s reply is a good example. Another one off the top of my head is shooter video games. While I don’t think violent video games turn kids into murderous crazies, (and even if they did, there’s only so much you can do about it), shooter games Do help familiarize kids, and adults, with guns. Whether it’s the shooting aspect, the design of the guns aspect, the historical aspect, etc… there’s multiple angles going on there, and all of them lead to guns being more interesting and familiar.

    So if there are any “big government is bad” people out there who supposedly promote freedom yet at the same time “want to protect people from video games” or whatever, maybe reconsider. <– That sentence didn't come out as ideal or as "charming" as I would like, but hopefully people get the general point.

  15. avatar brindle says:

    Almost every time I go to a gun store I see one or more black men (and a few women) looking over the guns, and buying guns, usually handguns. (That’s not a guess, after the first few times I started paying attention.) I know from conversations with several black co-workers that at least some black men hunt. I’m going out on a limb here and say that in this part of the country (Birmingham, Alabama) quite a few black homes have firearms. I see occasional black shooters at the public (Wildlife Management) ranges, though not many at the commercial ranges. The only serious enthusiasts I have seen or know are white. These are the people that own a number of firearms, that participate in the local matches, reload their ammunition etc. I suspect a gun is, for black families, more about self defense than entertainment.

  16. avatar Jayson R says:

    Look at any sport or hobby with a high cost of entry or participation and you won’t see many minorities involved. Activities like golf, skiing or shooting all require disposable income and spare time. Two things poor folks don’t tend to have a lot of and a lot of poor folks aren’t white.

    Two paths to increasing poor (and in tandem ethic minority) involvement would be to bring folks out of poverty or lower the cost of entry. The easier path would be to lower the cost and there are many ways charitable folks could lend aid: Ranges could do a sliding scale day (e.g. pay what you can), Safety instructors could a reduced cost workshop once a year (e.g. a free safety lecture at the local library with a blue gun), State governments could reduce the cost of a CCW license and/or renewal fee, attorney with expertise in defending justified shooting cases could do presentations for other lawyers willing to do provide low cost defenses.

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