black gun owners range train
(AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

“The more Black men and women exercise their right to carry, the more police will have to get used to it,” [Narren] Brown said to a room full of NAAGA members. 

Once classroom learning was over, the group moved on to the shooting range. 

Julian Merritt, 36, and his father traveled with Brown to the Johnson event. For Merritt, who calls himself a progressive, NAAGA is a symbol that gun ownership – and gun organizations – aren’t just for conservatives and white people. 

“People of color do own firearms, he said. “The Second Amendment should be equal, whether you’re white, Black, Hispanic, Asian – the whole spectrum.

— Melody Mercado in ‘The Second Amendment should be equal’: The National African American Gun Association group continues to grow (paywall)

58 COMMENTS

  1. “The more Black men and women exercise their right to carry, the more police will have to get used to it,”

    Generalizing, the more people who carry, . . .

    Is the “grey man” or “let the tiger eat me last” syndrome counterproductive? The more we hide our light under a bushel the easier it is for the gun-controllers to drive us into obscurity. Conversely, the more we stand-up to be counted the harder we make it for them to marginalize us. ALL of us; including us OFWGs.

    Suppose we (print, distribute and) display in our driver’s side window a modest decal “CWP” or “I Carry”. Cops will get used to looking for the decal and won’t be surprised when we tell them we are carrying or hand them our CWPs with D/L. That should reduce tensions and advertise our good character and rapport as a class.

    The public might start to notice and wonder. It’s not that we are advertising or provoking (such as might be the case with a Molon Labe or NRA bumper sticker). Ostensibly, our purpose is merely to notify cops; but the message comes thru that there are more carriers than they think.

    (A counter-argument is that it’s an invitation to gun thieves. However, we should be CARRYING, not leaving our guns in cars. This idea shouldn’t be much of an “invitation” to breaking into our cars in a permissive state such as PA, but admittedly would be in a NON-permissive state such as IL where drives are constantly forced to leave their guns in their cars due to GFZs.)

    • Admittedly, I’ve only been stopped twice in the 15 years I’ve been carrying, but, both times, I had my license, registration, and CCW in my left hand, positioned at the 10 o’clock position on the wheel (my right at the 2 o’clock) when they got to my truck.

      Shock or surprise on neither of the attending officers’ faces.

      Why do so many think that dealing with the police is a puzzle?

      • “Why do so many think that dealing with the police is a puzzle?”

        I think it’s going to be a question of culture-shock.

        What’s your (gentle reader) personal culture?
        What’s the personal culture of the cop walking up behind your car?

        Each cop is a product of HIS individual culture. A NM or VT cop isn’t going to blink at the sight of a gun on a driver’s hip. Conversely, a NYC, NJ, MD cop will become incontinent instantaneously. Why? Because the latter can’t conceive of anyone not a uniformed officer bearing arms.

        Any remedial education program has to start somewhere. Perhaps it would be best to start it some place where it is NOT needed; say, NM and VT. From there it can easily migrate to adjacent states, say AZ and NH, and so forth. Eventually, word would spread to NV and PA whereupon cops in CA and NJ will begin to become aware of the phenomena; i.e., there really ARE motorists who drive packing. Moreover, they will read on their cop-bloggs that their colleagues in other states regard the open display of a decal/CWP/holster the equivalent of a “white hat”. This guy has nothing to hide; therefore, he’s not the one-in-a-million I probably have to worry about.

        Won’t happen overnight. Won’t happen quickly in the Won’t-Issue states even after they are forced to go Shall-Issue.

        The point is, it won’t happen at all if we try to persist in a “grey man”/”let the tiger eat me last” shadow.

        • Not sure how Wild West frontier / everything-goes NV is a third-level “eventually” for gun acceptance; and Bernie Sandersville is a no-blink gun culture, but OK.

    • I think I understand your intent but I worry about the precedent it would set. We should not have to mark ourselves or our property that we are armed.

      I don’t even think we should be required to notify police that we’re armed unless under arrest. We are innocent until proven guilty. I don’t assume police are going to randomly shoot me so why should they assume that of me?

      Our right to self protection is God given and constitutionally recognized so cops shouldn’t have get used to us being armed just like they shouldn’t have to get used to our other rights.

      As for guns in vehicles, your vehicle is your property if someone wants to keep a gun in their vehicle it doesn’t bother me. Police keep multiple long guns in their vehicles and a sidearm or two on them. I’m sure some carriers keep a side arm on them and a long gun in their vehicle for defense, plinking, or hunting.

      • “I think I understand your intent but I worry about the precedent it would set.”

        Good; you understand where I’m coming from with my “decal” idea.

        Yes, it’s true. Everything we do, including breathing, is a part in a grand complicated equation. Our problem is that, as humans, we tend to get stuck in ideas that eventually become outmoded. Or, they don’t apply well to differing circumstances. So, we ought to always remain open to reconsidering our own habits of thought.

        Gun owners in Europe strive to fly under the radar. As long as they don’t make any waves they think they will enjoy a few more years to enjoy their hobby. Maybe that does work for them; would it work for us?

        Gays did the best they could to fly under the radar. As long as they remained in the closet they wouldn’t be persecuted. That worked, sort of, until the AIDS epidemic required that they enlist the cooperation of the community at large. By then, the stage had been set for a more diverse and inclusive society.

        Did our fathers and grandfathers do us any favor by keeping their long-guns in the closet? Not standing up for the right to bear handguns in public? How did that really work out for us, their descendants?

        I will grant that there IS a percentage of the PotG who, for various reasons, really need to keep their sentiments about the 2A to themselves. What the rest of us have to ask ourselves is: Am I really somebody who NEEDS to keep quiet about gun rights?

        If a majority of us won’t stand-up and be counted then the right to arms won’t survive to our descendants. Are we PotG who want to enjoy our hobby for the remainder of our own short term here on earth? Or, do we take seriously the doctrine that a well-regulated militia (read we the People) is necessary to the security of a free state?

        Do we hope to leave our descendants with our (de-MIL’ed) collection; or, a free state? When we have figured out our values with respect to this question then we will have our own personal answer.

        (Entirely incidentally, I’m not especially bothered by the risk of guns leaking from our cars to the black market. If a gun-owner is concerned enough he can bolt a gun-safe to his floor boards. If not, his gun might be stolen. Likewise, it might be stolen from his house. If the volume of guns circulating in the black-market is 10,000 or 50,000 what difference will another gun make? If the criminal justice system can’t be bothered to prosecute felon-in-possession why should I assume the burden?

        It just occurs to me. How about the decal says: “I carry; I don’t leave it in the car”? That message might discourage a thief from breaking your windows.)

        • I agree that gun owners/carriers ought not be embarrassed about firearms rights, interest, lawful use etc. I wouldn’t personally put a decal on my vehicle because I would rather choose the time and place where that was brought up.

          I think previous generations took for granted common sense and decency individually and in government. My grandmother was a little girl during the depression and she said they didn’t even lock their doors most of the time. With that attitude I think came the ‘you don’t need to carry a gun mentality.’

          Reasoning with others about gun rights will only get so far. I think our society is at a point where too many people would just rather not defend themselves. They would rather someone else take care of them instead. Other people want to be the only ones with guns. No amount of debate will change either of those groups. One is too lazy/apathetic, the other is too power hungry.

    • I think notification on the outside of a vehicle that firearms are inside will lead to a lot of broken windows and stolen firearms.

      • I think – but I’m not sure – that the problem is proportional to the permissiveness/prohibitiveness of the geography. Where I live I almost never see a GFZ sign. So, I never leave my gun in my car. Odds of finding a gun left in a parked car HERE are relatively low.

        Conversely, in a place like IL I imagine there are GFZ signs everywhere. Permitted carriers have little choice but to leave their guns in their cars. In such a place I wouldn’t advertise that I’m a carrier because it would – effectively – advertise a high probability of finding a gun in my car.

        There is another problem with leaving a gun in a car; especially in an prohibitive environment. One of my instructors in PA, a retired cop, acknowledged that he DID often leave his gun in his car. Moreover, his WIFE often drove HIS CAR into NJ and would discover herself to be in illegal possession.

        A gun owner in VT has almost no problems. His kids can’t drive if they are under 16 and they can carry if they are over 16. They don’t need a permit. No problem if they live near the NH boarder; but what if they live on the Canadian, NY, MA border?

        It’s hard enough for me to remember not to carry across the NJ boarder when I carry on my person. I could NEVER keep track of my possession status if I ever left a gun in my car. This is to say nothing of my wife’s possession status.

        You, Larry in TX, may be just fine leaving a gun in your car. I do not propose to tell YOU, nor anyone else in particular, what YOUR PERSONAL best practice should be. Nevertheless, I think it’s incumbent upon all of us to think about best practices and call-out the risk to our brother/sister PotG to recognize the risks of practices that are often/occasionally problematic.

      • It seemed during the Cliton administration an NRA sticker was a cop magnet. First question out of their most humble mouths , “YOU GOT ANY FIREARMS ” and boy they’d lookem over, measuring, playing with the safety’s, sticking a stick down the barrel ( shotgnm) , yeah buddy, just a hoping for a reason to take it away.
        I quit with the stickers.

  2. That’s the wrong approach. As it is police assume every interaction may result in their death. That’s why they behave the way they do. One of the reasons anyway.

    Ideally what should happen is armed and responsible citizens should behave like armed and responsible citizens and not eagerly escalate every police interaction with attitude, combativeness and an attempt to flee. Maybe just try to be sober when leaving the house for a start?

    I know, my privilege is showing.

    • So every improper or questionable interaction when law enforcement made a “mistake” resulting in someone getting killed started with someone (suspect) not being sober and leaving their home? GTFOH douchebag.

    • “That’s the wrong approach. As it is police assume every interaction may result in their death. . . . . Ideally what should happen is armed and responsible citizens should behave like armed and responsible citizens and not eagerly escalate every police interaction . . . ”

      Whenever you are pulled-over there is a greater-than-zero probability that your possession of a gun will come up. It’s NOT within YOUR control. As in the Castillo case, the cop was looking for a car (on a reported violent felony) that matched the driver’s car (IIRC).

      If you disclose from the outset that you are carrying then it’s not a surprise. If the cop discovers you are carrying (frisking you or noticing a cartridge on the floor, etc.) then becoming startled is far more likely to precipitate a fast downward spiral of misunderstandings.

      How each of us handles disclosure is, to some extent, dictated by state law (duty to disclose, or not) and our own taste. I disagree with a blanket statement that voluntary disclosure is the “wrong” approach as a blanket assertion. If your state has no duty to disclose and your preference is not to disclose then that’s your prerogative.

      In any case, it is imperative to deal with cops in a civil and peaceful manner. No one will ever win an argument with a cop at roadside. Especially so if one’s circumstances are compromised in any way. One vastly improves one’s odds of getting off with a warning by taking the high road. If you wish to object you can always respond that you plan to go to court. On this point I entirely agree with you.

      • Here’s my method of dealing with a traffic stop by a cop.

        First, I pull my truck (has a crew cab) over to a safe lane (if I’m on a freeway or multi-lane highway) and turn on my flashers so the cop knows I intend to cooperate with the stop and I try my best not to weave around. Then I finish off my tall boy. Then stash it under the driver’s seat. Then I toss out of the passenger window my MaryJane and the dime bag from which I rolled it.

        Then when I come to a stop I roll down all my windows, especially the darkly tinted rear windows so the cop can see who is and isn’t in the vehicle and so I can clear out the residual MJ smoke before he comes up on my driver’s side window.

        Then if I can still find it, I put my empty hands on the steering wheel, left hand at the 10 o’clock position and right at 2 o’clock and try not to seem inebriated (rare, but it does happen). Then I treat the now completely oblivious cop with respect for the rest of the encounter.

        Hey, works for me.

        Just kidding. I simply treat the officer with respect and let him know that I carry 9mm in my pistol bag which I’ve already placed on the dash and ask how the officer would like to handle the situation as my DL and CCL are in the same bag but in a different zipper compartment.

        I’ve never had a problem with an officer once I declare that I’m armed and once I let him control the situation. Works for him.

    • What privilege? Don’t see any from here! The whole BS thing about privilege is just that! A BS ranting from leftists designed to divide the races and the country. I don’t adhere to it and won’t tolerate it! If I carry my firearm with me traveling, it’s my business. The police based on what source you read from should or should not be told if you’re stopped for a traffic violation. Might depend on the state I’m in. Some, like NJ, are outright hostile and don’t need to know. Others more friendly and supportive, I might. A sticker I might propose is “If you loot, I will shoot!” It implies you are armed, but doesn’t guarantee it.

  3. NAAGA? Really? Deliberately done to resemble the “forbidden” word? I’m at a loss.

  4. Moving from the generality of ‘black people’ (because every race is diverse within itself), who, among black people are recently discovering their 2A rights?

    I have read this awakening is strong among black women. Conservative black men and rural black men seem to have a long tradition of owning and carrying. So, who are the new comers? Young, urban black men (don’t conflate with gang-bangers)? BLM supporters? Suburban black families? It would be interesting to know and maybe useful to firearms companies for marketing.

    The good news is that the 2A is enjoying increasing popularity across racial, geographical, and political spaces. It is booming an increasingly common ground upon which we can stand together.

    • The guy quoted in the article says he’s a progressive, so probably a college-educated city dweller. Whether he grew up in that camp is another question, though.

      Second Amendment advocacy and progressivism are mutually exclusive mindsets. It would be interesting to see if he gets reeducated into a guns-for-me-not-for-thee position back on the plantation (could be there already, for all his fine words) or educates himself out of the progressive camp entirely (which is what could be happening right now).

  5. “ The More Black People Exercise Their Gun Rights, the More Police Will Have to Get Used to It”

    No….The More People Exercise Their Gun Rights, the More Police Will Have to Get Used to It

    This is THE kinda thing that spurs on all these claims of racism.

    • Your point is well taken. Nevertheless, I think there is a legitimate distinction to be made between advocacy uttered:
      – “in school”
      – “outside of school”

      When talking with one another inside the “cloister” of an affinity group we need to speak plainly and forcefully. Suppose, for example, a meeting of the Sons of Switzerland. Someone might say: ‘We have to start (stop) yodeling because [it heightens awareness / stigmatizes us].’

      Yet, when speaking to a mixed audience it would be better to say: ‘We should encourage (discourage) yodeling because [it’s good for deep breathing / annoys other people].

      Try applying such a template to other examples and see if it resonates.

      • Right. If Julian Merritt’s frame of reference is one in which most black people don’t think they’re “allowed” to carry — for reasons of social acceptance or intolerant authorities — it makes perfect sense that he’d use this language to advocate for exercising 2A rights.

        Problem is, we (white males and gun owners in general) are so used to being attacked in the media, where the only people “of color” who bear arms are explicitly pointing them at us with implicit encouragement from the progressive establishment, that our frame of reference for a statement like this doesn’t match the one in which it was likely uttered.

        Then there’s the source to be considered. USA Today or any other “mainstream” outlet is never going to place a topic like this in anything other than the “racist white people” narrative frame. Perpetuating spurious perceptions of racism is their duty and their obsession.

    • Geez such idiotic claptrap…a LOT of black folks legally carry in NW Indiana. And Cook county in ILL. Don’t act like an idiot. Black,white,tan or yellow. Don’t fight with the po-leece. Don’t whine. Don’t be a punk. Don’t advertise(sorry MarkPa). That makes you a TARGET for theives. No gun anything on your vehicle. I am NOT a fan of 5-0. I’m neutral…

      • “Don’t advertise(sorry MarkPa).” No offense taken; we are here to discuss/debate.

        But why do you argue to NOT advertise? What’s your reasoning? Perhaps you will convince me, or someone else.

        I have imagined (confirm or correct) that in IL there are lots of GFZs such that a carrier often has no legal alternative but to leave his gun in his car. Naturally, if you routinely travel between IN and IL you find yourself in this situation.

        Perhaps lots of people in NW IN get their cars broken into.

        In such scenarios as these, I agree. Is there some other consideration I haven’t thought of?

        I live on the boarder between heaven and hell; PA is nearly heaven and NJ is nearly hell. My expectation is that no thief in PA would anticipate a high probability that a car displaying some evidence of being driven by a gun owner would find a gun inside. Nor would a thief expect to find a car with PA plates parked in NJ to have a gun inside.

        • Maybe a permanent decal isn’t the answer.

          But how about a window sticky you could apply to the rear driver side window when you were carrying. If a GFZ requires leaving the weapon in the car, just pull the sticker and keep it in the glove box.

  6. The more experienced among us must continue to be welcoming and encouraging to new gun owners, regardless of who they are. I have always made it a practice when I see clear newbies at the range to offer them a chance to shoot my guns, safely monitored of course. People rarely refuse such chances and I believe it helps them feel welcome. That’s the way to win converts to our side on guns at lease.

    Personally I find it a bit sad that they all seem surprised to be offered such chances. But the more we welcome and encourage, the better we will all be. I also love seeing the grins of people who take me up on the chance to fire the Garand and hear the *PING* of legend when the clip pops out.

    • ” I always offer them a chance to shoot my gunms.”
      Wouldn’t it be cheaper to have them shoot your targets?

    • “Personally I find it a bit sad that they all seem surprised to be offered such chances.”

      Not really a gun thing. Unless you are destitute or have the appearance of being destitute (an unlikely assumption about another customer at a hobby venue like a range), would you not be surprised if a total stranger offered you food, clothing, cars, furniture, tools, or other property?

      Personally, I’d find sad (or rather disgusting) the sort of entitled POS who was not surprised / grateful to be offered the chance to enjoy something he had no part in earning.

    • “But the more we welcome and encourage, the better we will all be.“

      Good man, lead by persuasion and respect.

    • Yeah, this guy is either going to educate himself out of progressivism PDQ or (if he’s not already there) be reeducated right back into “only the special/approved among us get to have these, and the rest of you can eat dirt.”

      Side note: I used to think I was progressive, or at least “liberal,” but after watching what the people who called themselves by those names did, I found out that I wasn’t one of them at all. They’re wearing those fine-sounding, noble words like dead skin masks.

  7. “The More Black People Exercise Their Gun Rights, the More Police Will Have to Get Used to It”

    That’s ridiculous. Carry rights have to be eliminated for the convenience of the police, because they are way more important than we are.

  8. I eagerly provided training to my half African-American half Japanese realtor after some lilly White asshole who was tresspasing on her property stuck a pistol in her face and threatened her. I confess that it was rather enjoyable because she is almost a ringer for a young Pam Grier. If you don’t know who Pam Grier is, that will cost you your mancard.

  9. I’m all about it, except for that fact that they’ll probably still vote for progressives that will ban the very guns they’re buying in the future. Hope I’m wrong and they pressure their prog polity to stop the Anti-2A rhetoric, but I wouldn’t put money on it.

    • “they pressure their prog polity to stop the Anti-2A rhetoric“

      Actually, that is occurring every day in many rural areas. West Virginia is a good example, many generational Democrats who also value their firearms.

  10. LAW ABIDING citizen’s no matter the race is safe with LAW ENFORCEMENTS all the talk is B.S. it’s just the anti gunners way of stirring UP trouble to try and benefit their agenda to removing THE Rights of Freedom, THE media only tells what THE Democraps administration wants THEM toTELL which is nothing but lies, IF ANY person regardless of race commits a crime and refused to corporate with LAW enforcement white, black, red, green, the officer’s have a duty if u run are resist, then actions must be taken, which means it’s YOUR fault deal with it.

  11. The more guns in the hands of law-abiding black people the better. Eventually they will all learn the truth. It has been Democrats that have kept them disarmed not the Republicans. And any black person who says otherwise is only hurting their credibility as a gun owner. And hurting any credibility they might have had as a supporter of the Second Amendment.

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