1770 Armory and Gun Club
Courtesy 1770 Armory and Gun Club

By Larry Keane

Anubis Heru did the math. With solid numbers, he just needed to provide education, training and space for practice to a record-high new customer base. Heru launched Denver’s 1770 Armory and Gun Club, the Mile High City’s first black-owned gun club, so the thousands of new local gun owners felt welcomed and comfortable.

“We have a huge responsibility,” Heru explained of his mission to reach an underserved community. “There’s a lot of miseducation and misinformation about black gun ownership because it’s been shown that only certain types of individuals carry firearms, and that is the furthest thing from the truth.”

Numbers Don’t Lie

The eye-popping number of 2020 was 8.4 million. That’s how many new first-time gun buyers made a literal investment of their hard-earned dollars in their Second Amendment rights. Of more than 21 million background checks run for the sale of a firearm in 2020, retailer data suggests nearly 40 percent were buying a gun for the first time.

With numbers like those, it’s no surprise the face of the American gun owner is changing fast. Women accounted for 40 percent of 2020’s overall firearm purchases.

While many in the media and antigun interest groups often drawing up a caricature of gun owners as “old white men,” the largest increase of any demographic group from 2019 to 2020 was among African Americans. Gun purchases by black men and women increased 58 percent from 2019 to 2020.

Philip Smith, President and Founder of the National African American Gun Association (NAAGA), understands why.

“We’ve seen a trend of more African Americans choosing to express their Second Amendment rights to own a firearm, especially for personal protection,” Smith explained in a press release extolling the need for safe firearm storage between his group, NSSF and Project ChildSafe®. “Purchasing a firearm is one step to protecting your family, but it also means safely storing your gun away from children, so they don’t hurt themselves.”

The historic firearm sales numbers aren’t slowing in 2021. Earlier this month, Trish Wendt, an African American woman, left the Pittsburgh Gun Show with a couple new purchases.

“I have one for home defense and one for carrying,” Wendt explained. “The others are for hunting. I have kids and we’re alone a lot, and it’s my responsibility to protect my children.”

Taking Ownership

The coronavirus pandemic, government shutdowns and economic uncertainty in 2020 led off the gun-buying surge, but riots, looting and increased community violence kept it going through the summer. Calls by politicians in communities hit hardest pronounced “defund the police.” Smith noted NAAGA saw membership increase by 2,000 each day at points during 2020. That’s their normal new membership mark for an entire year.

1770 Armory and Gun Club
Courtesy 1770 Armory and Gun Club

Cities like New York cut $1 billion from their law enforcement budget. Portland, Ore., cut their budget as well; $600 million from Chicago and the pattern continued across America. It’s no surprise that so many Americans chose to act for the security of their homes, businesses and loved ones.

In Florida, Danielle Campbell, also a black mother, recognized the severity of her situation and acted.

“A lot of us are single mothers…We’re learning that we can protect ourselves; we don’t have to be victims,” Campbell said. “People were being robbed and shot down in the street, so I decided I needed to take the safety and security of my family into my own hands.”

New Year

2020’s gun purchasing numbers show no signs of slowing down. Two million background checks were conducted for the sale of a firearm last month. One change has been the political landscape. Antigun politicians now control the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris ran on the most aggressive gun control platform in history.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters President Biden is “personally committed” to enacting stricter gun control. It will be a Herculean task to get moderate Democratic senators to agree to the gun control wish list, which includes bans on entire classes of firearms. Other forces are at play, including activists pressing lawmakers on “defund the police” promises and that drives concerns for personal safety.

“A lot of people are reaching out to us, mainly new gun owners and people who wouldn’t have considered owning a gun or firearm for their protection, have been lining up to purchase firearms and access information from our website,” said Derrick Morgan, a national leader with Black Gun Owners Association.

The firearm industry will continue partnering with local gun retailers, law enforcement and pro-Second Amendment organizations to make sure opportunities for education and training for new gun owners abound. The Second Amendment right is an American right.

 

Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

37 COMMENTS

  1. OMG three black men and one of them has a gun!!! Oh lord help us the next picture a whole bunch of black people , oh no, and there wearing mask, oh oh oh what to do? Runnnnn!!!

    • “…oh oh oh what to do? Runnnnn!!!”

      I wouldn’t blame any POC running from someone like you… 😉

  2. “Denver Gun Range Succeeds By Focusing On New, Diverse Gun Owners”

    You’re speaking the language of the Left. When they say “diverse,” they mean black, or at a minimum non-white. Don’t give their corrupted PC language any legitimacy by using it.

  3. “I wouldn’t blame any POC running from someone like you… ”

    Seemed to be sarc, to me.

    And maybe some ridicule and mockery.

  4. I did my bit last night. One of my work colleagues joined me at the smallbore range last night. He picked up the mechanics quickly and had a great time. He is a permanent resident from India and we’ve worked together for 4 years. Afterwards he was talking to the officials about joining the organization and getting his license.

  5. The only problem with so many new gun owners is that many will/can not get carry permits and must leave their firearms at home when they are away at work and the kids in school. This means it could be possible that some of these will be stolen in daytime burglaries and then on the street.
    These new owners could make it much safer by getting a dog to be home when they are not, not to mention proper storage in a gun safe or locked hidden location. This was my worry and solution years ago when I saw the light.

    • Not if you live in a constitutional carry state. But that is dumb too because by law every state is constitutional carry.
      It’s to bad the people making gunm laws cant read anything written after 1935.

      • Or if you just carry concealed and keep your damn mouth shut.

        I’m always amazed at the large number of CCW holders who rarely carry. I can say from previous experience that there is also a large number of people packing daily who do not have a permit. Not just the hoods and thugs- plenty of regular, otherwise law-abiding people who value their lives and personal safety. I bet I’m not the only one around here who packed concealed for years before “ Shall Issue” became the norm in the majority of states…

        • Nope, as a matter of fact I’ve been arrested for concealed gunm. And I’m proud of that, why? Because I was arrested exercising a constitutional right.

  6. apparently the founder of the org has a sardonic sense of humor: he literally named it to phonetically sound the same as the ‘n-word’: NAAGa! xD

    either that, or he’s simply trolling

  7. I guess that’s cool and all, but they’re still voting Democrat and still actively supporting all that entails. While I would never support laws preventing this, maybe we shouldn’t be celebrating people who hate us and want to see us dead tooling up

    • Or maybe we should be chipping away at the Dems gun control schemes from the inside through interactions like the ones in the article.

      Inclusiveness doesn’t have to be a scary word.

    • exactly……. but you see, there are people who are this dumb….. they literally celebrate the downfall of this country…. and they would MUCH rather see a group of thugs carrying than help their own demographic…..
      These are the “people” making lists with your name on it…. these are your enemies… take a nice long look….

    • Actually, Trump earned more votes from blacks last time around than any Republican in recent history. BTW- what are you doing to reach out to black/other minority gun owners or even those who don’t own to try to reason them into your way of thinking???

  8. I took my wife shooting. She’s black…do I get a fricking prize?!? BTW she’s a registered republican. I will never vote in an ILLinoyed primary so I’m not. This AIN’T a big deal in ILL or nw IND…

    • Right on my zerbra power brother!

      My wife is black ( from kenya ) and is as progun as i am. She is also extremely pro trump.

      Yes i taught her ( and my mixed children ) to safely handle a gun. I also have purchased her 2 guns and some training.

    • Nah, I have it on good authority, from the president of the United States no less, that if she didn’t vote for him than she “ain’t black”. And according to over 80% of the black community if your wife voted for Trump she’s a subhuman traitor to her own people, and therefore she’s even *worse* than a white person

  9. I’m a state certified trainer in MA. I don’t advertise, so I get referrals from my local PD and the state website, and I’m very busy. It’s been almost a 50/50 men to women ratio over the last year, but without black, Asian or Hispanic people so far. That’s because of the demographics where I live and work.

    The local public range instructors get a lot of minorities, but the range advertises and draws customers from all over SE MA. It doesn’t matter in the long run. Black people are still going to vote for the same old gun grabbers and race grifters. They just can’t help it.

    • Do you feel women are more likely to get training ? I went to a beginner class with my wife because she didn’t want to go alone. I was the only guy there.

      • Training is compulsory in MA, so I don’t know whether or not women are more likely to get training — but they’re very good students because they know what they don’t know.

        Most of my male students are very good also — no complaints from me — but I do have to spend a bit of extra time unteaching them things that they think they know but don’t.

        In any case, kudos to you and your wife.

  10. Why does race have to be interjected into this? A gun range and training catering to a certain demographic or at least projecting that?

    The POTG should be Race and Gender blind when it comes to the 2nd Amendment and all that it entails.

    I applaud someone’s business venture by opening a new range. Many obstacles including complying with OSHA and other agency regs. It’s a hard thing to get a city gov to approve as well.

    I really don’t care what Race someone is. I care if they are gun people or potential POTG.

    Perhaps I’m being grumpy but, darn, not everything has to be about color or ethnicity.

    If I’m out of line let me know.

  11. I spend a lot of time at my local gun store and the demographic change over the last 12 months has been incredible. While I’m sure many voted for Biden, I’m confident with time many will begin to vote in line with their newly exercised freedom as once you begin to exercise a right, no one is taking it away.

  12. Just what the commies need….. trained “ghetto squads”……
    “underserved” communities huh……?
    We’re talking about the same communities that are full of people who can’t even work to make their own money…. maybe, JUST MAYBE, they have underserved THEMSELVES????…..

    I can tell who owns this site…. lol…. the same people who have historically used blacks to their own advantage…..

  13. “BTW- what are you doing to reach out to black/other minority gun owners or even those who don’t own to try to reason them into your way of thinking???”

    Other than tormenting my brother-in-law, I do not attempt to “reason” with anyone who favors restrictions on guns; there is no “reasoning” with the unreasonable.

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