“Trump’s Victory Has Fearful Minorities Buying Up Guns” trumpets a headline on NBCNews.com. Reporter Ben Popken spoke with gun store owners and customers in Virginia, Georgia, and Texas. Contrary to many expectations, there’s been a bump in firearms sales since the election of Donald Trump. The new sales are being driven by market segments that haven’t in the past comprised a lot of gun buyers: black Americans and gays. Yolanda Scott is one of them.
Yolanda Scott is upgrading the crowbar she keeps in her purse to a small-caliber pistol.
Scott, an African-American, is one of many minorities who have been flocking to gun stores to protect themselves, afraid Trump’s victory will incite more hate crimes.
Gun store owners told NBC News that since November 8 they’re seeing up to four times as many black and minority customers — and black gun groups are reporting double the normal number of attendees at their meetings since the election….
“It’s best that I be proactive,” said Scott, a fiery 49-year-old financial analyst. “I know where I live.”
I can’t say that I’ve ever seen the word “fiery” used as an adjective for the subject “financial analyst.” Also: crowbar? Really? Anyway . . .
Earl Curtis, owner of Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly, Virginia, confirmed an “uptick” in sales after the election driven by black customers. They were, as he put it, “shell-shocked,” looking to buy a firearm for the first time “to protect themselves from ‘race riots and being attacked by racists.'”
In sunny Austin, Texas, Mike Cargill, owner of Central Texas Gun Works who is black himself, reported a large increase in African-Americans buying guns, along with Muslim, Hispanic, and LGBT patrons. (It isn’t quite clear how Mr. Cargill knows that a given patron is gay or a practicing Muslim, since those attributes aren’t always obvious, nor are they required on ATF form 4473.)
Reporter Popken doesn’t spend much time relaying what these new buyers say on the subject of firearms freedom. (Ms. Scott is the only actual purchaser quoted.) Instead, he talks about the fear that blacks, gays, and others apparently feel as the result of President-Elect Trump’s election, attempting to justify that fear as rational.
The evidence of post-election “racial tensions” Popken adduces are vaporous. Popken breathlessly cites reports of harassment from LGBT people coming into the Southern Poverty Law Center, without mentioning that organization’s checkered past (e.g., this SPLC take-down published by The Nation, a left-wing journal that isn’t exactly on the Koch Brothers’ Xmas list). Nor does Popken relay the types of allegations made.
Popken tries to provide some context to Ms. Scott’s purchase of a firearm (I guess, in part, to justify it). He mentions that “as recently as 1987” a group of white supremacists marched in a county that neighbors her home city of Alpharetta. I don’t mean to make y’all feel old or anything, but 1987 was twenty-nine years ago. In fact, 1987 is closer to Democrat George Wallace’s “Segregation Forever” inaugural address in 1963 than it is to November 2016.
As President Barack Obama once said, “Come on.”
So while it appears that there is, indeed, a bit of trepidation in some communities after the election of Donald Trump, a healthy chunk of that fear is being driven by politically-motivated pieces like Mr. Popken’s meant to encourage that kind of hysteria. But if one of the unintended consequences of this fear is that more of America’s law-abiding citizenry become gun owners, then so much the better for all of us. After all, getting someone to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes is a rather effective tool of persuasion.