[Jasmine] Barksdale said fear kept her away from guns for most of her life, but joined RAAFA after learning about it from a friend. Now, she does community outreach for the group, dubbing herself a “2A person” — a “Second Amendment person.”
“Like basically most Black women,” Barksdale said, “I wasn’t raised in a home that was firearm-savvy.”
Barksdale said she was motivated to pick up a gun by a different kind of fear: Being a single mom of an 8-year-old daughter.
“I have a child in my home, and I want to be able to protect her,” Barksdale said. “I don’t want to have to wait for someone else to come and advocate for me or be able to protect my home. I need to be able to do that myself.”
Phillip Smith, founder of the 40,000-member National African American Gun Association, said Barksdale’s sentiment is common, particularly in light of the volatility of the last year.
“The big elephant in the room is the pandemic,” Smith said. “The pandemic was a game-changer because that made people that are even anti-gun give me a call and ask, ‘What gun do I need to buy? Because I think there might be mob violence. There might be a shortage of food. There might be a shortage of resources. I don’t know if people will want to come to our neighborhood, we will have lawlessness in our community.’”
Citing the long history of gun control laws in the United States that impinged the rights of African Americans to own guns, Smith said that Black people are still maligned for wanting access to firearms.
— James Brown in Black, Armed, and Aware