Gun ownership has been on the rise for people of color. According to a recent study, African Americans are more than twice as likely to own guns than they were in 1994. And women of color make up 14% of all female gun owners – that’s double the rate from just two decades ago! What is behind this? Why are so many people of color buying guns?
This gun ownership increase is a reflection of how many black Americans have been feeling in recent years. We have seen the violence that has been coming at us from police and citizens alike, and we feel it is time to protect ourselves. As a matter of fact, the number of officers killed by a firearm while doing their job increased from 17 in 2013 to 52 in 2016. And this was despite stricter gun laws that were put into effect during that period! There are still many people who believe that the best way to protect themselves is with a firearm, and research has shown they are correct more often than not.
According to the study, black women are owning firearms at twice the rate of white women. The top reason they give for owning a gun is safety, followed by protection not only from crime but domestic threats as well. There has been a lot of attention given to the national conversation about our relationships with men and how it impacts our sense of safety and security. For many black women, obtaining a firearm for self-defense helps them feel more empowered and confident in their personal safety.
The increase in black women owning guns has given rise to companies that target specifically them, including Black Women Gun Owners (BWGO). The group is dedicated to arming women of color with knowledge to make sure they are the first line of defense in protecting themselves, their families and communities. BWGO was founded by Gwendolyn S. Patton who says she thinks of her group as Ladies of Steel, and like us, views firearm ownership for self-defense as a means to empowerment and protection from the threat of violence.
Gwendolyn has been an outspoken advocate for gun rights, even publicly posing with firearms in an effort to show that black women own and use them as well. The group also uses its social media presence to spread the word about firearm safety, gun laws and how ownership can help keep communities safe. If you know a woman of color who is interested in learning more about gun ownership for self-defense, check out Black Women Gun Owners on Facebook!
The statistics quoted in the article are at best misleading because they appear to be aggregate numbers for all adult black women. What the author fails to mention is that many of these guns are being bought by older african american women who grew up without firearms and are now purchasing them for protection because there is a clear and present threat to their safety. To argue that black women are buying guns as a means of empowerment is nothing more than pandering by someone who has never felt the need as an african american woman for firearm ownership as a means to physical protection from those who would do them harm.