Racial Tensions in the U.S. Are Helping to Fuel a Rise in Black Gun Ownership

Racial Tensions in the U.S. Are Helping to Fuel a Rise in Black Gun Ownership

Black gun owners Black gun owners take part in a rally in support of the Second Amendment in Oklahoma City on June 20, 2020. Credit – Seth Herald—AFP/Getty Images Luther Thompson never thought he’d be a gun owner. But in April, the 41-year-old obtained a concealed carry license and bought his first firearm—a $400 Smith & Wesson pistol—after feeling, for the first time, that he was not safe raising a family in the South as a Black man. “Down here, it’s totally different,” he says. “They’re bold with their racism.” The purchase came two months after a white father and son fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery while the 25-year-old Black man was jogging. The killing stunned Thompson, a father of five, who lives in Cartersville, Ga., about 300 miles away from where Arbery was gunned down. “I never visualized that it would be this way,” he says. Thompson’s concerns have only grown since the election, as President Donald Trump refuses to concede and as his supporters grow angrier over what they falsely believe was a stolen election. On Saturday, thousands of Trump voters protested the election results at a rally in Washington, D.C., where violent clashes with counter-protesters erupted into the night. On Monday, the FBI reported the highest number hate crimes in the U.S. in a decade in 2019, with Black people the most numerous targets of racially-motivated bias crimes. “It makes you feel on higher alert,” Thompson says. “I have to be able to protect my family.” "How […]

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