The cry for social justice is echoing for Black Americans not only in the streets with protests but in gun shops across the nation, including in South Florida.
In the weeks following the social unrest of summer 2020, Black gun ownership soared.
Gun sales shot up and most of the people buying them are African American. Many in the Black community say they are afraid of the things currently ailing society and could harm their families, from the coronavirus to racism, to the sometimes-violent encounters Black people have had with police.
Before the pandemic hit, NBC 6 spent the day with the Black Arms Gun Club to find out why so many Black Americans feel now more than ever is their time to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
Members of the advocacy group say gun control laws were created to keep guns out of the hands of Black people. They also say it’s something our forefathers fought for just like voting.
Many of the gun club members are women and moms.
Danielle Campbell, a mother of three, says she’s been teaching her children to respect firearms to prevent accidents.
“I love guns. I think they’re beautiful,” Campbell said.
Her real aim is to protect her family, especially after her friend Alicia Rountree, who was also a mother of three, was killed by a stray bullet in Miami Gardens as she drove home in 2017.
“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,” Campbell explained.
It’s a theme you will keep hearing from Black women in this group. They refuse to fall prey to predators.
“A lot of us are single mothers, we’ve been assaulted, raped," she said. "We’re learning that we can protect ourselves; we don’t have to be victims.”
Nationwide, there was a 58.2% increase in the first six months of 2020 for Black gun purchases versus the same period the previous year.
The police brutality case of George Floyd and other Black Americans, coupled with the pandemic, pushed the panic button, with some Black citizens sending gun club membership to new heights locally.
Travis Campbell, the president of Black Arms Gun Club, says the group received about 200 new applicants in the weeks following Floyd’s murder.
On a larger scale, the National African American Gun Owner’s Association saw its membership swell by 2,000 per day. That’s a figure the group usually gets per year.
A big part of South Florida Black gun’s club mission is not only gun safety and protection but also changing negative perceptions.
“The narrative of a gangster with a gun is too prevalent,” the club president said. “We are training, and we are responsible guns owners. “
In addition to class time, where they get an education on everything from political issues to how to survive a mass shooting, it’s also a social outing connecting like-minded people.