Culture

National African-American Gun Association Conducts First Event in Tulsa

‘There is this stigma that if you are Black and that you have a gun then you are a criminal,’ said Vanessa Hall-Harper.

The National African American Gun Association held its first meeting on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma in an effort to educate the Black community on gun safety and protection.

CBS News reported that guns were sold in record high numbers after 17.2 million background checks were completed in 2020, shattering the previous record of 15.7 million in 2016. The National Shooting Sports Foundation also noted that close to 5 million Americans made first time gun purchases.

Vanessa Hall-Harper, the Tulsa Chapter President of the National African-American Gun Association (NAAGA) said there was a noticeable lack of representation of Black gun owners in Oklahoma and emphasized that “Black people are law-abiding citizens and we can own guns.”

Philip Smith is the president and founder of the National African American Gun Association. Since its creation in 2015, the group has seen rapid growth with roughly 30,000 members and 75 chapters nationwide.

Hall-Harper said the association’s mission is for members of the Black community to “learn about gun safety, to be able to arm yourself, and be safe to protect your households,” while also noting the violent riots encouraged my outgoing President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol.

“That hatred that was shown on last Wednesday is something that the African-American community and disenfranchised communities in America experience every day,” Hall-Harper said to KJRH-Tulsa.

On Twitter, users were having conversations surrounding Black gun ownership. Adam Serwer, writer for The Atlantic, tweeted about the aftermath of the riots, saying, “Unfortunately, after watching a pro-Trump mob ransack the Capitol, it is a completely rational decision to conclude the state is unwilling or unable to protect you from such people and that self-defense is your only option.”

Twitter user @FedUp_Mom responded, noting the increase of Black gun ownership: “Prior to 2016 very few in my family would have considered gun ownership. Now I’m one of the few in my family who doesn’t own a gun, and I’m STRONGLY considering it.”

The Grio

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