Gun law reform continues to be a topic of discussion in America as unarmed Black men are being killed by police and mass shootings are continuing to occur around the country. Oftentimes when discussions around guns are had, either pro-second amendment or anti-gun laws, the spokespersons are never from the Black community.
According to Jim Curcuruto, the National Shooting Sports Foundation Director of Research and Market Development, "The highest overall firearm sales increase comes from Black men and women, who show a 58.2% increase in purchases during the first six months of 2020 versus the same period last year.” This increase in Black gun ownership may have been sparked by the pandemic and racial tensions but there is one organization that you can find a community of Black gun owners.
The National African American Gun Association (NAAGA) is a group organized for the benefit of African Americans to learn how to shoot and handle a firearm. Everything from A to Z. How to hold a gun, which gun is good for you, which caliber, learning how to stand, muzzle management, every aspect of the firearm education. NAAGA has a significant amount of women gun owners, chapters all around the country and are growing at about 1,000 new members every month.
We recently spoke with the CEO and Founder of NAAGA, Philip Smith, on gun ownership in the Black community, gun violence, gun law reform and more.
Philip says NAAGA is very unique.
We are the most unique brotherhood and sisterhood in the firearms industry. Because we take it beyond just shooting. We take it just beyond going to the range, we have a sense of who we are. And in fact, when you become a member, there's a process we take all of our members to call the NMOC. That's the new members' orientation class. And in that class, you learn about the history of the Black Arms.
Philip has never been a member of the NRA.
I've never been a member of the NRA. My feelings toward NRA are the following; they can do their thing, and we're going to do ours. I just don't believe that anybody has our best interest but us. And we have to do that by focusing on the issues, knowing the issues and have an understanding as a community what's the best for all of us together collectively.
He also believes that Black people are a soft target.
[W]e're the only ones who it's been drilled into our social DNA, not to have a firearm. And I believe that's the reason why we continue to be attacked. And I just believe that people attack us and African American Black folks, because they know, for the most part, we don't carry guns. For the most part, we are what I call a soft target.
Philip also shares his thoughts on gun violence.
Gun laws are not the answer. It's an attack on the system that's causing people to be using these guns in illegal ways. But your gun violence in Black areas across the country is based on a lack of economic opportunity, lack of education, and lack of skills that they can go out and get a job. Just basically being pushed out by society saying, you know what your pants are sagging, you're grilled out, you got tats all over, you look like you can't integrate into the mainframe of society where you can get income.
Check out the full interview.