A group offering itself as an alternative to the National Rifle Association and focusing on training African Americans in the proper use of guns says it has seen a spike in its membership, particularly since the election of Donald Trump.
The National African-American Gun Association says that some black gun owners are particularly concerned about protecting their homes and family from crime, while others are concerned about the current political climate, which has shown a spike in hate crimes and a rise in hate groups, CBS46 notes.
“With the recent election and Trump getting into office, we anticipated a spike in gun ownership within the African-American community, and we were right,” Mitch Mitchell, a NAAGA safety instructor, said.
“I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say … that there’s an apprehension in the community based on some of the political rhetoric, regardless if you’re a Republican or Democrat, left or right. A lot of folks are just concerned with the way the country’s being run right now,” Phillip Smith, president of NAAGA, which is based in Atlanta, added.
Nezida Davis, a group member who is currently in training, says that she is in this to survive.
“Besides just crime in your community, there could be crime coming from anywhere. And we’re not just talking about terroristic threats—domestic terrorism, you know, white supremacists, whatever you want to call them,” Davis said.
While NAAGA has existed for just about two years, its membership currently stands at around 20,000, with the president telling The Root that the group grew from four chapters in 2016 to 30 chapters in 2017.
However, the group insists that its core principles have nothing to do with politics and everything to do with safety, protection and acceptance as more and more black citizens believe that owning a gun to be a good thing.
“We are now getting to the point where folks are saying, ‘You know what? I can get a gun and protect my family if I’m a single mom or a dad,’” Smith said.