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NAT’L – SELF-PROTECTION – More Black Americans are buying firearms. Rising racial tension after the George Floyd protests and the COVID-19 pandemic have triggered fears for their safety.

The number of Black Americans buying firearms and joining gun clubs has increased dramatically in the last few months, according to the National African American Gun Association (NAGAA). The increase in gun interest has coincided with a general feeling of insecurity brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and a rise in racial tension following the police killing of George Floyd in May. NAGAA founder Philip Smith said in a statement that more 2,000 people joining the organization just 36 hours after the death of Floyd. “That broke our records. We’re getting a ton of folks from all over,” Smith said, according to AFP. But NAGAA isn’t the only organization that is witnessing this trend. Damon Finch, the president of the all-black Hudson Valley Nubian Gun Club in New York, told Business Insider that numbers have “doubled or tripled” almost every time the group holds weekly meetings. “I think there’s still a big fear of leaving the house for so many people in this pandemic, so I believe, if we didn’t have the social distancing challenges, the numbers would be even higher,” Finch said. Finch, a firearms instructor with years of experience, said he started to get a lot of phone calls once lockdown restrictions were lifted in the state, prompting him to open the Nubian Gun Club. One and a half months later, the club is thriving. Members range from law enforcement officers to postal workers and stay-at-home moms. While the club is focused primarily on the Black community, its website says that it “gladly welcomes people from all walks of life.” Finch also said that there was a significant amount of interest coming specifically from Black women.  “Many of the women I spoke to told me their husbands had guns and knew how to use them, but they didn’t. They also wanted to learn,” Finch said. It’s not just Black Americans that are buying more firearms this year.  [full article]

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