Michigan sees spike in African Americans buying guns

Firearms instructor Chad King feels empowered knowing he can handle a gun and protect his family if necessary. The 38-year-old Michigan resident has made it his mission to teach others how to defend themselves.

“I think that people should be self-determined and for people to be self-determined, it’s important simply because no one else is going to save you,” King says.

With gun ownership among African Americans soaring and an uncertain political climate, he says he’s casting a ballot in this election because he’s concerned about the direction the country is headed in.

When he’s training students, he often references a quote from Frederick Douglass – “A man’s rights rest in three boxes, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box.”

We’ve always voted in high numbers. We have and always will. For the most part, we participate in jury duty when called upon. Historically, we’ve participated in exercising the Second Amendment, despite the fact that historically we’ve been denied all three of those things. So, this, as I see it, is a reclamation of that history into the present, number one,” King says.

He started the Black Bottom Gun Club to encourage African-Americans to take advantage of their second amendment right after a Black man was fatally shot in 2016. He’s been teaching for three years and says he’s never seen a year like this one.

“Just because of everything that’s happened this year so far, whether it’s, again, the pandemic itself, whether it’s racist violence, which is a longstanding pandemic, whether it’s unease about the election, I think, again, that those things are causes for spikes.”

Fueled by fears for their safety and a rise in alt-right white supremacy groups, BBG’s membership has grown 70 percent to 200 since March this year.

Weapons expert Ross Palmer leads advanced courses to train instructors on teaching new gun owners.

“The goal of all this is to make sure that gun owners have a really good understand about safety, have a really good understanding about the responsible gun ownership and honestly as they take advantage of the Second Amendment right. Is that this is our right to be able to do this right,” Palmer says.

“We don’t acquire firearms to create chaos or intimidate anyone. We do so -we purchase firearms and purchase ammunition. We take training classes simply because we want to defend against the violence that’s already there,” King says.

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