Why did you start a black gun club?
I’m from Biloxi, Mississippi. I always go back to Alabama during the hunting season; I’ve been hunting since I was nine years old. Growing up my entire life around guns, it became normal. As I got older, I realized that people think that it’s abnormal. They think it’s strange to know how to use a gun. That’s not good, especially with our history here in America.
In 2015, I got some people together who were all interested in guns. We went to this one gun range in Mississippi that we found online. Once we got to the entrance, there were a bunch of middle-aged white men hanging out in the parking lot. There was no sign of any gun club or a gun range. So, we asked two of the men who were in the parking lot if there was a gun range there. Their response was “no.” And so I was like, “okay that’s weird.” We went ahead, and we looked at the map. Sure enough, we were at the right location; we just weren’t welcome there.
We ended up that day going out into the woods, got a little location, and set up a makeshift range. Since I had the most experience, I was teaching them and showing them the fundamentals of firearm safety. After being swept a few times by my one friend, I went ahead and just stopped everything, took everybody’s guns and and just basically taught them fundamentals of handling a gun.
Once everyone became proficient in the fundamentals, we started shooting again. We stayed out there for a few hours until they got better. After we left and everybody was at home, I started thinking about it. I just taught these young black men how to shoot correctly and handle themselves safely. I probably just saved somebody’s life.
This is around the same time that the news is making a big deal out of black people being shot and killed by people who think they are above the law, killing an unarmed black people for no reason. I was like, okay this is going on, It’s not new to us, but there’s this momentum, and black people feel how I feel. Maybe this is the right time to start getting them more involved. I started the Gun Club that focused on the black community teaching of firearm safety and how to deescalate situations. When
I moved to Colorado, That’s when I went ahead and took the club more serious. I made the organization official and wrote out a constitution.
What are some tips you will give to new gun owners?
I believe that if anyone’s going to own a gun for self-defense that they should seek proper training first and foremost. Don’t look for a firearm that has an excellent reputation, because sometimes people get the gun and it’s not comfortable for them.
If you have a firearm, make sure you go into the range regularly. Understand that as a firearm owner, especially if you care to have a concealed carry license, you are held to a higher standard in society when you’re walking around with the power of God on your hip. You have to understand how to safely use that firearm. You can’t go about pulling a gun on somebody just because you got into a disagreement.
How do you plan on changing societies perception about gun ownership in the black community?
Find a group of people that look like you and start going out to the range. Or find a Black Gun Club near you, and start getting together and going shooting. At this point, gun ownership is generally seen as negative, because white supremacy pushes out these images of Black Gun Owners as thugs and criminals. That’s all you see when it comes to black people and guns, so it’s important that black people start getting out and exposing their family members and children to the gun culture. That will help us further our agenda and change the narrative, and also creating a Positive Black Gun Owners image.