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1,000 Black Gun Owners Plan Pro-Second Amendment Walk in Oklahoma

They will be arriving in peace and hoping to carry a message.

Omar Chatman, 41, is one of the organizers for 1,000 brothers and sisters in arms, a pro-Second Amendment walk planned for Saturday led primarily by Black gun owners in Oklahoma.

The demonstration, which will begin at 2 p.m. at Ralph Ellison Memorial Library, is intended to bring attention to the fact that Black Americans’ constitutional rights to carry firearms are not often respected, Chatman said.

All are welcome to march in solidarity with the group, which expects between 200 and 300 people to attend what they are saying will be a peaceful mile walk to the Governor’s Mansion.

“As an African American, it’s important to send a message to the governor and president that we aren’t going to allow people to come into our communities and brutalize us,” Chatman said. “That goes for corrupt police officers, white supremacists, and criminals. Criminals have no color. It doesn’t matter if you are a Black man, white man, Asian or Hispanic.

“If you come into our community, know we are armed.”

Many in attendance on Saturday are expected to be openly carrying firearms, which is legal. In Oklahoma, citizens age 21 or older can carry a firearm in public without a permit, and active-duty military personnel or veterans age 18 or older are allowed to carry a firearm in public without a permit.

Felons, persons adjudicated with mental illness or those with domestic violence convictions are prohibited from carrying a firearm, according to Oklahoma’s Constitutional Carry Law, which went into effect in November.

Overall, four in 10 Americans say there is a firearm in their household, according to a 2017 study by Pew Research Center. Broken down by race, 24% of African Americans say they personally own a gun, compared with 36% of whites and 15% of Hispanics.

“Black folks and guns usually get a negative stereotype reaction like: ‘What is that guy doing with a gun?’” says Philip Smith, the president and founder of the National African American Gun Association. “Does law enforcement, or more importantly larger society, view Black men with firearms in a certain way? Let’s have that discussion.”

Chatman himself said he will bring his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle which he has carried openly on the streets many times before.

“I have encountered the police and observed them while holding my gun from a safe distance,” Chatman said. “I’ve been displeased with every encounter. They treat Black men with guns with condescension and sarcasm. They should engage us as they would anyone else.”

In light of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis after a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, protests and rallies against racial injustice and police brutality have been ongoing across the country.

As part of the walk, the group is also demanding action on four separate issues.

The group wants District Attorney David Prater to reopen the case in the death of C.J. Pettit Jr., who was killed by a Midwest City police officer in 2015.

The group is demanding the state legislature enact laws that would hold officers accountable when they are found to be at fault in any incident of police activity.

They want officers to be required to carry their own liability insurance and they are demanding the International World Court to investigate the United States for human rights violations of its Black population.

“This is for the betterment of mankind,” says Michael Washington, an organizer for the group. “We are saying that we should have the right to wear our weapon on our shoulder and the Second Amendment is the way to do that. We have a right to protect ourselves because we are tired of this crap and the United States promoting the killing of African Americans.”

Oklahoma City Police Capt. Larry Withrow said his office was unaware of a planned demonstration but reiterated that the group is within its rights to peacefully assemble with firearms present.

“Their rights to do that are perfectly legal,” Withrow said. “We would have people to respond in case something were to happen but would not try and stop it unless there was some illegal activity.”

 

Source: The Oklahoman


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More Black Women in The U.S. Are Becoming Interested in Gun Ownership

Gun ownership amongst Black women is on the rise. An increase in firearm sales is largely tied to self-defense and appears to be a growing movement among Black women across the country.

black gun ownership

A study by the Pew Research Center found almost two-thirds of Black households now viewed gun ownership as a ‘necessity’, compared to less than a third in 2012.

Philip Smith, who founded the National African American Gun Association in 2012 during Black History Month, said he was stunned by his group’s rapid growth, to 20,000 members in 30 chapters across the country, today, the majority of whom are women.

‘I thought it would be the brothers joining,’ Smith said. But instead, he found something surprising – more Black women joining, most of them expressing concerns about living either alone or as single parents and wanting to protect themselves and their homes.

guns
Alicia Kelley, a 36-year-old banker (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

The recent shootings of Black men and boys by cops around the country have left Smith and others concerned that racism can make a black person a perceived threat, even when carrying a firearm legally.

His organization takes pains to coach members on what to do when stopped by police, but not everyone is comforted.

Stayce Robinson with her AR-15. Robinson, 49, is an entrepreneur and tax analyst for a software company. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

‘It’s disheartening to think that you have everything in order: Your license to carry. You comply. You’re not breaking the law. You’re not doing anything wrong.

And there’s a possibility you could be shot and killed,’ said Laura Manning, a 50-year-old payroll specialist for ADP from Atlanta. ‘I’m not going to lie. I’m just afraid of being stopped whether I have my gun or not.’

Laura Manning, a 50-year-old payroll specialist in Atlanta
(AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

One new gun owner Jonava Johnson, says it took her a long time to decide to get a gun. For years she was afraid of them after an ex-boyfriend from high school threatened her and shot and killed her new boyfriend in front of her. She was just 17.

At first she just bought a guard dog, but in recent months, she turned to firearms for defense.

‘I think that’s the way it’s always been in the black community: It was never OK for us’ to own a gun, said Johnson, 50. But now? ‘I hope I never have to kill anybody, but if it comes down to me or my children, they’re out.’

Dr. Janella Thomas-Burse, a 53-year-old gynecologist, poses with her SCCY 9mm handgun. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

And she is not alone. From church ministers and tax analysts, to glamorous flight attendants, Black women from all different walks of life are picking up firearms and learning how to shoot.

Dana R. Mitchell, a 47-year-old minister at Destiny World Church outside of Atlanta, said she had been in a household with firearms, but ‘always had that fear.’

Dana R. Mitchell, a 47-year-old minister – AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

That changed after she was invited her to the range with some other women, she kept seeing news reports of violence and a friend had her purse stolen while pumping gas.

‘I woke up one day watching TV and I said, you have to get over this,’ she said. She’s now more aware of her surroundings and is learning how to prepare herself in case she becomes a potential victim. ‘I don’t want this sweet face to fool you.’

Markysha Carter, pictured with her Taurus PT111 handgun, is a 40-year-old marketing specialist for a bank. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

Markysha Carter, a 40-year-old marketing specialist for a bank, wants to make sure she stays safe should she ever be stopped by a police officer.

‘As a Black person in America, this is a major problem,’ she says. ‘You hope and pray you’re following all the rules and that officer stopping you is following all the rules and doesn’t have an agenda.’

Corelle Owens, a 45-year-old resident of Mableton, and a flight attendant, decided to learn how to shoot after her car, phone, tablet and wallet were stolen in March. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

Marchelle “Tig” Tigner is the founder of Trigger Happy Firearm Instruction LLC. ‘Tig,’ is on a mission: to train at least 1 million women how to shoot a firearm.

black gun ownership
Marchelle Washington Founder of My Sister’s Keeper Defense LLC(AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

She had spent no time around guns before joining the National Guard. Now, as a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, she wants to give other women of color the training she hadn’t had.

black gun ownership
Marchelle Tigner

‘It’s important, especially for Black women, to learn how to shoot,’ Tigner said, noting that Black women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence. ‘We need to learn how to defend ourselves.’

black gun ownership
Tig, posing with some of her students.

She says self-defense is not about killing someone but is instead about eliminating a threat.

Tony O. Lawson 


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Sources: AP & The Guardian