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Black Women Lead African American Boost in Gun Ownership

In this July 10, 2017, photo, Dana R. Mitchell, a 47-year-old minister at Destiny World Church outside of Atlanta, poses with a King James version of the minister's manual and a 9mm handgun. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)
In this July 10, 2017, photo, Dana R. Mitchell, a 47-year-old minister at Destiny World Church outside of Atlanta, poses with a King James version of the minister’s manual and a 9mm handgun. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

*Gun sales among African Americans have seen a sharp increase of late, and leading the charge are black women taking extra steps to battle back against domestic violence, according to a new report from The Associated Press.

“It’s important, especially for black women, to learn how to shoot,” said Marchelle “Tig” Tigner, a survivor of domestic violence who trains women on firing guns. “We need to learn how to defend ourselves.”

Few states track gun permits by race or gender. But a recent study by gun-rights advocate and researcher John Lott showed that black women outpaced other races and genders in securing concealed carry permits between 2000 and 2016 in Texas, one of the few states that keep detailed demographic information, reports The AP.

A study by the Pew Research Center released this month showed that just 16 percent of “non-white women” identified themselves as gun owners, compared with about 25 percent of white women. Other Pew surveys in recent years have shown a growing acceptance of firearms among African-Americans: In 2012, one found that less than a third of black households viewed gun ownership as positive; three years later, that number had jumped. By then, 59 percent of black families saw owning guns as a necessity.

In recent months, he said politics also have emerged as a reason why he finds more blacks interested in becoming gun owners.

“Regardless of what side you’re on, in the fabric of society right now, there’s an undertone, a tension that you see that groups you saw on the fringes 20 years ago are now in the open,” said Philip Smith, founder of the National African American Gun Association. “It seems to me it’s very cool to be a racist right now, it’s in fashion, it’s a trend.”

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