The use of firearms in America has for a long time been established as a God-given right. Not only is the right to bear arms established in the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, but the powerful gun lobby the National Rifle Association may be the single-most powerful organization in the country.
But how do guns impact African Americans?
Recent studies through EveryStat have shown that 100 Americans are killed each day by guns in the United States, amounting to 36,383 people each year.
In the wake of police brutality and high crime rates in minority communities, it’s a cause for concern because African Americans have been the largest race group to be killed by guns. African Americans have been proven to be twice as likely to be killed by a white counterpart and ten times as likely to die by a gun.
According to the Pew Research Center, African Americans make up only a quarter of Americans who own a firearm.
After conducting a poll on gun protection 100 percent of participants did not own a gun personally but 71 percent knew someone who does. Many were able to justify the use of guns as a way to protect and provide security, but few could grasp the concept of needing a gun in general.
“When I think about guns, I think about hurting people,” said Tracy Noze, a student at Florida A&M.
African Americans have been the highest minority group affected by gun violence in the U.S., making up only 13 percent of America’s population yet 87 percent of gun homicides.
There is no doubt that gun carrying varies among demographics and citizens have multiple reasons for owning a gun, whether it be identity or physical protection.
“I feel like in this day and age they are essential because I have seen break-ins within my residential area and because I’m from Texas where guns are a really big part of our culture,” FAMU student Patricia Crawford said.
In 2019, Texas was ranked No. 1 in the nation for the most registered gun ownership, according to Statista. And it has been ranked the 25thhighest state in firearm homicide by EveryStat, where African American deaths by firearm are 5 times as likely to happen at the hand of a white counterpart.
Texas gun ownership averages at 35 percent equaling to only 588,696 total registered guns out of the state population of 29,472,295 people, not including the number of non-registered firearms brought and sold.
“But I also feel like the government picks and chooses who can practice their Second amendment right,” Crawford said.
The process to obtain a gun is a restricted one. The struggle for minorities to obtain firearms include extensive background checks, licenses and certifications for some but not all sales, and vary from state to state.
For all of the firearms accounted for the number of non-registered guns remains unknown but the simple fact is there are more deaths than recorded gun possessions. Gun ownership has had domino effect in America affecting those who own guns — and those who don’t.