America Has Too Many Guns

Guns are everywhere

Recently, I learned that the National Rifle Association (NRA) might move its headquarters to Texas. I want to be upfront about my perspective regarding the NRA and guns: I strongly dislike the NRA but have a more nuanced view of guns. Let me explain.

Guns don't kill people on their own, but in the hands of dangerous individuals, guns cause the deaths of many innocent people.

I am a gun owner with several firearms, but I don’t have the same admiration for guns as many NRA members do. Instead, I am part of a more sensible and reasonable gun organization called the National African American Gun Association (NAAGA). It is the world’s largest gun association for African Americans and has experienced significant growth due to the anti-black sentiment that emerged during Trump’s presidency. Thankfully, the Second Amendment (2A) protected African Americans’ right to acquire guns for self-protection, an essential right that whites once denied blacks and still find disturbing.

To understand my stance on guns, let me share some background. Growing up, I often heard white people say, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” I even heatedly argued with a passionate gun advocate about this statement. However, as time passed, I understood what he meant and changed my viewpoint.

But I modified the statement to reflect better my conflicting thoughts. Today I say, “Guns don’t kill people on their own, but in the hands of dangerous individuals, they cause the deaths of many innocent people.” It may sound confusing, but it captures my mental struggle as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment but one who values life. Persons with my views would be considered extremely conservative and avid gun enthusiasts. However, as you’ll see, that’s not true for me.

I grew up in rural North Carolina, where guns were integral to life. My community and I hunted deer, bears, raccoons, rabbits, and more. Our hunting season starts in July and lasts until January. Guns were necessary for protection against dangerous wildlife, including rattlesnakes, water moccasins, copperheads, and coral snakes. We also used firearms for self-defense and recreation. We even had a traditional turkey shoot every Thanksgiving.

In my household, my father kept several guns that were accessible provided I followed a few safety rules. White families were even more permissive, often buying their children 410 shotguns by age ten. Additionally, I am a Navy veteran. Unlike our marine counterparts, our exposure to guns in the Navy was limited. Marines, on the other hand, received comprehensive firearms training from the beginning of their service.

Another crucial reason I support the Second Amendment is because I am an African American man. This fact puts me at risk from two groups: white racists and those few black men disposed to violence. However, as an older black man leading a simple life, I am less likely to be targeted by these groups than younger black men. The high incidence of gun violence among young black men is where my concerns about guns come into play.

I firmly believe every law-abiding African American should be armed and informed about gun laws. At the same time, I also support universal background checks, red flag laws, and other measures to prevent dangerous individuals, regardless of their race, from obtaining guns. My community suffers tremendously from gun violence. With relaxed gun regulations, black kids can get guns easier than books, given the growing number of book bans nationwide.

Super relaxed gun regulations bring me back to the NRA. The organization has a ton of support in Congress, making it a powerful foe against gun legislation, even sensible ones that most Americans support. Many NRA members revere guns deeply, but I don’t share their sentiments. I would love to live in a nation where guns were unnecessary for our protection. Life would be much better if people genuinely cared for and loved each other. Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world marred by sin, hatred, and racism, which necessitates the presence of guns in our lives.

However, having more guns in America than the population makes us needlessly dangerous. Many of these guns end up in inner-city communities, causing devastation at the hands of gang members. For example, homicide is the leading cause of death for black males aged 15-44, a statistic that no other ethnic group shares. Furthermore, black individuals are six times more likely to be killed by guns. This past 4th of July holiday weekend, there were nearly half a dozen deadly mass shootings in black communities across America. These incidents arise due to the challenging conditions prevalent in inner-city areas and the widespread availability of inexpensive firearms, including assault rifles.

Can you now see why I have strong concerns about guns? Unlike white individuals whose youth are not exposed to daily gun violence, my community suffers from the sickening and heartbreaking impact of gun violence. I blame dangerous people, weak gun laws, and the wide availability of guns responsible for the gun violence that has turned America into a war zone, especially within inner-city neighborhoods. It is unsafe now to leave your house or remain in it. Consequently, I support the Second Amendment but wish we lived in a world where guns were unnecessary or at least not so plentiful and accessible to dangerous people. 

By the way, those who think my ownership of firearms contradicts my Christian faith should consider passages in Scripture where Jesus instructed His disciples to arm themselves with swords (Luke 22:36) and where Peter, a devoted follower of Jesus, used a sword to protect Jesus (Luke 22:49-51).

Lobby Congress For Sensible Gun Regulations

There are simply too many guns in America for dangerous people to use against innocent people. It's time for a change!