TAYLOR, Mich. (AP) – Valerie Rupert raises her right hand, slightly shaken and suspicious as she looks at the papers representing a thief, thief or rapist.
Detroit’s 67-year-old grandmother squeezed it, and her shot was linked to some of the other women’s songs on the small gun walls.
“I was a little nervous, but after a few shots, I was thrilled,” said Rupert, among the nearly 1,000 black women who took part in the gun shooting over the weekend as well as shooting lessons at two Detroit stadiums.
Black women like Rupert are more concerned about owning guns to protect themselves, according to industry experts and gun rights activists.
Fear of crime, especially when gunfire is rampant in cities large and small, is a factor. But a new revival is showing public outrage in the past 15 months starting with the controversy following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis under the knee of police officer Derek Chauvin.
Concerns over anger over COVID laws and outrage over the results of the 2020 presidential election, led by lies, have also contributed. In Michigan, the outrage led to a plot to seize the governor, as well as a time when protesters marched on the Capitol.
In April 2020, freedom fighters, along with others armed with assault rifles, stormed the Michigan Capitol in Lansing to protest the Democratic Gretchen Whitmer government. Other demonstrators – mostly white people and supporters of President Donald Trump – entered the building with guns, which is legal in a state house.
The sight of whites armed with guns and carrying guns at the Capitol remains with Rupert.
“He went to the Capitol with all the guns. You have to be ready,” he said.
An estimated 8.5 million people in the US bought their first gun in 2020, the National Shooting Sports Foundation says. The arms deal also claims that the purchase of firearms by black men and black women increased by more than 58% in the first six months of last year.
Gun possession is increasingly common when people lose confidence in the government and the police, says Daniel Webster, professor of American Health in Violence Prevention at Bloomberg School of Public Health and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy.
“We’ve seen such an increase in white violence,” Webster said. “Another combination of police mistrust of security forces and hostile groups has encouraged many black people to go to war.”
Those with black weapons still represent a small proportion of people with firearms, while 9.3% of gun owners are black men and 5.4% are black women. About 56% of U.S. gun owners are white. More than 16% are white women, Newtown, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Newtown.
However, 2020 saw a “military change in America” that was “a significant increase in the number of Africans taking their Second Amendment to change,” said Mark Oliva, their chief of public relations.
Beth Alcazar, a white man, started shooting about 20 years ago and says it was rare to see a black woman do what she wanted.
“Honestly, don’t go for a single photo of seeing a black woman on the ground,” said Alcazar, who is now a registered teacher at Birmingham, Alabama, the region and the US Concealed Carry Association.
“I’ve been very impressed with the last five years, I see black women almost every time I go,” she said, adding that it’s fun for women to learn to shoot to see other women, especially black women.
For many black women, it’s about self-care, says Lavette Adams, a military counselor who participated in a free Detroit training program sponsored by the gun defense group Legally Armed In Detroit.
“Crime against women is not new. “Mothers to protect yourself, this is new,” said Adams, a black man.
Then the foundation of the study that was established 10 years ago is the 50 women who attended. Last year, more than 1,900 participants took part, according to Rick Ector, Detroit’s founding legal advocate, who said he had begun “raising awareness and educating women who are more inclined to bad men, rapists and murderers.”
Ameena Jumail, who had joined several other women outside of Recoil Firearms in Taylor to study, said she was trying to overcome her gun fears. Jumail, a 30-year-old dairy teacher in Detroit, said crime was one of the reasons he returned, but acknowledged that a desire to learn to use firearms included concerns about the prevalence of Western culture and their public appearance at gunpoint.
“In the 2016 elections I was worried, as well as the 2020 elections,” Jumail said.
Hopkins Webster said no matter what, it is an open question as to whether women who buy weapons are now safe.
“Having a gun loaded with you will change your answers over and over again,” he said. “It changes your actions and your thoughts.”