SPTAG 1 TTAs much as America loves her firearms, “shes never” liked the idea of insuring them in black hands.
SPTAG 2 TTBefore the Revolutionary War, colonial Virginia passed a law barring black people from owning pistolsSPTAG 3 TT — an exercise in gun control as racial control. In 1857, in his notorious Dred Scott decision, Chief Justice Roger Taney summoned the specter of black people freely enjoying the human rights of “keep and carry arms wherever they went.” Surely, he argued, the founders were not “so forgetful or regardless of their own safety” to permit such a thing. When black people armed themselves against white supremacist assaults following the Civil War, Southern state governments SPTAG 4 TTpassed “black codes” barring them from owning gunsSPTAG 5 TT. After the Black Panthers open carried to signal to California police officer that they would defend themselves against racial attacks in the late ’6 0s, then-Gov. Ronald Reagan signed a nation banning on open carry into law.
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SPTAG 6 TTIn 2016, legal handgun proprietor Philando Castile was shot after advising a Minnesota police officer that he was armed. Two years prior, Tamir Rice was killed by Cleveland police while holding a toy firearm. John Crawford suffered the same fate in a Beavercreek, Ohio, Walmart.
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SPTAG 7 TTSo what does black gun ownership mean in a country so determined to keep its black populace unarmed? Since the 2016 election, SPTAG 8 TTinterest in firearmsSPTAG 9 TT has supposedly SPTAG 10 TTticked upwardSPTAG 11 TT in the black community. Gun stores and clubs connect the interest to a longing for self-protection against the white supremacists emboldened by President Donald Trump’s election.
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SPTAG 12 TTHuffPost spoke to 11 black gun owners about their reasons for owning a handgun. Trump was a non-factor. Instead, they talked about wanting to protect themselves out of fear that no one else would. They talked about their anxieties during interactions with the police and their complex views on gun regulation. Where firearm advocates often adduce the imaginary heroics of a hypothetical active-shooter scenario to their arguments, the black handgun owneds we talked to referred to specific incidents, specific provocations — as if redlined, too, out of the fantasyland of American gun culture. And most of them returned to a sentiment as old as the nation itself: that owning firearms is a insurrection against a system bent on keeping them out of the hands of black folks.
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SPTAG 13 TTThe interviews have been condensed and edited for duration and clarity.
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FTAG 1 TT DTAG 8 TT DTAG 9 TT Joseph Rushmore for HuffPost RJ Young, 30, poses with his handgun.
DTAG 10 TTHTAG 2 TT“I can’t view myself as merely a gun owned. I have to opinion myself as a black gun owner.”HETAG 1 TT
DTAG 11 TT
RJ Young, 30, Tulsa, OklahomaBTAG 1 TT SPTAG 14 TTYoung, a Ph.D. student at Oklahoma State, is writing a book called SPTAG 15 TTLet It Bang SPTAG 16 TT about his experiences as a black firearm owner. He owns a Glock 17 9 mm and a Glock 26, which is his concealed carry weapon.
DTAG 12 TT
SPTAG 17 TTThe first handgun I ever touched was placed in my hand by my ex-father-in-law as a gesture of goodwill and good faith. He’s an old white man, and I was, at the time, dating his daughter. When he handed me this thing — which I would come to find out was a “harsh judge, ” or a revolver you can cross-load with shotgun shells — I was very scared to touch and hold it. It seemed enormous, kind of like a SPTAG 18 TTFlaming ScimitarSPTAG 19 TT.
DTAG 13 TT
SPTAG 20 TTHe was smiling about it. I thought that this was really weird at the time, like a scary “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” And I found out subsequently from my girlfriend, who’d eventually become my wife, that this was him saying: “Hi, I’m Charles. I’m a nice guy.”
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SPTAG 21 TTHe had handguns around the house, and it wasn’t a big deal. There was another shotgun leaned up against the door. I asked him about the firearm in his little fanny pack he carried around, and he went on for about an hour about this handgun. And I figured that was my in. So over a few years I got to know him through guns, and I got pretty good with them. I got a concealed carry license, and I objective up trying to figure out what it meant for me to have a firearm as a black man. I slowly learned that we weren’t always allowed to have handguns. They were kept from us for a number of different reasons, but not the least of which is white folks dreaded violence from black people — including with regard to black humen. And I had this question in my head about whether or not I was safer if I had a gun knowing what had happened to Trayvon Martin and Walter Scott.
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SPTAG 22 TTIn the course of becoming an expert with a pistol, so much so the NRA certified me as a handgun instructor, I’ve come to find out that I’m not safer. In fact, I’m probably more likely to have harm done to me if I have a firearm on me because a cop stopping me is not the same as a cop stopping a white person. And I have a duty to inform any officer who stops me that I am carrying and that I have a permit for it. But how they react to that, I can’t say. And that scares me. So I would rather not have a pistol on me and give someone a reason, even in their intellects, to shoot.
DTAG 16 TTRTAG 12 TTSPTAG 23 TTI believe in the right to carry a firearm, so I own them, and they bide locked up. The ammo stays in one room, and the firearm stays in the other. I go shoot from is high time to time to keep my skills and to keep my credentials, but I don’t carry one in public. For them to be for protection, they would have to be loaded. Even if I wanted to go get them from a closet, I don’t keep them loaded. I keep the slide lock open and a key lock through them. They’re paperweights in my house. If someone transgressed into my place, either I’m going to let them do what they need to do and leave or I’m going to try to handle it with my hands.
FTAG 2 TT IMG 2 TT DTAG 17 TT DTAG 18 TT Joseph Rushmore for HuffPost
“I believe in the right to carry a handgun, so I own them, and they remain lock the door. The ammo stays in one room, and the handgun stays in the other, ” said RJ.
DTAG 19 TTRTAG 13 TTSPTAG 24 TTBut SPTAG 25 TTthe chances of someone breaking into my house are small. And if they transgressed in there, I want to believe that they believe they need something from me that would make them somehow feel whole or stimulate them somehow get to a better place.
DTAG 20 TTRTAG 14 TTSPTAG 26 TTBut if they shoot me or I shoot them, then nothing get resolved. I’m merely a cowboy who shot an outlaw. If that person is subdued or if I knock that person unconscious with one of the candle holders I keep around, and then that person is handcuff and we go through this system of justice that we put into place; I feel much better about that. I don’t believe breaking into my house means that you need to die.
DTAG 21 TTRTAG 15 TTSPTAG 27 TTIf I looked like Thor, I’d likely feel better about carrying a firearm because the stigma is — I mean, I’m not just a black human. I’m a fit black man with, you know, 15 tattoos, sponge-brush hair and beard, and Malcolm X glasses, and I wear Jordan all the time.
DTAG 22 TTRTAG 16 TTSPTAG 28 TTIf I could walk around Oklahoma and not count how many black folks were in the room, I’d likely feel better about handguns as a black human. I’d likely feel safer walking around with one. SPTAG 29 TTBut the fact is, most people have a narrow opinion of who I am. I don’t get to wave my credentials in front of me and say, “Hey, master’s degree! Hey, Ph.D. student! ” People have to take me as what they ensure, and they will immediately form an opinion about me. And most people who are white will have a bad sentiment of me. That’s how I think this fits into my blackness. I can’t view myself as just a firearm owner. I have to view myself as a black firearm owner.
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FTAG 3 TT IMG 3 TT DTAG 24 TT DTAG 25 TT Ali Lapetina for HuffPost
Courtney Cable was about 21 years old when she purchased her first handgun.
DTAG 26 TTHTAG 4 TT “When you live in certain environments, you’re preconditioned to paranoia.” HETAG 2 TT
DTAG 27 TTRTAG 17 TT Courtney Cable, 39, Detroit, Michigan BTAG 2 TT SPTAG 30 TTCable runs as a insurance sales agent. She owns a Smith& Wesson 9 mm.
DTAG 28 TTRTAG 18 TTSPTAG 31 TTI’ve lived in the inner city for years, and I’ve been a gun owner for over five years now. I don’t see anything wrong with it, to be honest. I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Sometimes I think we have post-traumatic stress. But we don’t know about these conditions that “were living in”. We just think this is the norm, and the norm is, you have to protect yourself before anyone else tries to harm you or rob you. You have that preconceived notion. You may not see it, but you’re living there. You know what goes on. You just have to protect yourself, pretty much, because everyone else probably got a gun.
DTAG 29 TTRTAG 19 TTSPTAG 32 TTMy father was a gun collector, so he had Smith& Wessons. I was about 7 years old, and I had a stepfather who always had a gun in the home. And we knew not to touch it growing up. I got a little bit older, and my older brother had firearms for protection because he was living not such a good life. Eventually, he aimed up getting murdered in an act of gun violence. He was shot over 17 days.
DTAG 30 TTRTAG 20 TTSPTAG 33 TTIf I’m going out any day or at night, I always carry it. If I’m coming in my house, I always have it out ready to walk into my home. You know, it’s just day to day.
DTAG 31 TTRTAG 21 TTSPTAG 34 TTI feel as though I’m more vulnerable than others. I’m an easy target. I feel like a lot of things do happens to females. I live alone so it’s merely — yeah, I’m an easy target, really. People watch you come and go, you know what I entail? And even though I’m 5’11”, that doesn’t entail anything. If people wanna target you, they’re going to watch your activities, who’s coming in and out of your home. Anybody could follow you. When you live in certain environments, you’re preconditioned to paranoia. It’s behaviours you don’t even know actually exist. Even if I’m in a good neighborhood, I still have some of the same worries, though I’m likely not as alert as I am in other areas. For the most proportion, I’m watching my surroundings all the time.
DTAG 32 TTRTAG 22 TTSPTAG 35 TTI do feel safer with a firearm even though I’m still nervous, I’m scared, I’m afraid. When I am protected, and my handgun is unlocked and loaded, I feel as though I have a chance. It’s either gonna be me or you — and I can’t be afraid of whatever happens at that point.
DTAG 33 TTRTAG 23 TTSPTAG 36 TTEven though I’m a gun holder and I’m licensed to carry, being stopped by the police still worries me. It’s get to the point where I kind of don’t wishes to carry because it stimulates me more uneasy to drive while having my handgun in my vehicle. For a while, I didn’t even carry it while driving — whether I was out at a nightclub or whether I had a date. I didn’t even bother. I’d just take the opportunity because I was that afraid of the police.
Many of the firearm owners spoke of their nervousness during interactions with the police and their complex opinions on handgun regulation.
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DTAG 38 TTHTAG 7 TT “I’m a guy who likes to do things by the book, and I want to be able to protect myself against people who don’t.” HETAG 3 TT
DTAG 39 TTRTAG 24 TT Kendall Marr, 29, Topeka, Kansas BTAG 3 TT SPTAG 37 TTMarr works as a government representative. He owns a SCCY 9 mm handgun and an AR-1 5 that he built himself.
DTAG 40 TTRTAG 25 TTSPTAG 38 TTI grew up in Texas. Guns are a part of life down there — whether it be hunting or just going to the shooting scope. It’s an everyday thing. I have firearms because I enjoy shooting, and I also enjoy hunting. I’ve get family in Texas with a ranch, so I’m used to going out there and doing quite a bit of hunting.
DTAG 41 TTRTAG 26 TTSPTAG 39 TTMy earliest experience with guns was growing up as a kid on a military base. You’d insure people marching around the base with their M-1 6s, with the little orange or red plastic card in the tips. Both of my parents are in the military, so I considered weapons at home as well. My mama had a pink pistol as her side arm. Growing up with friends who wanted to hunt, we’d go out every now and then and do some shooting at the range or in the timbers.
DTAG 42 TTRTAG 27 TTSPTAG 40 TTI was around 16 when I first shot a handgun. I was at my buddy’s house and we’d gone out to his family’s ranch. They had shooting traps set up at 100 yards, 200 yards, 300 yards, and we’d put out pumpkins and watermelons and shoot them. This is how I found out that I like to shoot.
DTAG 43 TTRTAG 28 TTSPTAG 41 TTThere are people who don’t have the right mindset to have handguns, people who aren’t responsible with guns. Those people shouldn’t have them. But, yes, I feel safer with a pistol. And changing the laws of what pistols you can carry isn’t going to change the mind of someone who wants to do something illegal. I’m a guy who likes to do things by the book, and I want to be able to protect myself against people who don’t.
DTAG 44 TTRTAG 29 TTSPTAG 42 TTI open carry but I don’t do it often. Being pulled over by the police is always a sticky situation in general. So when you’ve got a weapon with you, you’ve got to be prepared and highly careful. You’re surely more nervous. I haven’t been pulled over while I was carrying, but if I was, I would be extremely attentive. I’d have my hands on the wheel. I’d tell the policeman I am carrying.
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FTAG 5 TT IMG 5 TT DTAG 46 TT DTAG 47 TT Caroline Yang for HuffPost
Toria Boldware of Minneapolis, poses with “Shelby, ” her Smith and Wesson. 40 -caliber Shield gun at her apartment in Minneapolis.
DTAG 48 TTHTAG 9 TT “Honestly , no, I know I’m not any safer.” HETAG 4 TT
DTAG 49 TTRTAG 30 TT Toria C. Boldware, 39, Minneapolis, Minnesota BTAG 4 TT SPTAG 43 TTBoldware, a programme designed deputy, owns a. 40 -caliber Smith& Wesson M& P Shield.
DTAG 50 TTRTAG 31 TTSPTAG 44 TTMy grandfather was my first experience with firearms. I am originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, and I grew up assuring him with rifles. They were just a part of life. They weren’t anything abnormal to me. I remember being in the country — you can’t do this in the city restrictions — and on New Year’s Eve, he would go out at midnight and shoot the gun off. And that was the highlight of New Year’s for me, assuring him used to go and shoot his firearm. I was in elementary school, and it was so cool. It stuck with me so much. And I never get that misunderstood. I didn’t think that handguns were “so cool, ” but this one act was just neat for me. It’s a regional, Southern, old way of life — I entail, I hope people still don’t shoot into the air on New Year’s. Seeming back on it, that was dumb.
DTAG 51 TTRTAG 32 TTSPTAG 45 TTI bought my first pistol in North Carolina, around 2005. I was about 26 or 27. It was a small. 25 handgun that could fit in my handbag. That. 25 objective up being stolen, and I didn’t get another one for a while after that. But I would still go to the scope every Friday. Friday was like date night at the range. The initial scheme was for me to have a concealed carry permit, so I wanted something that was small that I could stick in my purse or keep in my glove compartment. Something that was easily accessible in the event that I needed it.
DTAG 52 TTRTAG 33 TTSPTAG 46 TTI moved shortly after the end of the ATAG 6 TTSPTAG 47 TTPhilando Castile incidentSPTAG 48 TT. Do I feel safer? It’s a mental thing. In my head I feel like I’m safer. But honestly , no, I know I’m not any safer. I maintain my handgun locked up. Getting to it is not going to be as easy as one would think. It’s not on my hip. This isn’t the movies. I don’t have it just ready to go. As far as driving around with it, I keep it lock the door in my trunk. And the key is not usually with me.
DTAG 53 TTRTAG 34 TTSPTAG 49 TTI’m not as fearful as some of the recent shootings and incidents should make me feel. I’m not too panicked, and if I got pulled over, I wouldn’t even let them know I had a firearm since the handgun would likely be in my trunk. I wouldn’t have access to it like I would if it were in the car beside me.
DTAG 54 TTRTAG 35 TTSPTAG 50 TTI am a Southern liberal. I’m not anti-gun, but I’m not regulation for all. I believe in responsible gun ownership. Because I’m a Southern liberal, I’m like, don’t take my firearm. But don’t let people who don’t need to have firearms have guns. I know the Second Amendment was made “when hes” shooting muskets and trying to keep redcoats from coming to take America. But things were different then. And I don’t cling to that as a crutch for having a handgun. I know how I grew up. I know that I grew up with handguns in my life. And I know that having them safely and the right people having them are OK.
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FTAG 6 TT IMG 6 TT DTAG 56 TT DTAG 57 TT Michael Starghill for HuffPost
Thomas Moore poses for a portrait in his home with his LWRC. 223/.556 MS Rifle with EOTech sights in Houston, Texas.
DTAG 58 TTHTAG 11 TT “I’ve rarely seen a situation where a pistol made it better.” HETAG 5 TT
DTAG 59 TTRTAG 36 TT Thomas Moore, 35, Houston, TexasBTAG 5 TT SPTAG 51 TTMoore is a control systems engineer. He owns an American Derringer M1. 357 Magnum, a Derringer. 38 Special, a. 40 -caliber Springfield XD, a Taurus Judge revolver, a Smith& Wesson Bodyguard. 380 pistol and a LWRC. 223/.556 M6 rifle with EOTech sights.
DTAG 60 TTRTAG 37 TTSPTAG 52 TTWhen I first moved down to Houston, I was 23 years old, and I would go in the house and not lock my door. And a guy came in my house in the middle of the night while I was sleeping. He was standing in my doorway looking at me, and I had nothing around me to defend myself with. After that, I ran a bought a shotgun.
DTAG 61 TTRTAG 38 TTSPTAG 53 TTI grew up on the South Side of Chicago, and I had a bunch of buddies who banged and lived that various kinds of life. So my first experience with handguns was from being around them. I’d never touch them, but I’d be around while the latter are shooting at the ground and acting stupid. I’ve been mugged before. I had a guy steal my bike with a handgun.
DTAG 62 TTRTAG 39 TTSPTAG 54 TTI also had a gentleman offer me an Uzi machine gun when I was 16. Me and my buddies were outside, merely hanging on the corner. And this one guy comes up and he’s like, “You wanna buy a handgun? ” I’m curious, so I say, “What you got? ” He pulls out an Uzi — in the box and everything — and says, “I’ll give it to you for $125 bucks.” I’m 16. I don’t have $125 to spare.
DTAG 63 TTRTAG 40 TTSPTAG 55 TTI don’t feel safer with a firearm. I used to, but over the years my thought process on handguns has changed. If someone comes and pulls a firearm on you, you’re not gonna pull your firearm out. I have a concealed carry license, but they teach you to remove yourself from situations before you have to use your weapon. Things happen in the blink of an eye. I’ve been in situations where my gun probably could have helped me, but I never even thought about grabbing it. I’ve also been in situations where me having a gun could have escalated the situation.
FTAG 7 TT IMG 7 TT DTAG 64 TT DTAG 65 TT Michael Starghill for HuffPost
Moore, shown here with his gun collection, says he doesn’t feel any safer with a handgun.
DTAG 66 TTRTAG 41 TTSPTAG 56 TTOne time I was out with a friend at an after-hours club, and we got into an argument. This gentleman chose he wanted to step in. So I’m telling him, “Look, I don’t know you, and you don’t know me.” I guess he took that the wrong way, and he starts reaching for his hip, saying, “You don’t know me either.” It’s clear he had a pistol. If I reach in my pocket for my firearm, that’s where it could have gone wrong. I only walked away and left it alone.
DTAG 67 TTRTAG 42 TTSPTAG 57 TTI’ve been pulled over a few days, and it’s never been a problem for me. When you get pulled over, you have to hand them both of your licenses, and you have to tell them that you have a firearm and where it’s at. But with all the recent shootings, I am a little bit more leery now about police.
DTAG 68 TTRTAG 43 TTSPTAG 58 TTThe older I get, the more my stance changes on firearms. I do believe that people should have one in their homes. But I’ve rarely insured a situation where a firearm stimulated it better.
DTAG 69 TTRTAG 44 TTSPTAG 59 TTDown here in Texas, we can open carry. I did it one time, but I felt like the biggest jackass on Earth. It makes people uncomfortable, and it really doesn’t serve a purpose to let someone know you have a gun. And with all the recent shootings, that could have gone bad for me, too — like the guy who got killed in Walmart for having a toy rifle. Or Tamir Rice. It’s things like that that make me feel like the laws aren’t genuinely equal. I’ve not personally had a problem, but that doesn’t mean that that problem doesn’t exist.
Carlton LeFlore poses with an Armalite AR-1 0 rifle at his home in Orlando, Florida.
DTAG 73 TTHTAG 13 TT“ I have a hammer for my home improvement. I have my gun for self-protection. They’re only tools to me.” HETAG 6 TT
DTAG 74 TTRTAG 45 TT Carlton LeFlore, 30, Winter Garden, Florida BTAG 6 TT SPTAG 60 TTLeFlore runs as an armed security guard, most recently for an abortion clinic. He owns a total of 18 firearms, including four assault weapons. His assortment of tactical weapons includes a number of different brands — mostly Glocks, Smith& Wessons and Springfields. LeFlore also has a variety of gun forms, including semi-automatic and bolt-action rifles, semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns, revolvers and several semi-automatic handguns.
DTAG 75 TTRTAG 46 TTSPTAG 61 TTI grew up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Miami: Liberty City. Violence and stuff like that was part of our everyday lives.
DTAG 76 TTRTAG 47 TTSPTAG 62 TTI always had a love affair with guns. I wanted to be a police officer. I always wanted to be a cop when playing cops and robbers with my friends. I bought water guns and doll guns. But I was always told that firearms were bad. You shouldn’t have a gun, you shouldn’t own a handgun — especially for a young black male, you shouldn’t own a firearm because you’ll be looked at as a thug, a criminal or a gangster. And, at first, I didn’t actually want to own a handgun. I thought that you should own a gun for self-protection, and at that time I didn’t feel like I was in any danger, even growing up in a bad neighborhood. As I got older, I started trying to understand the firearm world. I’m a security officer now. I’ve had to incorporate guns into my work life.
DTAG 77 TTRTAG 48 TTSPTAG 63 TTIn 2009, I bought my first gun. It was a shotgun. I started to see on the news that there were a number of home invasions happening around our city. That motivated me enough to get a firearm at least for home protection. I started doing my research to find what was the best shotgun, the laws of the state, the laws of the city and what my Second Amendment rights were in regards to self-defense.
DTAG 78 TTRTAG 49 TTSPTAG 64 TTI’ve done armed security work, most recently for an abortion clinic. Every day, the clinic would get protesters — religion fanatics or people who are just strictly against abortion — so they needed security in order to protect the patients who visited the clinic. I was like the Secret Service for the doctor. He was the main priority. The clinic was located in a very conservative part of town. The clinic had get threats before — people calling up threatening to blow up the clinic, to kill the doctors and stuff like that. I’ve even had protesters who were armed themselves show me their firearm. They didn’t threaten me, but they were like, “I keep this for my protection.”
DTAG 79 TTRTAG 50 TTSPTAG 65 TTI always tell people who are thinking about getting into gun ownership that a gun is not an end-all, be-all. There’s a 50 -5 0 opportunity that you can still succumbs or die at the hands of somebody else with a firearm or a knife or a vehicle or any other weapon. But it’s that 50 percent opportunity that I will take over a 100 percentage chance of not being able to defend myself. I think what people don’t understand about handguns is that if you practice responsible gun ownership, meaning that you follow the order of handgun security — keep your firearm off the trigger, always treat your gun like it’s loaded, keep it pointed downrange atSPTAG 66 TT the shooting rangeSPTAG 67 TT and don’t point your handgun at anything you’re not willing to destroy — you won’t have accidents.
LeFlore, who works as an unarmed security guard, is an avid handgun collector.
DTAG 82 TTRTAG 51 TTSPTAG 68 TTI feel a lot safer than I did when I wasn’t a handgun owner. When I wasn’t a handgun owner, I used to fear leaving my house at night. I was living in a bad neighborhood, and you never know what people might do to you. I would wear jewelry or some expensive shoes and fear that somebody might rob me. I don’t want to have to shoot anyone. I would never want to use my handgun on someone. It’s actually a precaution, a way of being prepared in case someone wants to harm me. We live in a world where it’s becoming less and less safe.
DTAG 83 TTRTAG 52 TTSPTAG 69 TTI conceal carry. I’ve been stopped by police on three separate occasions — two last year and once in 2015. When I was pulled over, it was a similar to the Philando Castile situation. I was with my cousin, but my handgun was in the glove compartment. I was sitting in the passenger seat, and they stopped us because the headlight was out. They asked her for her license and enrollment. Now her registration was in the glove compartment with the handgun. I told the policeman that there’s a gun in the car — which ATAG 7 TTSPTAG 70 TTyou don’t “re going to have to” do in FloridaSPTAG 71 TT. I merely volunteered the information because I wanted to keep everyone safe. I told him the handgun was in the glove compartment. He told me not to reaching for it, and I complied. He ran my name, he asked me about the handgun and if I had a concealed weapons license. I told him yeah. In Florida, if you’re traveling with a handgun, it either has to be in a holster on you or in a locked box or in a glove compartment. Once he operated our names and everything came back good, he only sent us on our way.
DTAG 84 TTRTAG 53 TTSPTAG 72 TTI’ve had nothing but positive experiences with police, regarding me having a handgun. Now being black, I am conscious of how I could get one of those police officers we’ve been hearing about on the news who treat this as a hostile situation. But I try to take extra precaution with the police to make it out the situation alive. I’m not saying every police officer is good and is going to treat me like those three separate occasions where I was pulled over — now and then you will get one that is a little overzealous and doesn’t know the law. If they can’t see your hands, and they know you got a gun, then they probably will be a little bit uncomfortable.
DTAG 85 TTRTAG 54 TTSPTAG 73 TTGuns should be used only as a self-defense tool. I have a hammer for my home improvement. I have my gun for self-protection. They’re only tools to me. I don’t give them any power other than that. And I feel like most people give the gun so much power, but the handgun can’t pull the trigger itself.
DTAG 89 TTHTAG 15 TT “I don’t give a fuck whom they entailed the Second Amendment for. It’s mine now.” HETAG 7 TT
DTAG 90 TTRTAG 55 TT Maj Toure, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania BTAG 7 TT SPTAG 74 TTToure, who declined to give his age, is an activist and entrepreneur who founded ATAG 8 TTBlack Guns Matter. He never discusses what firearms he owns.
DTAG 91 TTRTAG 56 TTSPTAG 75 TTMy introduction was from a well-balanced perspective. Guys in my neighborhood would get drunk and shoot their firearms into the air on New Year’s Eve. Bullets come down though, number 1. Number two, you’re wasting ammo. And number three, that’s simply not responsible. I had uncles who come into Desert Storm, I get uncles who come into Vietnam. And watching their understanding of firearms and how they carried themselves, I immediately had “what were doing” and what not to do.
DTAG 92 TTRTAG 57 TTSPTAG 76 TTFirearms are just as normal as your cell phone. You don’t drop your cell phone in water. You have a lock on your phone. It’s very private. It’s yours. You know how to operate it. It’s like a automobile. When you first start driving, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. Then “youre starting” paying attention, being observant, looking around and being a responsible driver. Get drunk and shooting your firearm is the same as get drunk and driving. The difference is one is a right. A human right. One is a privilege.
DTAG 93 TTRTAG 58 TTSPTAG 77 TTI’m very careful in certain places now because you can’t carry. Black Guns Matter is doing develops in different cities. And there are different rules for different states. So in some places I may not be able to lawfully carry, and I have to be mindful of that. That’s part of the responsibility.
DTAG 94 TTRTAG 59 TTSPTAG 78 TTWe give classes free to all on firearm security, on knowing the law, on how to apply state laws and for different permits, how to get a license to carry in your particular town, who are some trainers that you can work with. We work with trainers locally for whatever city, lawyers that know firearm statutes, the Sanskrit, the basics, conflict resolution, de-escalation tactics. We give lessons on basics, so in essence it’s a class on the Second Amendment, on human rights, on civics, pistol safety and the cultural differences between communities. SPTAG 79 TTBTAG 8 TT
DTAG 95 TTRTAG 60 TTSPTAG 80 TTAnd that’s to set people on the path to good citizenship. When “youre starting” paying attention to the Second Amendment, you start having more of a value for all of the other amendments. That generates good citizens: people who are politically speaking, who are going to their school board sessions, who are seeing what’s up with budgets, talking to their city councils, talking to their country representatives. We’re get them involved politically on most slants. SPTAG 81 TTBTAG 9 TT
DTAG 96 TTRTAG 61 TTSPTAG 82 TTAmerica would not have even been created without handguns. Some people say it’s a contradiction for me as an African-American man to have a position: “When they wrote the Second Amendment, they didn’t entail it for you.” I don’t give a fuck whom they entailed it for. It’s mine now.
David White poses for a photo with his handgun in his home in Atlanta. He is a recent first-time firearm proprietor.
DTAG 100 TTHTAG 17 TT“ I am not worried about my interactions with the police.” HETAG 8 TT
DTAG 101 TTRTAG 62 TT David White, 29, Atlanta, GeorgiaBTAG 10 TT SPTAG 83 TTWhite, a sales executive, merely owns one firearm — a Glock 9 mm — but has plans to buy more firearms in the future.
DTAG 102 TTRTAG 63 TTSPTAG 84 TTI remember like it was yesterday. I was with my best friend — who’s now been my best friend for 23 years. His stepdad was drunk. We had just come in from playing basketball and his firearm was on the kitchen table. We were only staring at it. And my best friend said, “That’s my stepdad’s handgun. Don’t touch it.”
DTAG 103 TTRTAG 64 TTSPTAG 85 TTHis stepdad came around the corner, stumbling, and merely started hollering at us. He wasn’t upset or angry, but only realizing that he left the handgun on the table and that he likely shouldn’t have. But he took it as an opportunity to talk shit to us, tell us about his background in the military and how experienced he was with handguns. He asked us if we wanted to know a little bit more about the firearm. And we said hell yeah. We were, what, 13 – or 14 -year-old black males in Atlanta. So he took us through what this part was, what that part was and how to load and unload it. He took the bullets out and let us practice ourselves. SPTAG 86 TTBTAG 11 TT
DTAG 104 TTRTAG 65 TTSPTAG 87 TTI’m a new handgun proprietor. I purchased my first firearm in late September. I wasn’t truly looking to purchase a firearm until I became a homeowner. And I started feeling more strongly as the months went by that I needed to be able to protect my home if I had to. SPTAG 88 TTBTAG 12 TT
DTAG 105 TTRTAG 66 TTSPTAG 89 TTHaving a handgun in the house is definitely an adjustment. I entail, it’s a weird type of impression and experience. I don’t have any children yet, but I’m constantly thinking about — when we do have children or when minors are in our house visiting — where am I keeping the gun, how is it locked and safely put away. I feel a little bit more comfy now knowing that if I hear something outside at night or if I hear gunshots at not a too far distance, I’m not going to feel vulnerable or completely at the whim or mercy of someone potentially running inside my home and having their route with their own families. It’s a little bit easier to sleep at night.
White says he intends to openly carry his handgun.
DTAG 108 TTRTAG 67 TTSPTAG 90 TTI intend to open carry, because it’s a right. It’s an American right. Even though I don’t feel like the right is applied equally, I know it’s an American right. And I feel like I should be able to do it. — not only to protect myself but also to protect, potentially, the lives of others in the rare situation that I could find myself positioned to do so. It’s not even just thinking about me, because I know I’m a healthy and physically able person. If I’m ever in a position where I can help or protect someone else, I’d want to be able to do that and not feel helpless.
DTAG 109 TTRTAG 68 TTSPTAG 91 TTI am not worried about my interactions with the police — and I know that’s probably startling to hear given some of the recent events in our country. I’ve had some rough experiences with the police, but I feel like I know how to disarm a situation verbally, and I’m willing to do whatever is necessary to ease that situation. And I’m very keen on reading people.
DTAG 110 TTRTAG 69 TTSPTAG 92 TTNow, you flip that and talking here me potentially running into an officer while I have a weapon on me? That’s something that I haven’t really wrap my mind around yet — and I probably do need to do some thinking and talking out with my wife as to how to approach that situation.
DTAG 111 TTHTAG 18 TT
FTAG 13 TT IMG 13 TT DTAG 112 TT DTAG 113 TT Joseph Rushmore for HuffPost
Increased interest in handguns within the black community has been attributed to a longing for self-protection against emboldened white supremacists.
DTAG 114 TTHTAG 19 TT
DTAG 115 TTHTAG 20 TT “I worry about the repercussions of the wrong approach.” HETAG 9 TT
DTAG 116 TTRTAG 70 TT David Cain, 33, Tampa, Florida BTAG 13 TT SPTAG 93 TTCain, who works in the tech industry, owns an AR-1 5, a shotgun, a Glock, a Smith& Wesson and a Taurus Judge.
DTAG 117 TTRTAG 71 TTSPTAG 94 TTPreviously, I was an active-duty Marine. I deployed in 2006, and that is how I got into firearms in general. I grew up with no handguns, but is available on the military, you get accustomed to being around them. And I shoot purely for fun. I go to the range and I shoot a few different weapons.
DTAG 118 TTRTAG 72 TTSPTAG 95 TTI don’t have any childhood experiences with handguns. My mothers were pretty anti-gun to the point where we couldn’t even have toy firearms. So I didn’t have any firearm of any type growing up. When my grandpa passed away, I guess I was 19 and my mama gave me his shotgun. I don’t really know how that transition happened. I believe she didn’t know what else to do with it, so she gave it to me. SPTAG 96 TTBTAG 14 TT
DTAG 119 TTRTAG 73 TTSPTAG 97 TTI grew up in the country in Michigan. So I took my grandfather’s handgun to a friend’s home, and we shot in the backyard. And it actually jammed the second hour I shot it, and I never got it fixed. I don’t think it had been oiled for however long it had been sitting in my grandfather’s closet. I objective up selling it because I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. I was young. I didn’t have the money to pay for a gunsmith at the time.
DTAG 120 TTRTAG 74 TTSPTAG 98 TTI carry almost everywhere I run, and when I’m carrying, I feel safer with it because I know what my develop is. I feel confident enough that if I needed to, I could use it. Of course I would hope that never happens. But I do feel safer having the ability to defend myself and my children. I don’t carry when I go to pick up my children from school or things like that, because obviously you can’t have guns in school zones. There are some limitations to what I can do, but if I’m able to carry in that locating, then I carry.
DTAG 121 TTRTAG 75 TTSPTAG 99 TTI have been fortunate enough to not have any interactions with the police but I worry about it daily. I virtually bought a dash camera just to make sure that any action I take is recorded. I entail, I have friends who the hell is police officer. I just try my best to make sure everyone’s at ease. But it hasn’t happened to me yet. I haven’t been pulled over while carrying. I only was concern that, when you tell person you have a weapon, you’re bringing their alert level higher. And my understanding of Florida law is that you don’t have to declare that you have a weapon on you. But I don’t know why you wouldn’t. I worry about if I didn’t tell them and they considered it or if I told them and then they felt more threatened. I entail, what’s the right approach? And I worry about the repercussions of the incorrect approach.
DTAG 122 TTRTAG 76 TTSPTAG 100 TTMy wife isn’t comfortable with handguns. I have a safe, and I have to keep everything in the safe. And that’s just how it is. She’s nervous because we have small children. I have a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old, so you only want to make sure that the handgun are always secured and unloaded. And I believe that children should know that they exist so that curiosity isn’t there. I’ve explained to the oldest one that they shouldn’t touch them. The youngest one is aware of them, but they’re in a safe. She can’t get to them. When she’s about 5, I’ll probably talk to her about them, too, and I plan on having my children shoot when they’re about 10 or 11 just so they understand how a handgun operates. Perhaps it’ll scare them into not liking them or maybe it will take their interest. But either way, I want to make sure that I know their level of interest, that I can gauge that and see how to handle it.
DTAG 123 TTRTAG 77 TTSPTAG 101 TTThat’s an important conversation that every firearm owned has to have with their children. We try to be vigilant, but, regrettably, access can happen. You forget to close the safe all the way or a kid can reach it with a hammer and it bumps open — anything can happen. Who knows? But it’s better to have the conversation.
DTAG 124 TTHTAG 21 TT
FTAG 14 TT IMG 14 TT DTAG 125 TT DTAG 126 TT Allison V Smith for HuffPost
Rodney Jackson holds one of his guns at his home in Plano, Texas.
DTAG 127 TTHTAG 22 TT“ Anyone who wasn’t white and who had a weapon was considered a thug.” HETAG 10 TT
DTAG 128 TTRTAG 78 TT Rodney Jackson, 46, Plano, TexasBTAG 15 TT SPTAG 102 TTJackson works in IT security. He owns several handguns. He has two Springfields: the classic 1911. 45 -caliber and a 9 millimeter. He also owns a Sig Sauer 9 mm and a Kimber 1911. He bought his wife a Sig Sauer P238. 380 -caliber firearm.
DTAG 129 TTRTAG 79 TTSPTAG 103 TTI grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, in the inner city. And during that time there was a lot of violence. I never was part of it. I was always local schools boy. And then I attended college with a bunch of my friends who were like me, about 50 miles north. And that was our first interaction with another race, with white folks. I started learning that a lot of them believed in carrying firearms, and I thought it was, at the time, just a gang activity. But I learned that a lot of folks go out and hunt, and they collect firearms for a variety of reasons.
DTAG 130 TTRTAG 80 TTSPTAG 104 TTAfter I left college, I moved to Texas, and here, everybody has a gun. Everybody has a concealed carry handgun license. But I noticed that not many people who definitely sounds like me had a concealed carry license. So at that point, I said, “How about if I get a gun and start using it, practising, going to a range and so forth, and then conducted an investigation into get a concealed carry license? ” And I did that.
DTAG 131 TTRTAG 81 TTSPTAG 105 TTI just wanted to exercise my right. It was almost like I was witnessing people — when I say people, I mean white Americans — exercising theirs, but they didn’t want us to carry. Anyone who wasn’t white and who had a weapon was considered a thug. I wasn’t a thug. So I was gonna get one, and I was going to go through the proper classes and safely learn how to use it.
DTAG 132 TTRTAG 82 TTSPTAG 106 TTWhen I first visited a gun depict I insured that it truly wasn’t that many black people there at all. So I felt good about my decision, and I wanted to try to encourage more people to do it, too. And that’s how come I still, to this day, collect weapons and continue to motivate people to get their carry license.SPTAG 107 TTBTAG 16 TT
DTAG 133 TTRTAG 83 TTSPTAG 108 TTI pitch potential black firearm owners on the safety aspect and that it is actually our right to be able to carry a weapon because of the Second Amendment. I think we should practice all of our rights. They would prefer if you don’t have one for the above reasons alone. It’s almost like a rebellious type of front that I come at them from. Why wouldn’t you want to carry one? SPTAG 109 TTBTAG 17 TT
DTAG 134 TTRTAG 84 TTSPTAG 110 TTWhen I first got the weapon, I was really into it. I was going to the scope several times a week, and I genuinely wanted to be a proficient shooter. And what I noticed is that I started feeling uncomfortable because it was all whites there, and they had all sorts of weapons — like weapons that you merely wouldn’t hunt with, but military-style weapons that they would practice with.SPTAG 111 TTBTAG 18 TT
DTAG 135 TTRTAG 85 TTSPTAG 112 TTOne day at the scope, I decided I was going to change out a sight on one of my weapons. I went to the gunsmith, and while I was waiting, these white guys came up. One guy said to Joe the gunsmith: “Joe, I want you to meet my friend Mark. Mark, Joe is the best gunsmith in Texas. When Armageddon comes, I got a compound in East Texas. I’m get Joe, and we gonna live on our compound and we gonna defend ourselves because Armageddon is coming and we’re going to take this place back.”
DTAG 136 TTRTAG 86 TTSPTAG 113 TTHe said it right there in front of me, and that just made me feel like they’re gearing up for something, whether it’s going to come to fruition or not. And it built me want to always protect myself, always carry, always have something on me. SPTAG 114 TTBTAG 19 TT
DTAG 137 TTRTAG 87 TTSPTAG 115 TTBut I don’t feel safer with a firearm. Here’s why: It’s almost like a fight. If you don’t pull yours first, you nearly stand no chance. If you get hit first, you really stand no chance after that. Somewhat I feel safer. But, you know, if I’m at a gas station and someone is determined to rob me, I don’t truly stand a chance against them. However, if I’m somewhere where there are a lot of people, and something breaks out, and it’s is not directed at me, I stand a better chance with a weapon of get out of there. SPTAG 116 TTBTAG 20 TT
DTAG 138 TTRTAG 88 TTSPTAG 117 TTThere’ve been a couple periods I’ve been pulled over, and, in carry class, they teach you how to handle a traffic stop. I always have my hands outside the car — and I was taught that at a very young age. So when the officer comes up, I have my driver’s license and insurance card in my hand. Although I know now they don’t genuinely need insurance policies card — they can look it up — I still have it ready because I don’t want to reach in my glove box even though the weapon is not there. It’s commonly on my person.
FTAG 15 TT IMG 15 TT DTAG 139 TT DTAG 140 TT Allison V Smith for HuffPost
“I don’t feel safer with a gun. Here’s why: It’s almost like a fight. If you don’t pull yours first, you nearly stand no chance, ” said Jackson.
DTAG 141 TTRTAG 89 TTSPTAG 118 TTWhen I have my hands out, where reference is finds the carry license, the first thing he asks is, “Are you carrying? ” I hate that topic. Because I don’t see what the purpose of the question is. If I say no, is that going to take you off his guard? If I say yes, is that going to stimulate you more on guard? So I’d prefer you don’t ask the question. If I gave you the carry permit, just assume I hRTAG 90 TTRead more: ATAG 9 TThttp :// http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ entry/ black-gun-ownership_us_5a 33 fc38e4b040881bea2f37
In a world changing to the cloud, Microsoft has carved out a place trying to help companies caught between two worlds — on-prem legacy answers and the public and private cloud. To help further that hybrid mission, the company announced it was acquiring Avere System today for an undisclosed amount.
Microsoft describes Avere as “a resulting provider of high-performance NFS and SMB file-based storage for Linux and Windows clients running in cloud, hybrid and on-premises environments.” That’s a mouthful, but basically the company has focused on maximizing storage performance, particularly in more expensive flashing storage, regardless of where you store your files.
Avere’s president and CEO Ronald Bianchini Jr ., wrote in a company blog post that the company has worked hard since its inception to provide highly efficient file storage solutions. “Our customers efficiently share both storage and compute resources across multiple data centers, and effectively implement and use private and public cloud infrastructures, ” Bianchini wrote.
That is precisely a focus of Microsoft’s cloud strategy, so it appears to be an excellent fit. In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Microsoft Azure, Jason Zander, described Avere’s approach. “Avere use an innovative combining of file system and caching technologies to support the performance requirements for customers who operate large-scale calculate workloads.”
This could be particularly useful for high-performance media clients like Sony Pictures Imageworks, animation studio Illumination Mac Guff and Moving Picture Company( MPC ).
But it doesn’t stop there. Zander wrote that the Avere technology could also be useful in life sciences, education, oil and gas, financial services and manufacturing or anywhere companies could benefit from more efficient use of high performance storage and compute resources.
Microsoft expects the deal to be finalized in the coming months subject to the customary approval process in these kinds of deals. The company has indicated that the Avere team will be coming on board as part of the deal and they will retain their Pittsburgh offices.
As Avere becomes part of the Microsoft Azure household, it’s unclear what impact it will have on existing customers, but there is always some adjustment when a company gets acquired in this fashion.
Avere was founded in 2008 and has raised $86 million with its most recent investment, a $14 million Series E coming last year in March. Investors in the E round included Google and Western Digital, but it was Microsoft who comes away with the prize.
Previous investors included Lightspeed Ventures, Tenaya Capital, Menlo Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners.