American Black Women Feel it’s Time to Get a Gun

by: Lisa Marie Pane Associated Press
/ (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane) /
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LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A minister posing with a church manual in one hand and a 9 mm handgun in the other. A tax analyst cradling her AR-15 semi-automatic. A flight attendant taking aim, her blue fingernail polish glowing alongside the Glock 40. A banker in a black summer dress checking the chamber.

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. She’s among the ranks of the nation’s black women who own a firearm. Mitchell said she had been in a household with firearms. “I wasn’t a stranger to them but I always had that fear.” That changed after she was invited her to the range with some other women, she kept seeing news reports of violence and a friend had her purse stolen while pumping gas. “I woke up one day watching TV and I said, you have to get over this,” she said. She’s now more aware of her surroundings and is learning how to prepare herself in case she becomes a potential victim. “I don’t want this sweet face to fool you.” (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

They are among the American Black women now picking up firearms and learning how to shoot. Most say they want to protect their homes, families and themselves.

“What’s going to happen if something goes bump in the night?” says Laura Manning, a 50-year-old payroll specialist wearing a pink ruffled blouse. “I need to protect myself.”

But some point to worries about today’s political climate inspiring violence.

Markysha Carter, a 40-year-old marketing specialist for a bank, wants to make sure she stays safe should she ever be stopped by a police officer.

In this July 5, 2017, photo, Markysha Clarke poses for a portrait in Decatur, Ga., with her Taurus PT111 handgun. Clarke, a 40-year-old marketing specialist for a bank. Clarke is among the ranks of the nation’s black women who own a firearm. She started taking classes but each time, “the nervous jitters” would creep in. Then about a month ago, she decided to buy a firearm for protection. She worries about remaining safe should she ever be stopped by a police officer. “As a black person in America, this is a major problem,” she said. “You hope and pray you’re following all the rules and that officer stopping you is following all the rules and doesn’t have an agenda.” (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

“As a Black person in America, this is a major problem,” she says. “You hope and pray you’re following all the rules and that officer stopping you is following all the rules and doesn’t have an agenda.”

Dana R. Mitchell, a 47-year-old minister, says she has seen too many news reports of violence,and wants to be prepared.

“I don’t want this sweet face to fool you,” Mitchell says.

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