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First Coast

Black gun ownership is on the rise

Mischell Thompson.jpg
Mischell Thompson is a barber, a mother and a gun owner.

Mischell Thompson is a barber and at one time was a single mother raising boys. She is now a part of a growing number of Black women who are gun owners.

“Well, first there was a fascination with guns. I've always had a fascination with guns but never had it because I was a single mother,” the Jacksonville woman said.

Thompson also served in the military and understands how to properly handle a weapon.

“Most people have some type of weapon. If it's not a firearm then they may have a knife, or they have mace, or they have something. But that's just something that I've chosen. I've chosen to have a firearm,” she said.

According to data from the American College of Physicians, gun ownership is on the rise among women and Black Americans. The National African American Gun Association, a Black, pro-Second Amendment group, boasts a membership of 30,000 strong that is 60% women. At the end of last year a Jacksonville chapter was created.

The organization says its goal is to “have every African American introduced to firearm use for home protection, competitive shooting and outdoor recreational activities.” Maurus Alexander-DeJournett is the chapter president.

“It’s like a safe haven for us to be comfortable to practice our own defense for ourselves without feeling like we’re not supposed to be there, we’re not supposed to have gun owners, we’re not supposed to be able to protect ourselves because we’re like the least protected by the law so we got to protect ourselves,” Alexander-DeJournett said.

The Jacksonville chapter says education, safety training and community-building events are key.

“No, it’s not the Black Panthers, not trying to start a revolution within the country and overturn the country and nothing like that," Alexander-DeJournett commented.

“I think we've got to see it as an educational group, a group where we can feel comfortable learning about guns and gun safety and learn how to use guns,” he said.

To learn more about NAAGA, got to https://naaga.co/.