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Politics & Policy

A Hearty Welcome to Black Americans Buying Guns Lawfully

AR-15 rifles displayed for sale at the Guntoberfest gun show in Oaks, Pa., in 2017. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

“Gun ownership among Black Americans is soaring,” notes a headline in The Hill. So what? Why does the story come accompanied with a story of what is obviously meant to appear to be a scary paramilitary group of blacks? Are we supposed to think that black Americans who buy guns lawfully are going to organize themselves into roving bands of troublemakers? This fear is farfetched when it comes to white-nationalist militias and I see no reason to think that black-nationalist militias are something to lose sleep over either. Black Americans are legally buying guns for the same reasons Americans are legally buying guns: They don’t trust their government to look out for them. This fear is understandable.

The spike in legal gun purchasing began last spring, when we saw a pulling back on certain basic government services — though not the part of the government that lets violent criminals out of prison so that they can both spread viruses they picked up behind bars and commit more crimes. (Families should shelter in place, we were told, but felons should do the reverse.) The spike continued in the summer, when rioting shook the country and large swathes of the Democratic Party and its media allies seemed either to willfully blind themselves to what was happening or to be rooting for the wrong side. How are black Americans supposed to respond to widespread demands to “defund the police” if not by arming themselves to the extent allowed by law?

A final note: Our friends on the left, some of them quoting the comic and social analyst Dave Chappelle, maintained yesterday that soaring legal gun purchases by black Americans would cause conservative white Americans to rethink their support for gun rights. As it happened, we had a real-time test of that theory on Twitter yesterday when The Hill tweeted about blacks buying guns. Liberals chimed in to say white conservatives would blanch. Instead, white conservatives cheered:

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