Gun ownership has risen dramatically in this unexpected demographic

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

Between 2014 and 2016, concealed carry gun permits have increased in Cook County by 67% in one surprising demographic: black women.

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In 2014, 800 black women applied for a concealed-carry license. In 2017, that number has already reached 1,400. The total number of black women owning guns are still less than white men, black men and white women.

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The Chicago Tribune interviewed multiple women who are new gun owners but many had same answer for why they felt the need to own a gun: safety.

Javondlynn Dunagan is the owner of JMD Defense & Investigations, a Beverly business that offers firearm education, self-defense courses and support groups for women. “I think women are finally realizing (that) we’re becoming victims out here,” she told the Tribune.

Alexandra Filindra, an assistant professor of political science at UIC notes why this is a surprising statistic. “Given the level of violence and easy availability of guns in minority communities, most people there tend to think guns are the problem, not a solution.”

And it’s not just Chicago. The New York Times noted this trend happening in Texas with an increase of gun ownership for black women outpacing other demographic groups between 2000 and 2016.

The article also cites a Pew Research Center study that states “up to 59 percent of African-American households now view owning a gun as a ‘necessity.’”

With regards to gun ownership, safety and education go hand in hand. “It’s important, especially for black women, to learn how to shoot,” says Michelle Tigner, a survivor of domestic assault and sexual abuse. “We need to learn how to defend ourselves.”

While some of these trends go back over a decade, a lot of this increase has happened in just the past year. The National African American Gun Association has reported a dramatic increase in their membership since Donald Trump was elected ten months ago.

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President of the NAAGA Philip Smith suggests that the rise in hate groups and police shootings across the nation may be responsible for this increase of membership. The group has reached over 20,000 members since its founding in 2015 with 45 nationwide chapters.

The Tribune reports that women make up 60% of the association.

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