(AP) - The number of Black Americans buying firearms and joining gun clubs has increased dramatically in the last few months, according to the National African American Gun Association (NAGAA).
The increase in gun interest has coincided with a general feeling of insecurity brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and a rise in racial tension following the police killing of George Floyd in May.
NAGAA founder Philip Smith said in a statement that more 2,000 people joining the organization just 36 hours after the death of Floyd. "That broke our records. We're getting a ton of folks from all over," Smith said, according to AFP.
But NAGAA isn't the only organization that is witnessing this trend.
Damon Finch, the president of the all-black Hudson Valley Nubian Gun Club in New York, told Business Insider that numbers have "doubled or tripled" almost every time the group holds weekly meetings.
"I think there's still a big fear of leaving the house for so many people in this pandemic, so I believe, if we didn't have the social distancing challenges, the numbers would be even higher," Finch said.
Finch, a firearms instructor with years of experience, said he started to get a lot of phone calls once lockdown restrictions were lifted in the state, prompting him to open the Nubian Gun Club.
One and a half months later, the club is thriving.
Members range from law enforcement officers to postal workers and stay-at-home moms. While the club is focused primarily on the Black community, its website says that it "gladly welcomes people from all walks of life."
Finch also said that there was a significant amount of interest coming specifically from Black women.
"Many of the women I spoke to told me their husbands had guns and knew how to use them, but they didn't. They also wanted to learn," Finch said.
It's not just Black Americans that are buying more firearms this year.
According to the Brookings Institution, about 3 million more firearms were sold between March and June in the US than is typical for those months.
In June alone, the FBI processed a record 3.9 million background checks — the most checks since the agency started recording that data in 1988. It is important to note that while background checks are key indicators for demand, they are not a direct representation of the number of guns sold.
Still, gun experts have said that the ongoing pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests, and calls to defund the police are among a few reasons people fear for their safety and, therefore, buy more guns.
The last time the country saw a similar surge in gun demand linked to safety concerns was after the 9/11 attacks, Business Insider reported previously.
Making it illegal for an adult to store a gun in a place where a child might access it could result in nearly 2,500 fewer gun deaths a year in the US, new research shows
Gun control really works. Science has shown time and again that it can prevent mass shootings and save lives.
New research puts the 'good guy with a gun' idea to rest: Loose concealed-carry laws are linked to more firearm homicides