A group called Black Guns Matter is teaching Black Americans how to handle and use firearms in the wake of protests and increased racial tensions.
According to Business Insider, Maj Toure, the founder of the group, has been advocating for Black Americans to take up arms for self-defense.
“I believe that more Black people would be alive if they were armed,” Toure told Business Insider Weekly. “So when I hear ‘unarmed Black man,’ I’m sad, because there should be no such thing.”
When protests began in late May after the death of George Floyd, Toure flew to Minneapolis and began teaching protest crowds proper firearm technique and safety, blocks away from Floyd’s memorial.
“If you would like a free basic firearm safety class, you can get it right here,” Toure told a group of passers-by, setting up a table with replica handguns. “The police, as we see, will leave. They will not come to save you. They will not save our businesses. So if you want that, I’ll do that here. Anyone can come. It is completely free.”
Toure said he started the Black Guns Matter in 2016 to help Black Americans navigate gun ownership laws and protect themselves.
“We saw so much ignorance going on,” Toure said. “Guys that lived in rough neighborhoods may have been missing some information in order to carry a firearm on their person. So what we in essence did was we created the space to let people know what was their process and what process it was of getting a firearm, lawfully carrying it on their person if they chose to, while being safe and responsible.”
While Toure believes every Black American should own a gun, his critics point to the fact Black Americans are treated differently in a criminal justice system that’s systemically racist.
“What we do know is that when Black people do have guns, they are still shot and killed by police or by other bystanders,” Amber Goodwin, founder and executive director of the Community Justice Action Fund told Business Insider.
Toure also knows systemic racism has stacked the rules around gun control against Black Americans.
“I pick my words very carefully: All gun control is racist,” Toure said. “Whether they change it to make it look like, you know, you got to pay a fee, you got to do this, you do that. Gun control in America was initially created to stop melanated beings from having arms.”