Black Guns Matter – As Do Lives

By Jeff Knox : Opinion

Jeff Knox and Maj Toure
Jeff Knox and Maj Toure
Firearms Coalition
Firearms Coalition

Buckeye, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)-  Maj Toure is an African American man from the mean streets of North Philadelphia.

He describes a climate of gangs and widespread poverty, where only cops and bad guys are armed, and average citizens tend to think exclusively in those terms.

This is a common condition in inner-city neighborhoods, the same neighborhoods where the people are among the most likely to fall victim to violent crime.

Toure thinks this is just wrong, and he’s determined to change things.

Awareness that the right to arms is not something reserved to old white guys with NRA baseball caps has been growing in minority communities like Maj’s in recent years. But understanding of the laws and responsibilities surrounding that right, have been slower in coming. Maj has known several people from his neighborhood who decided that exercising their right to arms was a valid and prudent thing to do, but then ended up in legal trouble because, while Pennsylvania is an open carry state, Philadelphia requires citizens to get a city permit before they can exercise that right.

As in so many other places, violations of gun laws in Philadelphia are dealt with harshly, more harshly than many actual crimes. Consequently many people with no criminal intent have been convicted of felonious weapons violations, simply for exercising their rights.

The rights community rallied around Shaneen Allen, an African American mom, when she unwittingly drove into New Jersey with her licensed, concealed carry firearm, and we managed to get her pardoned by Governor Chris Christie, as well as getting some enforcement policies in the state changed. But when young black men in Philadelphia are caught up in draconian gun laws, there is rarely any interest from rights groups wanting to help build a legal defense. They fear defending the wrong guy, and helping a criminal avoid justice. At the same time there are few programs to teach residents of inner-city communities how to use guns safely and to navigate the legal maze surrounding guns in their cities. Moreover, even if there were more instructional programs being offered by groups like the NRA, it would be difficult to convince the locals to participate because mistrust of organizations dominated by older whites is common within minority communities.

That’s where Maj Toure and “Black Guns Matter” come in. Maj sought out education about firearms laws and regulations, as well as safety training, and practical and legal issues surrounding carry and self-defense, then he began teaching what he learned to his neighbors. As a member of the community, Maj’s advice and training were welcomed and embraced, and he quickly began making a difference. Seeing his success, other similar communities began calling on him to bring his training into their neighborhoods.

Maj is not the only African American training inner-city residents in the safe and lawful use of guns, but his activities have captured a lot of attention, and have been widely applauded by gun rights groups. Unfortunately applause doesn’t pay the bills, so Maj, like others pursuing similar courses, has so far depended on support from social media campaigns and small donations to keep the information flowing. Up to this point, that has been a bit of an advantage. Not being affiliated with a large group like the NRA or the firearms industry has given Maj autonomy, and protected him from accusations of being a shill for those groups.

But now that Black Guns Matter has reached some prominence and earned a reputation of working exclusively for the communities it serves, it’s time for the gun rights establishment to step up and offer some financial support.

One of the challenges with this is that the support has to be free of strings and obligations. Maj Toure and Black Guns Matter must continue to be independent operators, spreading their message of rights and responsibilities without concern for the political goals of outside organizations. Anything else would dilute the message and marginalize the messenger.

Outside of the gun issue, Maj Toure probably holds political views that are far different than those of the mainstream gun culture, and it’s a certainty that his audiences do. His, and his audience’s perceptions of hot-button topics like racism and police brutality are informed from a very different perspective than the views of the middle-aged, white men who make up the majority of gun groups. None of that is likely to change any time soon, but those differences shouldn't play a role in financing the education efforts.

Maj Toure Speaking on the Black Guns Matter Movement
Maj Toure Speaking on the Black Guns Matter Movement

What matters is not our differences, but our similarities. We in the rights community claim that support for the Second Amendment is our number one priority, so let’s prove that by making sure the Second Amendment is fully available to everyone – even those with whom we might share little else.

It used to be common for newspapers to print at the top of their editorial pages, a quote (commonly attributed to Voltaire, but actually penned by one of his biographers) which read: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” While the quote might not have been Voltaire's, the sentiment was, and it was a sentiment shared by our founding fathers. We must apply a similar sentiment to the Second Amendment. While we might not agree on many things, we must stand shoulder to shoulder in defense of each others’ right to arms.

To support Black Guns Matter directly, you can go to www.GoFundMe.com/BlackGunsMatter or their website; www.OfficialBlackGunsMatter.org. To help fund them indirectly, share this article within the firearms community, especially industry executives, and leaders of groups that you already donate to. A grant of a few thousand dollars could make a huge impact on this important work, and your advocacy could help make that happen.

In this fight, we need all the allies we can get.

Neal Knox - The Gun Rights War
Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

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M ReynaRoy D.oldvetMike MurrayJimbo66 Recent comment authors
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M Reyna
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M Reyna

You tell em Bill. You would be surprised at how many so called law enforcement officials do not know the law, and if are ever arrested under a misguided LEO
Thinking you broke then law but didn’t then they will charge you with some other BS charge to try and make the arrest justified.

Roy D.
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Roy D.

So, M Reyna, why don’t you tell us where the bad LEO touched you. I have seen LEOs acting badly and there was always a remedy whether the aggrieved party chose to follow it or not. As long as man has to have someone ride herd that is going to happen. But I am glad when the Police show up to an assault as happened four years ago this week. Is my city’s Police force perfect, no it is not. It is staffed by humans. However, any complaints I have had over the last 37 years have been handled to… Read more »

M Reyna
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M Reyna

Roy I do not have a disdain for LEO. My brother has been and still is a police officer over 25 years now. I was
Just making a point that happens way to often. Like over 60,000 bogus arrests in NYC for so called illegal pocket knives, which are not illegal.
Unfortunately all cops are not like my
Brother. Even when he arrests someone he is firm but respectful.

Mike Murray
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Mike Murray

Yeah, by the way, the site is http://officialblackgunsmatter.com NOT .org.

Chipper
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Chipper

Moderator, why are my comments not being posted?

Jimbo66
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Jimbo66

Maybe because you’re too Chipper? That was a little funny. 🙂

Chipper
Guest
Chipper

This is great news, very encouraging.

Tess Ailshire
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Tess Ailshire

Shaneen Allen was not the poster child for lawful gun owners, but did help bring awareness to draconian laws, and to punishments that do no one any good – not the state, not the individual, not society as a whole.

I work information tables at gun shows A LOT, and I often talk to black men who fear owning guns simply *because* that ownership can cause them such headaches with their own government – the government that is supposed to guarantee their rights.

Thank you for giving me a way to help.

Roy D.
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Roy D.

And how is it that their, “owning guns” can cause fear and headaches with their own government? As long as they are following the law and the Government is following the law there should be no problem. Unless you mean that whole “possession while Black” thing. Now, I wonder who is primarily responsible for that. A culture that glorifies crime and gun crime in particular? That would be my guess. I know that culture was not widespread fifty, sixty years ago though it was in the Urban centers to some degree. The old saying still applies: Don’t start none, there… Read more »

Bill
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Bill

Dude, lighten up. Please. Are you the new Gil? “As long as they are following the law and the government is following the law”? Really? Do you have any idea how often the government (their agents) do NOT follow the law? How often they dont know the law? If its difficult for them to know what the actual laws are, how hard is it for average Joe to know? No, its not impossible to know them but laws are written with ambiguous language so that they often leave much room for ” interpretation ” and thats bad for everyone.

Roy D.
Guest
Roy D.

I don’t know Bill, are you the new TS? If the government agents are not following the law there are remedies for that. I haven’t had much trouble knowing what the law is for the last 61 years. Maybe I paid attention in school where they actually taught real knowledge. If you have a problem with the way laws are written, then work to get them changed. There is that nasty word “work.” Sorry about that.

Wild Bill
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Wild Bill

@Roy D, XX is the new TS. The little deceiving propagandist changed his name. It is harder to figure out “the law”. Congress creates agencies, and gives those agencies “rule making authority”. The rules that the agencies make up have the force and effect of law, but are “not legislation” because only Congress has legislative authority. Then the president tells the agency (that the executive branch controls) to write a rule and the wording of the rule. Then the agency applies the rule to the population. None of that rule making with the force and effect of law is Constitutional,… Read more »

oldvet
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oldvet

@Roy D T S found that T S had too many sudo-nyms

Eddy Warren
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Eddy Warren

Divide and conquer! This is how those in power maintain control. The Knoxes have always warned that the anti-gunners always try to pick off the fringes; separating one type of gun owner from the others without alerting the herd until they’re finally ready to ban everything . (see Martin Niemoller’s First they came for the Socialists, Jews ,etc.) First it was sawed off shotguns and machine guns, then Saturday Night Specials, then semi-automatic “weapons of war”. Next it will be bolt-action hunting “sniper rifles”. Those in power have also found it useful to set blacks against white and vice versa.… Read more »