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Black Gun Owners Assert that Increased Limits on Concealed Carry Will Not Make Their Neighbourhoods Safer

In an effort to modernise the state’s concealed carry rules, New Jersey’s governor, Phil Murphy, is set to approve new regulations that would do away with the justifiable necessity threshold while increasing other requirements.

Proponents argue that it will reduce violent crime throughout the state, particularly in underprivileged areas of major cities like Newark, Camden, and Trenton.

But some gun owners in these traditionally oppressed regions worry that the new rules will make their neighbourhoods even less safe.

Black gun owners say new concealed carry restrictions won’t make their communities safer

According to a poll conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the number of retail gun purchases made by Black Americans has increased considerably over the past two years.
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According to Newark-based licenced attorney and New Jersey Black Gun Owners Association organiser Leon Grauer, the desire to protect oneself against violent crime, especially in impoverished neighbourhoods, and events like the murder of George Floyd likely spurred the trend.

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Grauer remarked that many in the Black community saw the murder of George Floyd and other occurrences as proof that they needed to take precautions to ensure their safety. Also, “many persons in the Black community feel emboldened to have a firearm to defend themselves” in cities with high crime rates, particularly high violent crime rates.

Grauer says that he is personally acquainted with numerous law-abiding gun owners in his area who place a premium on public safety and support reasonable gun control measures. He said his group’s members broadly reject the idea that many people in New Jersey’s minority groups are opposed to gun ownership.

Since the era of slavery, African Americans in the United States have relied on firearms as a method of protection and survival. People like to believe that throughout the civil rights struggle in the ’50s and ’60s, Black Americans as a whole threw down their weapons and adopted a non-violent strategy, but this is not the case, as Grauer pointed out.

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Grauer remarked that “the non-violent movement was protected by organisations of Black people, Black gun clubs, throughout the South and elsewhere,” who either made their presence felt or outright surrounded or stood watch for a protest.

Douglas Worthen, an Irvington weapons instructor, claims that recent New Jersey gun restrictions are no different from the national trend of gun regulations disproportionately impacting and criminalising minority groups.

Black gun owners say new concealed carry restrictions won’t make their communities safer

In recent years, historians have revealed the racist origins of the Second Amendment and other gun regulations enacted around the time of the country’s formation.

At one time, “black forebears… were not allowed to own any firearms at all,” Worthen added. There has been a lengthy history of oppression against people of colour in the United States. It continues to exist in the present day; its appearance has simply shifted.

Worthen disagrees with new legislation that bans handguns from most public areas in the state, claiming that residents will be defenceless in the event of an emergency. In addition, many people in his area will find it unaffordable to get a carry permit if the accompanying costs are raised.

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Worthen remarked that “people feel disheartened when they see these fees” and decide, “you know what, I’m not paying that.”

According to a study conducted by the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center in 2022, people of colour are significantly more likely to own firearms and carry them openly than white people.

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Marissa Figgs
I write picture books, for middle grade, and young adults, some of which have won prizes, been filmed, or become bestsellers. I've ghostwritten for Pixar and developed teen work for Alloy Entertainment. I think heartfelt writing is the finest. It doesn't have to be personal, but it must be visceral. You want them riveted from the first word, page, or sentence, no matter how painful or unpleasant, and that's my expertise.
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