Six pack or a revolver? That was an easy choice for me. When I turned 21, the last thing I wanted to do was spend my day at a bar. I wanted to spend my day at my local firearms dealer. My father accompanied me when I purchased my first gun, the same place he purchased his first gun. Together we spent months looking at all the handguns. I saved my hard earned cash up and couldn’t wait until I was able to purchase my first handgun. I have been around handguns since I could remember and been shooting since I was 12. I was even on the high school rifle team, but this was my own gun. With it not only came great responsibility but also great fear. I brought my concealed carry permit that same day, but was I ready to carry?
Life changes when you carry a live gun on your hip and you’re out in public. It’s different from getting your first car. You get your first car and drive off the lot. You can’t wait for your friends to see you in your new car. Your excitement is running through your body but you buy your car and forget about what it is capable of doing. You forget that your new car can instantly become a weapon and can take you or someone else’s life. When I carried my gun for the first time I felt it on me. It was awkward and heavy.
I reminisce at times when I recall my first time carrying a firearm. It felt weird and wrong because I was the first person my age who I knew that carried a gun and in the beginning I felt like I was breaking a law. As a minority, I felt even more cautious. I never saw stories of black concealed carry people defending themselves in the newspaper or television but I saw black people committing crimes with firearms. It also illustrated a stereotype that black people who had a gun were criminals. I knew that wasn’t true but most people see a young black male carrying a gun as trouble.
Most firearms related crimes committed in my city involve minorities killing other minorities (black on black violence.) Other than my father my godfather, and a few minority policemen, I didn’t know any black people who carried a firearm in my city. I live in a city with a population of about 14,000 people and an increasing amount of violent crimes and a drug epidemic.
As a young boy, I rarely saw anyone except police, military, or criminals with guns and was taught in school guns kill people. It wasn’t until I became a teenage and my father started to educate and teach me about firearm education, safety, and marksmanship, I knew that school was spinning me an incorrect narrative. In high school, I joined the rifle team and continued learning marksmanship. The rifle team furthered my firearm training but I also learned that there was a lot about shooting I still didn’t know. I found out that in the urban high school I attended, the vast majority of the team never shot a rifle in their life. The suburban teams we played against the majority of the team had been exposed to firearms before joining the team. I realized that minority families were less likely to expose their children to firearms. My school and my community were not educating young minorities about gun safety.
I carry a firearm daily and educate myself on laws. I train consistently and love exploring the firearm culture. I recently brought a precision rifle to start training long range shooting and I plan on going deer hunting for the first time. Since carrying my first handgun, I don’t feel awkward anymore. I just wake up, take a shower, get dressed, put my gun on and head out the door. My conceal handgun has become an extension of me. With the increase in violence and the backwards politics in my city, I fear that people will restrict firearms from law abiding citizens but not restrict the criminals from obtaining firearms. I plan on being a firearm activist and to be a positive influence in the firearm community. I plan on trying to bring gun education to the inter city schools and working with pro gun groups to get young minorities.