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Black Guns Matter

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

We know about Black Lives Matter. My new video is about a group called Black Guns Matter.

Maj Toure, a Philadelphia high school dropout turned activist, tells me he started it after he got tired of hearing people endless chanting, "Black lives matter" but saying nothing "when it's time for Black people to defend their lives."


Toure carries a gun wherever he goes.

"This is my human right," he says. "If anybody wants to come chase me down about that, let's go to court."

He encourages others to arm themselves, especially people who live in high crime neighborhoods.

I point out that means he wants more guns in places where there are already more shootings.

That's the point, says Toure. "The only thing that's going to stop evil are good, solid people strong enough to stop them."

He sells a T-shirt with the slogan "make criminals afraid again" printed on the front.

"Criminals should be deathly afraid," says Toure. "If you're robbing people and carjacking, I want you to know that we're gonna arm our community to deal with you very, very properly."

More guns in the hands of citizens, he says, deters criminals.

There is evidence for that. Economist John Lott, author of "More Guns, Less Crime," points out that crime usually drops in states that approve concealed carry laws. The explanation is that criminals in those states fear that their victims could be armed.

I push back at Toure, pointing out that more guns also may lead to more accidental shootings."

"That's under the assumption that those gun owners aren't getting training," replies Toure.


Training is what Toure does. In 2016, he held his first Black Guns Matter event. He expected 30 people, but 300 showed up. "It was beautiful," he says.

His group now teaches classes all around America.

"We're teaching absolute beginners that want to know how to be safe and responsible firearms owners."

If you are threatened, he says, you need a gun and need to know how to use it.

In my video, he tells his students, "No one's coming to save me! I have to save and protect myself and my family."

Last year, about 90% of gun stores reported an increase in sales to Black people.

"I made it so," says Toure. "Gun control is racist." Gun control was "started to literally stop Black people from having the means to defend themselves."

That is true. Before the Civil War, Tennessee changed its constitution to say that only "free white men" have a right to bear arms. Virginia banned Blacks from carrying "any firelock of any kind."

Later, when some local governments wouldn't protect Blacks from racist whites, Blacks often took up arms to protect themselves. Where Blacks had access to firearms, there were fewer lynchings.

Toure says gun control is still racist.

"Who's arrested more for firearms possession?... Black and brown folks. The narrative that anyone with a firearm is a bad guy is a pervasive theme, especially if you are in an urban environment and if you happen to be Black."


In his gun classes, Toure tells his students, "Follow the rules, and communicate with law enforcement." Black people must be extra clear that they have a gun to defend themselves.

It's a double standard, he complains. "White folks don't gotta articulate their position the same way."

Next, Toure plans to expand his classes to teach conflict resolution, and to teach as many people as he can about armed self-defense.

"All the facts and data are in favor of respect for the Second Amendment," he says, "especially in the Black community."

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