‘It’s My Constitutional Freaking Right’: Black Americans Arm Themselves in Response to Pandemic, Protests

An armed protester awaits the casket of Rayshard Brooks to pass by the area where he was killed near a Wendy's restaurant on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, in Atlanta. | AP Photo/John Bazemore

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been growing interest among African Americans in arming themselves, as evidenced by increased membership in Black gun owner organizations.

That interest ballooned in the wake of George Floyd’s death, which reignited debate about public safety and the role of police in Black communities. Sensationalized stereotypes about Black Americans and guns, however, are also being used by critics of the anti-racism protests to justify a security crackdown in urban areas, many with large Black communities.

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