More black women are learning to use guns: ‘this is a movement, and it starts now’

From The Guardian UK:

African American women organizing shooting classes are finding a surge of interest – and many say it comes down to feeling less safe in the era of Trump

in Lawrenceville, Georgia
Thursday 27 April 2017

It was a modest setting for the launch of a movement: 10 African American women sat on folding metal chairs lining the edges of a small, gray-carpeted room on the second floor of the Bullseye Indoor Range and Gun Shop in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

They nervously giggled as Marchelle Tigner began her lesson. Seven of them had never held a gun before.

“This is a movement, and it starts now,” Tigner told her students. Heads nodded.

The class was one of four scheduled back to back on 26 February, to meet unexpected demand as dozens had responded to announcements on Facebook for Tigner’s first Atlanta-area class for black women to learn to shoot.

micThe movement, she said later, is no more and no less than “black women learning how to shoot, and purchasing firearms”, and it’s happening in cities across the country.

Tigner, who lives in Savannah, Georgia, sensed that there was pent-up demand when she launched Trigger Happy Firearm Instruction in November. She found the Bullseye firing range near Atlanta and offered the class through social media, hoping for 20 students. But the class sold out in two days, so she expanded it to 40. Another class scheduled for 4 March sold out to 40 students in 24 hours; a third class for 30 on 18 March sold out in 30 hours; and so did a fourth on 19 March. Tigner’s now got classes scheduled through the end of May, including several in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

She said she’s surprised at the response her classes have received. “The growth of these classes – I never expected it,” she said. “It shows me how unsafe these women feel in their communities.”

Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, Tiffany Ware, 44 – founder of the Brown Girls Project, which offers makeup workshops and other activities for building self-esteem in young black girls – organized a group of black women for a firearms training class on 18 December. The cap of 20 was quickly met; 45 signed up for a waiting list. Another class was held a few weeks later. A waiting list soon grew to more than 100, and now Ware organizes monthly classes.

In Dallas, the Black Women’s Defense League, launched in 2015, has seen the number of black women signing up for time at local shooting ranges at least double in the past 10 months or so.

“I can confirm that more African American women are learning to shoot,” said Kenn Blanchard, author of Black Man with a Gun, a gun ownership manual. “I’m getting emails from places like Pennsylvania, Arizona, saying: ‘Hey Kenn, these seven ladies were shooting – look at their scores.’ That’s never happened before,” said Blanchard, who’s based in Maryland.

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