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After a contentious year of racially motivated killings and police brutality attacks, a new study conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation reported an uptick in registered gun users, a majority of them being Black women, according to Fox Business.

In 2020 alone, 8.5 million people in the U.S. bought their first gun. Black women and men accounted for more than 58 percent of those registered gun owners “over the first six months of the last year.”

67-year-old Valerie Rupert told the Associated Press that she “was a little nervous” to begin taking gun safety and shooting lessons over the weekend. The Detroit native was one of 1000 Black women who showed up at the city’s gun ranges for their free two-day course sponsored by gun advocacy group Legally Armed.

“..after I shot a couple of times, I enjoyed it,” she said of her experience.

Rupert explained that the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol motivated her to begin training. Watching white nationalists scale up the coveted government building with their guns and body armor left a chilling image in her memory.

“You need to be ready,” she added.

With the pandemic causing a wave of economic strife across the U.S., cities have seen an uptick in crimes. The unlawful murders of both George Floyd and Breonna Taylor added an unprecedented level of fear amongst the Black community as the social justice system unveiled a new pandemic of police brutality against African Americans.

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While more Black people are becoming firearm owners, the group is still relatively small compared to other nationalities, the study notes. 9.3 percent of gun owners are Black men while Black women account for 5.4 percent. The report adds that “nearly 56 percent of U.S. gun owners are white men. Over 16 percent are white women.”

Lavette Adams, a licensed firearm instructor who participated in the free Detroit-area training said that it’s imperative for Black women to protect themselves among today’s uncertainty.

“Crime against women is nothing new. Women protecting themselves, that’s new,” Adams expressed.

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