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Gun ownership among Black women rising amid Memphis crime

Last year, Black women made up one-third of all first-time gun buyers.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It was another violent weekend in Memphis with more than a dozen people shot since Friday night.

Now a new report finds after several years of increasing violent crime, gun ownership among African-Americans spiked by 58% between 2019 and 2020.

In fact, last year, Black women made up one-third of all first-time gun buyers.

Aim. Point. Fire. Those are simple instructions but the reason behind learning them, very well could mean the difference between life and death.

"Trying to pump gas and either getting their car stolen or purse stolen things of that nature I was like, 'I have to arm myself,'" said Hampton, who purchased her own gun in 2019. 

"Being a woman, definitely at night, we're definitely going to be hassled whether it's to donate some money or a gut trying to get your number and in any of those cases, the worst case possible could happen there," she shared. 

"Every woman that comes to me for training they are specifically citing their concern of these knuckleheads running the street and that they might become targets," said firearms trainer Jonathan Cross.

Cross, the owner of Dauntless Tactical Training, said violent crime in Memphis is driving people in the city to get armed and trained, adding 80% of his clients are women.

"I think we've been conditioned to not exercise that right for a variety of reasons, but now I think people have said we're going to throw our political proclivities to the wind and we're going to exercise that right," said Cross.

He believes COVID also played a factor when it comes to rising gun ownership in the black community as a whole.

"The COVID scare finally got people to click in their mind that they could actually imagine that systems could break down and the government would not be there to provide for them," said Cross. "Especially if we had a complete collapse of society."

Cross said women tend to be more accurate shooters overall compared to men and he isn't surprised that more women are purchasing guns for the first time.

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