(WSVN) - As America again debates gun control, one gun group is seeing a surge of support, and their aim isn’t just to secure their Second Amendment right. The Nightteam’s Kevin Ozebek investigates.
Travis Campbell, gun club president: “As a group, we need to do good things in the community.”
Before they pick up a gun…
Travis Campbell: “This is a good group of people.”
The South Florida chapter of the National African American Gun Association, also known as NAAGA, begin in a classroom.
They learn everything from first aid to Florida gun laws.
Travis Campbell: “We’re here to change the image of the black gun owner.”
Across America, there are now 30,000 members in 75 chapters.
It’s a rapidly growing group that was started only four years ago, and most members joined not just because they like the sport of shooting, but because they see this as a safe space.
Danielle Campbell, gun owner: “It is inside and outside our community. We are seen as radicals. We don’t get afforded the same protections that gun owners in other ethnic groups are afforded.”
Travis Campbell created the local chapter in 2017.
Travis Campbell: “I just want black people to realize that they have a right to self defense.”
Just 24% of black Americans legally own a registered gun.
That’s compared to 36% of white Americans.
Travis Campbell: “Society responds to us a little bit differently. A black man with a gun is rarely ever the hero.”
Still on the minds of members is a police shooting in Minnesota, back in 2016.
An officer there shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop.
Castile told the officer he had a licensed gun, and then the officer opened fire as Castile reached for his wallet, so here in the classroom, they talk about the best way to interact with police when pulled over.
David Lozandier, gun owner: “What I got out of it is understanding the importance of being a legal gun owner, especially a black legal gun owner at that.”
With more and more members joining, NAAGA now wants to push into politics. Its leaders hope the group will eventually have the same power and influence as the NRA.
Travis Campbell: “We can’t sit back and expect someone else to represent us better than we can represent ourselves.”
And now, this group wants to start funding politicians.
Politicians who hold their view that America needs little to no gun control.
Travis Campbell: “Any law that is passed is more likely to effect someone such as myself, a law-abiding citizen, more so than a mass shooter.”
But for right now, their goal is still the same — taking aim at stereotypes.
Danielle Campbell: “People when they see me with a gun, they will automatically think that I am a criminal.”
But she says she’s just another person who is choosing to bear arms.
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