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Amid gun control debate, American minorities discuss uptick in firearm purchases: ‘People are waking up’

Firearm purchases by minority groups in America have soared over the past few years and the debate surrounding gun control following a deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, late last month has seemingly renewed their support for the Second Amendment.

Retailer surveys released by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSFF) found that between 2019 and 2020 there was a 58% increase in African Americans buying firearms, a 49% increase in Hispanic Americans buying firearms, and a 43% increase in Asian Americans buying firearms.


In January, NSFF stated the numbers among first-time firearm buyers in minority groups remained largely “unchanged” and that 18% of retailers witnessed an increase in Native-Americans purchasing firearms in 2021, while 14% of retailers saw an increase in Native-Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders purchasing firearms in 2021.

Speaking to Fox News Digital outside the 2022 National Rifle Association convention in Houston, Santee and Kel, both members of the NRA who reside in Houston and only wanted to share their first names, said they attended the event to see the “new firearms and to show support for the NRA and for the whole 2A community.”

Asked about the uptick in gun sales among certain minority groups in America and why they believe that is, Shantee insisted she will do what is necessary to protect herself and her family.

“For me, when I look at it, we’re now understanding — African Americans, minorities — are now understanding that basically it’s on you to take care of yourself, protect yourself,” she said. “We’re not new to crime, so we want to make sure that we’re protected. I think a lot more minorities are taking their own protection in their own hands, which is great, because the police cannot be there within seconds.”

Noting the average time it takes for police to respond to certain emergencies, Shantee asked, “In between that time, what are you doing? What do we want to do? Are we gonna wait or fight back? I think a lot more minorities are realizing, look, let’s do this and let’s do this the legal way, and I think that’s why you see this.”

Shantee and Kel attend the 2022 NRA convention in Houston, Texas.

Kel said he believes minority groups in America are “becoming more aware of situations” and, like Shantee, said you cannot always wait for authorities to arrive if you are threatened.

“You’ve got to protect yourself,” he said. “Make sure you protect your home, not every time you can wait for the cops to come to your house. You might be the victim … but if you protect yourself, you live another day. That’s how we see it.”

Discussing recent gun control proposals offered by certain members in Congress and pointing to protesters gathered outside the convention, Shantee said, “For us, that doesn’t help. A firearm isn’t gonna pull the trigger itself.”

Shantee said she is unsure of why people are attacking the NRA or firearms and insisted that neither Republicans nor Democrats are to blame for shooting tragedies.


“We need to start looking at mental health, period,” she said. “What is going on with people to where they would do something like that? That’s not normal. If he would’ve left the firearm there he could’ve picked up any other weapon to go into that school.… That individual chose to do that.”

Jay Cee and friends attend the 2022 NRA convention with his dog Ace.

With crime on the rise in major cities across America, Juan Ramireo, who legally immigrated to America when he was 13 years old and traveled from Arizona to Houston for the NRA convention, told Fox News Digital that he is “blessed” to be able to legally defend himself should he need to.

“I’m blessed, really,” Ramireo said. “I’m 29 now and I’ve lived here for 16 years. There’s nothing like it anywhere. It’s a great country and the Second Amendment is a large reason as to why people feel safer here and in their homes at night.”

“As a kid, I knew what it was like to feel helpless. Nobody want[s] that feeling. I saw my mom and grandmother go through several struggles and feelings of fear in our small Mexican town. It was difficult. But after moving here, it’s a new world. I go to bed with no worry about defending myself and my family.”

Asked about the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde that left 19 children and two teachers dead and how it relates to his support for the Second Amendment as a Hispanic, Ramireo said, “I send my prayers to their families and I can’t imagine the pain they go through now, but it does not change my support for gun rights. I believe we need safer schools. These people will do bad no matter the cost. Take that shooter for instance, he was in a gun free zone and still did it. They always find a way.”

A customer shops for a pistol at a sporting goods store.

“What we have to do is find a way to stop them and do it,” he added. “We’re failing kids for sure, but it’s not because of gun laws. Criminals break laws every day. We need school officers now and secured entrances. As a Mexican immigrant, I feel that people are waking up. They realize they need to protect themselves, their family, their children. Without the right to protect ourselves, we struggle. I know that ’cause I’ve seen it too many times.”

In a speech on Thursday, President Biden said the Second Amendment is “not absolute” and pleaded with Congress to pass what he considers “commonsense” gun control legislation, including reinstating an assault weapons ban, requiring background checks, and limiting magazine capacity.

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