With the huge surge of African American gun owners now coming to gun ranges for the first time across the United States, most gun ranges are viewing this as good news and are thrilled about a growing demographic that they can serve. There has never been this many African Americans with guns ( 9 million and counting). Smart gun ranges are really rolling out the red carpet by having staff trained and sensitive to the needs specifically of African American customers. In some instances, they are matching cultural holidays to range discounts. All this is great, and as the rapper 50 Cent says, “If it makes money, it makes sense.” You would think so, right?
NAAGA members speak highly of their positive experiences at most ranges. You want to go back again and again and tell your family and friends. That is how it is most of the time. Unfortunately, at a small percentage of ranges in the USA, another reality exists, and that is R&R. (I am not referring to “rest & relaxation”.) I am speaking of racism at the range. The experience at these facilities when interacting with African Americans is outright tragic, and disturbing to say the least. At these locations, you are exposed to racist staff, outright hostility, negative racist statements while serving you, and possibly the worst one the “invisible man” treatment where Black gun owners just aren’t served and totally ignored.
“When one NAAGA member hurts we all hurt.”
For locations like this they might as well have a “NO BLACK GUN OWNERS” sign posted outside their building. This reality comes in many forms, but the goal is to humiliate, intimidate, and ultimately make African Americans gun owners want to leave the premises. In many cases, that is what we do we. Leave. I’ve heard of too many experiences from NAAGA members who told me they felt discouraged, hurt, and angry with the treatment they received. It pains me to hear some of the stories that have taken place. It makes me want to scream in anger. These hostile ranges are opposed to having African American gun owners almost at any cost. So what do we do?
My recommendation is simple. Don’t go to the places that don’t value you, and don’t ever give them your hard-earned dollar. I would rather drive two hours to a quality facility once a month that treats me with dignity, than endure one second of racism at a facility five minutes from my home. You must always value yourself and not tolerate any type of treatment that diminishes you as a human being.
Suggestions and possible options – Physically get together at a NAAGA member’s home or do a Zoom call with other NAAGA members and take this time to utilize “Dry Fire Practice” and work on your firearm fundamentals, have a Certified Instructor lead a Zoom training session for a Chapter, talk about the latest Gun news and products.
When you find a good range get the word out and tell the NAAGA family of these Blue Chip Ranges that want us as a customer and value our dollar. Negotiate with your enemy when you are strong and you will be respected, but negotiate at the brink of defeat, and they will continually try to defeat you.