Armed Doesn't Mean Dangerous

Christian K. Lee

2021 - Ongoing

Texas, United States

The current socio-political environment in the United States has led many African Americans to arm themselves. In fact African Americans has the highest increase in new gun owners of any demographic, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

The goal is not to glorify gun ownership but to show the hypocrisy within it and dismantle negative stereotypes associated with African American gun owners.

In the United States Gun ownership is a constitutional right, however history shows us when African Americans assert them they are infringed.

This fact was witnessed in 1967 with the introduction of the Mulford Act. It was a California bill that targeted members of the Black Panthers who were exercising their rights to open carry.

The point of this series is to promote a more balanced archive of African Americans with firearms — those who use them for sport, hobby and protection.

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  • Damillah Lane, 26, embrace her daughter Skylar Lane, 8, as she holds her firearm outside of their home on Saturday, April 10, 2021 in Killeen, Tx. “Whenever my husband leaves I feel a need to protect my family,” Damillah said.

  • Shells on a gun range floor.

  • Jamyce Brown, 29, right, embraces her husband Keon Brown, 27, outside of their home on Sunday, April 18, 2021 in Killeen, Tx. “In my hometown introducing a child to a gun may be potentially setting them up for failure,” Chicago native Jamyce said.

  • Marvin West, 39, holds his dog outside his home on Monday, April 06, 2021 in Killeen, Tx. “It’s more to the picture than what you see,” West said. People often judge West based on his appearance. He mentions that those people would be surprised to know that he’s a business owner that holds a Masters degree.

  • Justin Barlow, 34, left, gazes at wife Cha’von Barlow, 33, outside of their home on Saturday, June 18, 2021 in Round Rock, Tx. “I never want my family to feel powerless,” Justin said. Justin was introduced to guns at the age of 14 through hunting. Later he introduced his wife to guns. “In my absence my wife and children will be safe,” he said.

  • Brandon Antone, 37, stands outside of his apartment holding his firearm on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 in Austin, Tx. “I noticed when I go to the range it wasn’t a lot of us there so I wanted to create a place we could talk about guns,” he said. Antone started a Facebook group with nearly 2,000 African American members in the Austin, Tx area with the goal of creating a safe space for them to talk about firearms.

  • Brothers Dorian Black, 20, from left, and Ashton Black, 13, postures their firearm as Datrelle Black, 46, is embraced by his wife Rohonda Black, 44, outside of their home on Sunday, April 18, 2021 in Killeen, Tx. “For my children I take the curiosity out of it, total avoidance of guns teaches fear we should inform our children of gun safety,” Datrelle said.

  • Gun store advertisement.

  • Kenneth Frazier, 35, left, and Tylissa Frazier, 38, are seen outside of their home holding their firearms on Saturday, April 03, 2021 in Temple, Tx. "We get pulled over a lot so having a license will show that we are law abiding citizens," Mrs Frazier said.

  • Asia Wragg, 35, holds her firearm outside of her home on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 in Fort Hood, Tx. “As a single woman with children my priority is to protect and defend my family,” Wragg said.

  • David Butler, 55, grasps his hunting rifle near his home on July 24, 2021 in Manor, Tx. “I believe a lot of people would love to hunt if they had the opportunity,” he said. Leasing of hunting land serves as a financial barrier for many African Americans. “A year lease can be upwards of $1100 and you may only walk away with one deer that year,” Butler said.

  • Trina’ Duncan, 39, foreground, postures her pistol outside a local gun range after training with her pastor Andrew Long, 46, on Saturday, May 16, 2021 in Killeen, Tx. “I have been in moments that would not have occurred if I was a guy,” Duncan said. According to the Pew Research Center, Women are less likely to own a firearm compared to Men.

  • Lindberg Wilborn, 32, holds the target he used to qualify for his license to carry permit outside a local gun range on Saturday, March 27, 2021 in Killeen, TX. “Society looks at black men as predators and scary people so most of us are scared to own a firearm in fear of fueling the fear that already exists,” Wilborn said. Wilborn recently graduated from the police academy. It is his goal to become the change he wants to see in this country.

  • William Wilson, 64, postures his rifle near a gun range in his friends backyard on Sunday, March 21, 2021 in Copperas Cove, Tx. Wilson has over 45 years of gun experience. He spent 21 years in the military, 22 years as a police officer and currently serves as a sales clerk at a local gun store. “The problem with big city policing is that a black man with a gun is a threat, they’ll probably shoot me before they find out I’m a retired police officer,” Wilson said.

  • Brittney Saunders, 28, holds her firearms outside of her home on Friday, March, 05, 2021 in Killeen, Tx. “Why can other races have assaut rifles and machine guns but if black people have a handgun we are considered a threat,” Saunders said.

  • Leta Harrison, 39, postures her firearm on Sunday, July 25, 2021 in Pflugerville, Tx. Harrison began training with her firearm after experiencing a Domestic Violent incident. “I never want to be that scared of anyone ever again,” she said. She explains that she does not want to be viewed as a victim therefore she is proactive with exercising her 2nd Amendment rights.

  • Devin Meadows, 29, holds his firearm outside of his home on Tuesday, April 06, 2021 in Copperas Cove, Tx. “We as Africans Americans have been deprived of so many rights so why not take advantage of the ones we have,” Meadows said.

  • Ron Harris, 32, postures his firearm in his backyard on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in Killeen, Tx. “I own it to protect my family because I cant afford a loss,” Harris said.

  • A firearm rests near the owners bed for protection.

  • Aaron Banks, 38, and his son Aaron Banks Jr., 08, embrace at a local park on Saturday, May 22, 2021 in Cedar Park, Tx. “The image of the average gun enthusiast needs an update,” Mr Banks said. Aaron Sr. is one of 24 Pistol Instructors certified by the National African American Gun Association. He is the President of Keep Firing LLC where he has made his son the CEO.