By Stefani Carter
As a Republican state lawmaker and National Rifle Association member, as is GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, I applaud the position. But there are many other supporters of gun rights who are not here in attendance, and their identity might surprise you.
What is the fastest-growing demographic group in my state of Texas seeking concealed handgun licenses? Black women. As a former prosecutor, I understand why they are choosing to arm themselves.
In 2009, U.S. black women were murdered at a rate nearly two and a half times higher than white women. More than 90% of black women killed by males in single-victim incidents knew their killers.
But the upward trend of seeking weapons is not isolated to black women. More women are packing heat. The percentage of women who report personal gun ownership is now at 23%. Nationally, GOP women, 30 to 44 years old, and who live in rural areas, are the fastest-growing group of gun owners. This can be attributed to guns becoming more affordable and more states expanding concealed carry rights.
Take Texas. During the last session, a measure allowing citizens to store concealed handguns in their vehicles while at work, which I co-authored, became law. Many states, including Texas, have also passed “stand your ground” laws, allowing citizens to protect themselves on their own property against intruders and thieves. Although the George Zimmerman shooting case has put this issue in a negative light, this is an important right.
One reason: black-on-black crime. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 93% of the more than 8,000 black homicide victims in 2005 were murdered by someone of their own race. Of those 8,000 victims, 15% were women. Also blacks account for only 13.1% of the U.S. population but are nearly half of the homicide victims in the country. With numbers like these, it is imperative that we learn how to use guns to defend ourselves.
Our Second Amendment right is an important freedom that extends to all Americans — not just male but also female; not just white but also black, including African-American women.