DENVER — As the lead instructor for Colorado’s first Black-owned gun club, 1770 Armory, Anubis Heru says they offer an inclusive space for everyone.
“1770 is a space where people of all places and races can come here and train safely and understand how to use firearms,” he said.
Over the last several years, Heru says the gun club has noticed more of an interest from the Black community when it comes to gun ownership and training.
“We've seen a significant increase of individuals who want to come and learn because, you know, we felt like, "Hey, man, like, we don't want to be sitting ducks. We don't want to be soft targets,"” the lead instructor said.
Racially motivated attacks like the 2015 Charleston church shooting and this weekend's Buffalo supermarket shooting have especially convinced people to become new gun owners.
“We're not going on the offense and doing all that kind of stuff. We're strictly defense," Heru said. "So, you know, when something like that does arise, we can mitigate the amount of bloodshed from the innocent people."
Another factor that has helped increase gun ownership within the Black community is accessibility.
"We have to remember many of ... the gun shops are owned by white people, and Black people didn't have equal access to guns," said Omar Montgomery, president of the NAACP Aurora branch.
Montgomery says while he’d like to see illegal guns off the streets and out of the reach of children, he supports those who purchase a gun legally and are trained.
“People are beginning to say, "I don't want to be a victim." So in order to not be a victim, they are educating themselves,” said Montgomery.
For those interested in more information, 1770 Armory will be hosting its grand opening Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Shoot Indoors Denver.