LOS ANGELES — The National Rifle Association has shaped gun policy in America for generations, but another lesser-known gun group is hoping to also shape the narrative around gun ownership. The National African American Gun Association is the largest minority gun group in the country.
But why join NAAGA when the NRA has been around for so much longer?
“This is America, right?” says Colin Mapp, Atlanta chapter president.
“And why shouldn’t we create an organization that we’re prideful of?” he said. “We don’t care what anyone thinks. It’s not about them. It’s about us.”
In the face of a global pandemic and the recent police killings of black men and women, NAAGA has seen a spike in membership. With over 34,000 members and 75 chapters around the country, NAAGA’s popularity is surprising to many, including its founders.
“Good people should have a fighting chance to defend themselves. And if they want our assistance in that process, we’re here for them,“ Phil Smith, NAAGA’s president, told VICE News, “I’d rather have a good guy with a gun than a good guy without a gun.”
Before the world seemingly shut down, VICE News traveled to Los Angeles and Atlanta to meet some of the leaders behind this growing gun group.
Cover: Dr. Rasheed Ivey, one of NAAGA’s newest members, practices using a firearm at Redstone Firearms in Los Angeles. (VICE News)