Pro gun, pro background checks: a Black gun owner explains

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Daylan2_n.jpgGOOD GUY WITH A GUN–Daylan Stubblefield is an extreme advocate for gun safety training. (Photo/Daylan Stubblefield)

 

by Rebecca Nuttall

Courier Staff Writer

On April 17, the U.S. Senate voted against a common sense measure to expand background checks on gun sales. In the days since, many have criticized the nation’s senators for ignoring the results of a poll indicating that nearly 90 percent of Americans are in favor of universal background checks on gun sales.

And gun control proponents say even card-carrying gun owners support background checks. Among them is Daylan Stubblefield, a Pittsburgh native now living in Chicago who sees both sides of the gun control debate.

“When it comes to being African-American, and pro gun and pro background checks, it’s about all of us having our own beliefs,” Stubblefield said. “I think a lot of the (Senators) are keeping their mouths shut to keep their jobs. In the back of their minds they’re like ‘I believe in background checks, but I’m not going to say that.’”

Stubblefield isn’t actually in the minority with gun owners, since 81 percent of gun owners support background checks, according to a poll conducted for the coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns. But he is in the minority as a gun owner in Black America, where only 15 percent of the population owns a gun.

His reasoning for owning a gun doesn’t fall in with those who want a defense against perceived government tyranny or who hunt for sport. He and his friends own guns because they enjoy going to the shooting range to try out different weapons, but also because of what they call “the one percent.”

“We train in the one percent, the one percent of the time that you’re going to have to use your weapon, such as in the case of a home invasion,” Stubblefield said.

Despite his knowledge of the rampant Black-on-Black gun violence in South Side Chicago and his personal experience with a gun related tragedy, Stubblefield sees the pros of gun ownership because he says it teaches individuals responsibility, discipline and respect.  He’s also an extreme advocate for gun safety training.

“If you don’t have the training you shouldn’t carry a weapon,” he said. “If you don’t know how to drive a car, you shouldn’t be behind the wheel.”

The National Rifle Association has a highly visible campaign promoting gun safety training, but the organization is also against what many call common sense gun control. The NRA is so against the gun control measures recently defeated by the Senate that NRA opponents believe the organization put pressure on Senators to vote against the legislation.

“When it comes to the NRA it’s portrayed that the NRA are a bunch of bullies, but that’s not the case. Some of my friends are a part of the NRA,” Stubblefield said. “I think some of the leadership has an agenda, but the membership doesn’t.”

Despite his own support for background checks, Stubblefield said that some of his other gun owner friends are against background checks because of the expense. According to Stubblefield, an individual check can run sellers up to $200 and for those selling personal weapons to multiple individuals the cost can really add up.

While Stubblefield isn’t for an assault weapons ban, he does differ from the NRA in his approval of laws requiring individuals to report their guns as lost or stolen because he feels this would have an impact on reducing Black-on-Black violence. On the issue of restricting the sizes of magazines and ammunition clips, which was another component of the recently defeated federal legislation, Stubblefield is torn.

“I think the magazine thing is more of a cool guy thing. Having a 20 round clip in your (assault rifle) looks really cool,” Stubblefield said. “I love my 30 round mags; they’re beautiful, but whether I have ten or 30 rounds, I’ll still get the job done.”

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