As the gun debate rages, it is particularly relevant in Philadelphia, where more than 14,500 shootings have occurred in the past decade. While some see that number and use it as a reason to increase gun control, others see things quite differently, according to this story from wbur.org.
Yuri Zalzman of The Gun Range in North Philadelphia, and Maj Toure of the activist group Black Guns Matter, have come together to find a solution, the story says. Of the 2,600 people killed in the City of Brotherly Love in the past 10 years, many were black.
Both Zalzman and Toure teach inner-city residents how to properly handle firearms, and believe the effort to reduce the number of guns in the city would mean residents would be less safe, the story says.
On the topic of individual gun ownership, Maj Toure said, “For one they should choose to exercise anything that will defend themselves. If someone has a firearm and you don’t, you lose. That’s it. No different than if someone has a knife and you don’t have the means to defend yourself, you lose.”
“So I think that the community that I’m from, I think that information is deliberately kept away. It’s made to seem that if you have a firearm you’re either law enforcement or you must be the bad guy.”
Zalzman said this of his and Toure’s efforts: “What Maj and I are doing here is…creating synthesis that is based on the reality of what an everyday American experiences in a big city, and a big city is not a peaceful place sometimes.”
Toure said their efforts aren’t about arming more African-American men, but about informing more people. Regarding the recent high-profile shootings committed by police, and the resulting retaliatory shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, he said this: “In order to get the license to carry, you have to pass criminal background checks, your mental health in certain places depending on where you are. I think that every so often certain officers that have those type of things on their record should meet that same type of requirement,” Toure said.
Of the 2016 Presidential Election, Toure said, “I don’t think about Donald Trump the candidate. I don’t. I think about my community. I think about more people coming to the gun range and exercising their Second Amendment rights. I think about politics being local and spreading out to influence candidates.”