MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — Before permitless carry takes effect July 1, the Middle Tennessee Black Gun Club wants to make sure their members know how to carry both safely and legally in the state.
James Johnson is a new member of the organization, which was formed in December to teach African Americans about their Second Amendment rights.
“If you’re in a situation where you do have to disburse your firearm, you want to make sure you’re on the right side of the law when you do that,” Johnson said. “So if you’re going to carry a gun, then it behooves you to know what the laws are before you’re carrying a gun.”
Members agree that the new law carries great responsibility and creates new concerns for some.
“As we know in this country, not all laws are enforced proportionately, especially when it comes to African Americans, and so it’s really important that we understand what qualifies as legal possession, training, and usage of firearms so we can remain safe,” MTBGC Sergeant at Arms Denzel Caldwell said.
JC Shegog is a legislative consultant and adviser to the group who has his own fears about what more relaxed gun legislation could mean.
“People pulling guns as a first resort instead of a last resort. You’re going to see people getting shot by the police because they don’t know what to do when they come in contact with police because they haven’t been trained; they haven’t attended classes,” Shegog said.
Avoiding those situations is a shared goal of the organization, especially for president Tanea McClean.
“Culturally, over time we’ve been more taught to stay away from guns; ‘guns are dangerous, don’t play with that.’ Where we just need to go into it more about ensuring people understand how to handle it properly, how to be safe with it and how to use it in a self-defense situation,” McClean said.
In addition, members will learn the deep-seeded history of African Americans and guns, as well as find fellowship.
“Now we have a place where they can come to that’s local,” Shegog said. “They don’t have to travel outside of the state or across the country. They can come right here to the Middle Tennessee Black Gun Club.”
Before joining the club, members must first pass a background check. More information about membership can be found here.