An African-American gun-rights group announced last Thursday it has seen unprecedented growth in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.
The National African American Gun Association (NAAGA) saw thousands of new members join in the hours after the video emerged of Floyd's death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. That represents a new record in daily sign-ups for the group.
"2,000 people joined NAAGA in 36 hours after George Floyd," NAAGA founder Philip Smith said in a statement. "That broke our records. We're getting a ton of folks from all over."
Membership has surged in 2020, a trend beginning with the coronavirus outbreak that drove Americans to gun stores in record numbers. Black Americans have flocked to the group and its 112 chapters after Floyd's death. The single-day jump of 2,000 people accounted for nearly 20 percent of the more than 10,000 new members that have joined since January.
Ammo.com, an online ammunition retailer that's partnered with the group, said sales to NAAGA members have also skyrocketed. The number of transactions between Ammo.com and NAAGA members increased 350 percent in the two weeks after Floyd's death. The company said the increased sales among NAAGA members were part of a record-breaking surge in ammunition sales seen across the country. The uptick has mainly been characterized by greater sales of self-defense ammunition, such as 9mm and .223 Remington.
Experts say the spike in memberships and sales could indicate gun ownership among African Americans is on the rise. The industry has embraced NAAGA since its founding in 2015. Ammo.com said it used a portion of its sales to donate $9,000 back to a select group of gun-rights organizations including NAAGA.
"The right to self-defense is natural, color-blind, and enshrined in our Constitution," said Alex Horsman, marketing director at Ammo.com. "That is why in 2017, we selected the NAAGA Scholarship Fund as one of the several pro-freedom organizations to which we voluntarily donate 1 percent of our sales."
NAAGA boasts more than 40,000 members. Its membership is 90 percent African American, more than half of whom are women, and includes more than 1,000 law enforcement and military members. The group's scholarship fund helps African-American students in need of financial assistance.
"The goal of the National African American Gun Association is to have every African American introduced to firearm use for home protection, competitive shooting, and outdoor recreational activities," the group said on its website. "We are a pro 2nd amendment organization focused on the preservation of our community through armed protection and community building."