Black gun owners have grown more concerned about their gun rights in light of police officer Jeronimo Yanez being cleared of shooting Philando Castile.
A jury found Yanez not guilty in the fatal shooting of Castile, a man who was licensed to carry. In light of the officer’s clearance, black gun owners are concerned about admitting they are licensed to carry to police officers, reports NBC Washington.
“As soon as you say, ‘I’m a concealed carry holder. This is my license,’ they automatically are reaching for their gun thinking you’re going to draw your gun on them, once again not realizing you’re a good guy,” Gerry Martin, a black concealed carry holder from Pennsylvania, told NBC Washington.
Yanez pulled Castile over in July because he reportedly matched the description of a burglar suspect. During the exchange, Castile told Yanez that he had a firearm on him at the time.
“Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me,” Castile told Yanez. The officer ordered Castile not to draw it out, with Castile repeatedly saying he was not reaching for it. Yanez shot him seven times, claiming he feared for his safety. (RELATED: Cop Found Not Guilty In Death Of Philando Castile)
Open carry activist Phil Ector pointed out that many times police have come across black men that own guns illegally, which might poison their interaction with legal gun owners.
When an officers learns a black person is carrying legally, “they are not necessarily going to relax, but they now have an idea about your character,” Ector said.”
Head of the National African American Gun Association Philip Smith suggested police officers receive more training to learn that black people also have Second Amendment rights.
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