There’s nothing more satisfying to Maj Toure than teaching a 70-year-old black woman how to handle and respect guns.
The 29-year-old Philadelphia gun enthusiast, NRA member and creator of the group “Black Guns Matter” believes that if more people were educated about firearms, black-on-black crime and clashes with cops would go down.
And he told Independent Journal Review that when people become more knowledgeable and conversant about the law, the more respect they’ll get from cops.
He says the black community in Philly embraces him and his new group:
“We get all the love in the hood. We’re getting them information that they didn’t have access to before. I teach people that certain things — like guns — are made taboo, but they have to fight for their rights to gun ownership. That they have to fight for it, stand on that right that they already have.
There’s tremendous love toward this effort. It’s not enough to quantify, but I show a 70 year old woman how to properly take care of fire arms and that’s empowering to her.”
“The stigma, especially in an urban environment like Philly, is if you have a gun, you’re either law enforcement or the bad guy. What we’re trying to do is say that just because you have a gun doesn’t make you the bad guy. But while you have your firearm, which you have the right to have, you have to be a responsible, card-carrying good guy.”
The name of the group has turned heads, to be sure. Black Lives Matter regularly protests against police shootings, while his group has an entirely different focus. And it’s getting major props on cable news:
— Maj Toure (@MAJTOURE) July 29, 2016
Toure told Independent Journal Review that the name of his group is indeed a play on words — but not just the obvious one:
“We settled on the name in the last six months, but it comes from firearms terms. Some guns are nickel plated, some are chrome and some are black. I just want to show the importance of being trained. The Second Amendment has no color barrier.”
As he says in a video about his group:
“I don’t think there’s a black gun culture or white gun culture, I think there’s an informed gun culture and an ignorant gun culture.”
Toure works with professionals who are certified instructors at the local gun shop and at a nearby range.
He’ll teach anyone who wants to be educated — even those who demonize the “longest standing civil rights organization in the country,” the NRA:
“I deal with that same way I deal with people when they find out I’m a Republican. They question why. I equate it with being the member of a gym. Some people are gym people, some people are gun people. I’m just more technical. Gun people are more technical. You have to be. If you don’t know how to operate firearms you could die. But if they’re open to learning and committed to the Second Amendment, I’ll help.”
He says groups like his are important because the way in which people are dealing with the aftermath of police shootings is backwards:
“In the last few months, violence has ratcheted up. There have been murders in urban areas. But, instead of working at this issue preventatively, society is working on repair and maintenance.”
Unlike those who counter violence with more violence, he focuses on conflict resolution and maintaining an aura of professionalism when dealing with police.
He gave Independent Journal Review some tips he shares with people about getting stopped by cops:
- Make no furtive moves.
- Don’t ever explain more than what protocol requires.
- Never jump out of a car on a police officer.
- Treat police with respect.
- Know the language.
- Know your rights.
- If someone assaults you, you can defend yourself.
He told us that sometimes cops are jerks and there’s nothing you can do about that, but you should be educated to know your rights and how to respectfully deal with police. He says some police need retraining in what the code of conduct is and how to deal respectfully with people.
And what does he think of the old cliche that “an armed society is a polite society”?
“I think that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good girl with a gun. There’s other avenues, too. Let’s have good conflict resolution before any of that happens in the first place.”
Toure told Independent Journal Review that he currently works a couple of jobs but is raising money to take his pitch on a 13-city tour.