More evidence of the changing face of gun ownership was presented this week–from the unlikeliest of sources.
Comedian and actress Sherri Shepherd appeared on “The View” this Tuesday as a guest co-host. During one segment, she described her recent decision to become a new gun owner to a skeptical panel. Shepherd described her feelings during the early stages of the pandemic and summer’s civil unrest as the impetus for her decision.
“Yes, I did. I bought a 9mm gun,” Shepherd said. “During the quarantine, I felt really helpless. I’d get these little alerts in my neighborhood app about ‘it’s going to be a march through the neighborhood,’ and I started feeling like, ‘How am I going to protect my son if something happens?'”
MORE BLACK WOMEN PURCHASING GUNS? With the number of female gun owners on the rise — especially Black women — the co-hosts discuss why and @sherrieshepherd shares why she became a gun owner. https://t.co/Gqk9PM7dM1 pic.twitter.com/4xFLwODzAn
— The View (@TheView) October 13, 2021
Shepherd describes an experience familiar to many who decided to become first-time gun owners in 2020. Uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and anxiety over racial tensions were some of the most commonly espoused reasons for the record surge in new gun sales in 2020. Her experience also aligns with reports of significant increases in first-time ownership among women in particular, a demographic historically underrepresented in gun ownership statistics.
Shepherd said she got some of her friends together to go to the gun store to purchase her first gun. She said she went to one of two black-owned gun stores in California,
“I felt very empowered when I bought this gun,” Shepherd said. “I took lessons, I took the test, I go to the range with my girlfriends like every other week, and it just makes me feel like at least if something happens, I can protect my child.”
However, the other women on the show remained skeptical. Joy Behar argued more Black Americans owning guns would lead to more gun-control laws but also expressed support for those laws. Sunny Hostin said many of her black friends had also recently decided to purchase firearms, but that her experience as a federal prosecutor led her to believe people who own guns are more likely to kill themselves or others.
“I still believe that in this country, our readiness to sort of allow arms to be purchased at will and fired at will has led to violence and hatred becoming a really popular pastime in this country,” Hostin said.
Shepherd, however, remained confident in her decision.
“I hear what you’re saying, but I’m saying as a single woman, the helplessness I felt, and when I looked at my son, he looked at me like, ‘Mom, I’m scared,'” she said. “Physically, I’m not able to combat. I take self-defense lessons to protect my home.”