My first gun class and day at the range

Xion holds her target after her first shooting lesson.

by Xion Abiodun, Black New World Media

A firearm can be used as both a tool and a weapon. Being Black in America should already make you want to own a gun for protection. If you’re Black, female, and/or short, I think it’s even more necessary to learn how to safely use a gun.

Black people are being slaughtered left and right, and the system that is supposed to protect us is against us. Two white men shot Ahmad Arbery, who was unarmed, because they said he “looked” like a burglar. He was murdered in February and his killers are just now getting indicted. I think we are all aware, this isn’t the only time this has happened.

I got an opportunity to take a gun class a few weeks ago, on Aug. 12, where we were taught basics, such as how to take a gun apart and put it back together. We also learned how to load the magazine. We spent two hours doing those two things, but it was all necessary.

When the majority of Black people learn how to use guns correctly, we can protect ourselves and each other.

I learned the rules of using a gun; the most important to me included: 1) Do not point a gun at anything you do not intend to destroy, and 2) Assume every gun you come across is loaded.

The next time we went to the class, it was at a gun range. I have always heard gunshots in my neighborhood, but I never was in the midst of it. We spent one hour shooting and loading guns.

I got to shoot a .22 and a .40 caliber. I did well for my first time and hit very close to the middle of the target. The Glock .40 caliber had a lot of kickback, more than I was expecting. When I was shooting the gun, I felt a sense of power.

In the gun range, there were multiple people with multiple guns, and I noticed a lot of men all talking about how old they were when they learned how to use a gun. They were much younger than me when they started, and I’m 16 years old. These men also talked about how they were training their sons to use firearms.

Xion takes aim, with encouragement from her dad, JR Valrey. 

The most obvious thing about all these men is that they were white. This is an important factor because my gun class were the only Black people at the gun range. It just shows how disadvantaged Black people are as a community.

My dad and my cousin were also in the gun class. Before we got to shoot, my dad and my cousin took the test and got their gun license. My cousin was excited to get his license, and I was excited for him too. Overall, it was a family bonding experience and I would like to do it again.

In my opinion, if more Black people had guns and proper gun training, our murder rates – most definitely in racist crimes – would go down. Each time that racist murderers get away with killing Black people, the U.S. is saying our lives don’t matter and we are worthless. Not only is it broadcasting this message to Black people, but to everyone else as well.

When Black people do have guns, or learn how to use guns, America demonizes us. No matter what the situation, Black people are always portrayed as in the wrong, that we can and will be killed any day.

When the majority of Black people learn how to use guns correctly, we can protect ourselves and each other. If we want change in this society, then we have to be the ones to change it. In a time like this, it is important that we stick together as a people.

Xion Abiodun is a student at Madison Park Academy and can be reached at Xion.abiodun@gmail.com. She is also a dancer and a member of the Black New World Journalists Society.