By: José Niño

The last decade has seen a growing number of minority groups embrace gun ownership. Chief among them are Hispanics.

According to a piece by British media outlet The Guardian, many Hispanics in Texas believe that the right to bear arms is “a matter of survival and safety.” Such sentiments come after years of mass shootings where significant numbers of Hispanics were killed in cold blood. Some of those shootings include the 2019 Walmart massacre where a gunman killed 23 people of predominantly Hispanic backgrounds.

The Guardian observed that during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new organization, the Latino Rifle Association (LRA), emerged to provide firearms education to Latinos nationwide. Thus far, the group counts on nearly 1,000 members who are concerned about the rise of extremist attacks and mass shootings that are directed against Hispanics.

The rise of groups such as the LRA are part of a new trend described as “Gun Culture 2.0” where historically marginal groups such as racial minorities, who were traditionally not as involved in gun ownership, have gradually embraced the practice in recent decades. In the Hispanic case, one-fifth of new gun owners are Hispanics. Per data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, in the time period between 2019 and 2020, firearm purchases by Hispanics increased by roughly 50%. While there are no concrete numbers for Hispanic gun owners in Texas, non-whites make up 20% of new firearms license holders in the Lone Star State.

Views on gun ownership tend to be more nuanced within the Hispanic community. According to figures from a 2022 Pew Research Center study, 81% of Hispanic immigrants believe passing gun control is more important than upholding the right to bear arms. By contrast, only 65% of Hispanics born in the US hold similar views. The strongest support for civilian disarmament comes from individuals who speak Spanish as their main language. More assimilated, English-speaking Hispanics tend to be more receptive towards embracing the right to bear arms according to these findings.

Dudley Brown, the president of the National Association for Gun Rights, commented on the growing trend of Hispanics embracing gun rights:

“Gun rights are human rights. Our country is a better and safer place when every law-abiding American can exercise the freedoms that are given by God and codified by our Constitution.”

Such numbers are unsurprising. Americans of all backgrounds are beginning to realize that the US is becoming more socially unstable. Moreover, they’re losing faith in the public institutions’ ability to provide safety to the broader public. In turn, they’re relying on the right to bear arms — the most proven form of personal defense — to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their property. After all, the most reliable first responder against criminals is still an armed, lawful individual.

A common retort by anti-gunners is that the right to bear arms is inherently racist. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s nothing preventing non-whites from arming themselves in terms of the Second Amendment. If anything, gun control legislation is what is actually harming their safety — along with the safety of millions of other Americans of humble origins.

No matter what the pundits say, the Second Amendment remains the great equalizer for Americans of all backgrounds.

José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at [email protected]. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.  Subscribe to his Substack newsletter here.