'Black Guns Matter' organization promotes gun safety through education

"Guns in the black community" was the topic of a workshop held Saturday night, but not gun violence.

Inside a classroom at the LAX Firing Range in Inglewood, representatives from the community, Black Guns Matter, and the California Rifle & Pistol Association are teaching gun safety, all through a culturally relevant lens.

"The view in my community is kind of that only gangsters carry guns," said a participant during a question and answer session.

That's what they're working to change.

"You go somewhere, your friend catches a gun charge. Not that he murdered somebody or robbed anybody, he just had the firearm," said Maj Toure, founder of Black Guns Matter. "So you were missing information. You didn't know [you] can do this lawfully."

Maj Toure is a rapper turned activist. His group Black Guns Matter promotes firearm safety education and conflict resolution in urban neighborhoods around the country. It echoes a similar message from Malcolm X, the black nationalist killed in 1965.

"A respectable, solid citizen that's willing to arm and protect yourself from any type of tyranny, enemies foreign or domestic," Toure said, "I think all Americans would agree with that."

But opinion polling suggests black Americans overwhelmingly view guns negatively and favor gun control more than whites and Hispanics.

That's why those who attend these educational workshops are encouraging their peers to learn more about guns.

"Usually I'm the only black person at the range," said Inglewood resident Ahyanna Tolbert. "People are really ignorant about gun violence and the things that guns can do and can't do, so it's really good just to have this education."

It's an effort taking aim at communities too often caught in the crosshairs.