In honor of Black History Month we celebrate an organization on the move within the firearms community, the National African American Gun Association, or NAAGA. We caught up with founder Phil Smith during our recent Athlon Outdoor Rendezvous in Idaho.
NAAGA: “We Believe in 2A”
“It is an organization for African Americans, or anyone else for that matter, that wants to learn about firearms,” Smith said. “We take you from the very beginning all the way up to somebody who wants to be a competitive shooter.”
Smith founded NAAGA with a clear purpose. He wants to expose, educate and motivate African Americans to go out and purchase a firearm. He wants them to seek good, solid training as well. After all, the 2nd Amendment exists for all Americans, and Smith wants Black gun owners to grow and become vital members of the 2A community.
“Well there’s three things I really wanted to focus on when I started the organization,” Smith explained. “One, I wanted our organization, NAAGA, to focus on training and safety, and training and safety, and more training and safety. And the second piece which we really focus on at NAAGA, we want our members to not only be active, but we want them to know about the gun laws.”
Launched in 2015, NAAGA experienced huge growth of late. And it features members from all backgrounds, not just Black gun owners. NAAGA boasts more than 2,000 White members. It also includes a large number of military and police. The organization is cultivating and building a diverse membership, one that provides support, education and training for all new gun owners. Better still, the groups gets folks out on the range, becoming vibrant members of the 2A community.
Like any good 2A organization, NAAGA enacts political action as well. The organization focuses on activism, making their concerns known to lawmakers. It encourages selective economics–supporting companies, cities and groups that support NAAGA. Finally, it employs fundraising goals to support causes that align with its mission.
But more than anything, NAAGA is about education. The group teaches the history on the relationship between Black Americans and guns. From early American laws banning Black ownership of firearms, to Black militias, Buffalo Soldiers and more, NAAGA offers education up to the remarkable growth of firearms ownership today in the Black community.
Black History of Arms
“The last piece, and I think it probably separates us from any other organization in the world, we teach our members about the Black history of arms,” Smith said. “We teach them about Buffalo Soldiers, Tuskegee Airmen, Deacons of Defense; we teach them all about those African Americans that came before them, and in many, many cases, given up their lives and more.”
The National African American Gun Association continues its rise, helping reshape the narrative about Black Americans, gun ownership, and their place within the 2A community. Phil Smith and company are doing good things, and we’re proud to be working with them.
“So we’re all under the same umbrella, and the 2nd Amendment is something that we cherish dearly… That’s what we’re all about; we believe in 2A and I think we’re better for it.”
To find out more info, or to find a chapter near you, visit naaga.co.