The Rev. Kenn Blanchard, a faith leader at Washington D.C.'s Historic Berean Baptist Church, is unabashedly supportive of gun rights. The African American preacher has repeatedly called for fewer firearms restrictions, stating that he believes laws have historically been used to restrict specific ethnic groups.
Blanchard, who wrote the book "Black Man With a Gun" and who hosts "The Urban Shooter Podcast," admits that many in his congregation don't agree with his views on firearms, but that hasn't stopped him from being an outspoken advocate.
In an interview with NPR on Thursday, he explained why he's in favor of more expansive gun rights and shared his background, which includes a past stint as a firearms trainer and an ongoing penchant for studying history.
Photo Credit: Rev. Kenn Blanchard
As he's examined past U.S. laws to crack down on gun violence, he said he's noticed a troubling pattern -- an intent to target specific ethnic groups.
"Gun laws have started in this country since 1640 -- since we were colonies, and it's always been against a group -- it's always been to control somebody," he told NPR host Michel Martin. "It was the Chinese, it was the Native Americans, it was the Africans."
He continued, noting that every 30 years a new gun control initiative is implemented.
"In 1925, it was against Italian immigrants -- the Sullivan Law was to prevent them from having long-barreled or short-barreled guns," he explained.
Rather than ignoring guns and pushing them out of society, Blanchard argues that Americans should be educating their children about firearms. The real problem that's raging in society, the preacher believes, is a "loss of hope."
As far as his congregation goes, Blanchard's views on guns are less-than-heralded.
"They actually don't like it," he said of parishioners when asked about how they react to his stance. "They don't like it at all. It's probably the only issue -- as long as I preach the gospel...and stay away from the gun issue they're fine."
Earlier this month, the preacher joined other African American leaders in a push against gun control. According to CBN News, Blanchard told reporters that politicians cannot save children's lives with legislative action and that self-defense and preparedness are the best way forward.
"How many of you would put in front of your house a sign that says gun-free zone?" he asked, highlighting his belief that gun-free zones are ineffective and aren't a viable answer for securing safety.
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