John Keys became one of the millions of Americans to buy their first gun in March 2020. As an African American, he was part of the fastest-growing demographic to do so.
“Right at the height of all of the craziness is when I bought my first pistol and rifle,” Keys told The Reload. “I didn’t know where all that was gonna go. So I just figured, ‘you know what, let me go to this gun show and just try to pick up a rifle and a pistol before I can’t get it anywhere.’ It was the last gun show before they shut everything down.”
Less than a year later, he’s part of another expanding group: new gun owners who have already turned into activists. He now co-hosts Guns Out TV with Shermichael Singleton, another black gun owner. The pair uses the program to show what black gun ownership in America looks like while being educational and, especially, entertaining.
“The vast majority of new gun owners in 2020 were black people,” Keys said. “We felt we needed to step out. We just noticed that a lot of the content out there looks a certain way and appeals to a certain audience. We wanted to broaden that audience. And what better way than, like Shermichael always says, two black guys handling firearms responsibly, showcasing all of the different experiences and education that people can partake in.”