An interesting story from NPR. From the story:
CHARLES COBB: And this is a tradition that goes all the way back to the end of the Civil War and the Reconstruction era. Black people have traditionally used guns for self-defense.
BATES: Cobb says guns were kept on farms for hunting, for pest-control and to repel white vigilantes. Even non-violent participants in the civil rights movement, including Martin Luther King for a time, kept guns at home to protect their families. In the mid-'60s, Malcolm X responded to a rumor that the Nation of Islam was urging blacks to buy guns by reminding the press they were legally entitled to do that.
BATES: After that, the state’s shocked lawmakers made carrying loaded firearms illegal. And in 1968, after several urban riots, the Federal Gun Control Act was passed, which attempted to ban the sale of cheap handguns. What that did, said Robert Cottrell, a law professor at George Washington University, is to leave black residents in high-crime areas vulnerable.
ROBERT COTTRELL: One of the problems, I think, that we have in places like Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C. is we make it very difficult - in some cases almost impossible - for the individual who is law-abiding, who is peaceful, to defend himself.
A lot of people don’t know that the first “Jim Crow” laws were aimed at keeping guns from the newly freed slaves.